We’ve all heard the old expression, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Then again, maybe not. Evidently, the powers that be at the White House either never heard this expression before, don’t understand it, or frankly don’t care.
My money is on the last explanation.
Among the president’s acts these final two years in office is giving away as much as he possibly can think to give. Clearly, there is no limit to the goodies he can dream up to hand out. Last week, it was “free community college.” This week, its mandatory paid “sick” leave.
Clearly, the list of goodies the administration can think to offer the public is endless. And who can really argue with things like free sick leave and education? Only Ebenezer Scrooge himself could come out against things like that, right?
Well, there is the little matter of money. The old adage that began this blog is as true today as it ever was. Obama isn’t entirely denying this either. According to his administration’s own estimates, for example, free community college will cost the taxpayers 60 billion dollars. Implementation of paid sick leave should set us all back another 2.2 billion dollars. And these are only estimates. It always costs more.
Face it. A billion here. A billion there. It all adds up and then we’re talking real money.
Obama isn’t the first president to promise such things. In his first presidential campaign, Abraham Lincoln ran on the slogan, “Vote Yourself a Farm.” Evidently, in an attempt to keep the campaign positive (and to win) he supported legislation making it easier for homesteaders heading west.
Likewise, Herbert Hoover wowed the electorate in 1928 with the promise, “A Chicken in Every Pot and a Car in Every Garage.” Needless to say, he didn’t come close to delivering but at least his intentions were good.
And that is in fact what President Obama is providing with his current list of offerings leading up to the State of the Union Address. He wants the American people to see what a wonderful person he is. If they don’t get all the goodies, they only have those nasty greedy Republicans to blame.
So what will he think of next?
Although the last president he’d ever want to emulate is Herbert Hoover, a new car in every garage might be wildly popular. It worked for Oprah. Imagine the public’s excitement over that idea. He could even offer it as a way of supporting American automobile manufacturing. Never mind the cost. Sounds like a public relations boom (as long as the cars were energy efficient of course).
Here’s another idea.
Obama could promise free cake and ice cream for the entire country. To make it even better, the administration could issue regulations mandating that none of these treats could cause anyone to gain an ounce of weight.
Now that’s a winner and one that even I could get behind!