Characterized by some as a “Mexican Reconquista,” probable new Labor Secretary Hilda Solis should provide little in the way of surprises when it comes to her permissive and amnesty-heavy view on immigration, however, it is her perspective on union labor which should prove even more relevant and troublesome when it comes to her likely new post. Those views on immigration and labor, combined with her feeling that the federal government, unshackled from the guidelines set forth in that pesky Constitution, is the ultimate determinant of American welfare and prosperity, should be worrisome to say the least.
While I’ve asked yet another new writer here to examine Solis, her attitude toward the unions and what that attitude means for the American economy, I took issue with the part of her acceptance speech—the part that was in English and not in Spanish, that is—which detailed how she hopes it will be the federal government’s job to bring vocational training to the masses.
It all goes back to this idea that the government should be responsible for every aspect of our daily lives, a sentiment which in turn stems from a culture of blame-shifting. We blame fast food restaurants for making us fat, so not only are we going to sue them, but we’re going to ask our government to regulate their menus and restrict their advertising efforts. We blame the banks and Wall Street for the housing and credit crisis, so we call for the execution of the evil CEOs and, again, ask our federal government to strangle each with regulation.
In reality, the fast food restaurants aren’t making our children fat. Those portly eight-year-olds we see huffing and puffing their way through the shopping malls aren’t driving themselves to McDonald’s, just as the obese adult next to them isn’t obligated to eat there – it’s the parents which are making their children fat, it’s the adults themselves which are making poor decisions. Regulating the industry and restricting advertising will not stop those who decide to inhale a Big Mac instead of a grilled chicken breast or salad and only serve to hinder those businesses, a hindrance which will adversely affect their bottom lines and subsequently affect job numbers and more.
Just as McDonald’s itself is not to blame for our expanding waistlines, Wall Street and the banks were not entirely responsible for our housing and credit crisis. It was our federal government, once again overstepping the role set forth by our founding fathers by forcing relaxed lending standards upon those banks. Yet Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd, because of our failure and refusal to place blame where it belongs, are now entrusted to bring us out of the funk they largely created.
The same blame-shifting happens with the higher taxes we’re seeing imposed from coast to coast, from those imposed by Gov. Patterson in New York to those planned by Gov. Schwarzenegger in California. We see that our governments are going bankrupt, so instead of placing blame where it belongs—with out-of-control spending on unnecessary and unconstitutional programs—we instead raise taxes so we can continue in our denial. Here in Philadelphia, for an example of wrongheaded spending, we’re shuttering libraries and draining city pools and shutting down fire departments while city council members still drive around in paid-for city vehicles despite a $112,000 yearly salary. Tax raises will soon follow.
Solis’ idea that the government provide jobs for everyone—and from the Spanish portion of her acceptance speech, I’m guessing she means EVERYONE—is nothing more than another example of the politics and consequences of blame-shifting. There are vocational schools for a reason, community colleges for a reason. The education is out there for those who want it.
If the government wants to reduce joblessness, instead of funding government-sponsored vocational training through raising payroll and other taxes, perhaps the government should reduce the burden placed on business by excess taxes and unnecessary regulation, thus freeing up capital which will allow business to prosper … and hire more people.
It all comes down to lower taxes, responsible spending, smaller government – and each one of those tenets of conservatism is deeply rooted in personal responsibility, a concept lost on those who believe that government is responsible for the well-being of American citizens.