What Ronald Reagan and Lady Margaret Thatcher Might Have Told President Obama about Income Inequality
“He would rather have the poor poorer, provided the rich were less rich. That is a liberal policy,” proclaimed Lady Margaret Thatcher.
No, the Iron Lady was not referring to President Obama and his failed liberal economic policies.
Her remark was in fact directed at one of her liberal critics in parliament in 1990. Her critic, Mr. Simon Hughes of Southwark and Bermondsey, said:
There is one statistic that I understand is not however challenged. And that is that over her 11 years, the gap between the richest 10 percent and the poorest 10 percent has widened substantially. How can she say at the end of her chapter of British politics, that she can justify in a constituency such as mine, being relatively much poorer, much less well housed, and much less well provided than it was in 1979. Surely she accepts, that is not a record that she or any prime minister can be proud of.
In her response, she blows her liberal counterpart’s cover:
Mr. Speaker, all levels of income are better off than they were in 1979. What the honorable member is saying, is that he would rather the poor were poorer, provided the rich were less rich… That is a liberal policy. Yes, it came out. He didn’t intend it to, but it did.
In response to another critic she added:
I think that I must have hit the right nail on the head when I pointed out that the logic of those policies is that they would rather the poor were poorer… So long as the gap is smaller, they would rather have the poor poorer. One does not create wealth and opportunity that way. One does not create a property-owning democracy that way.
Of course, the economic situation in Britain in 1990 is not directly comparable to that of the U.S. in 2014, however the principle Lady Thatcher articulated is timeless, which is that liberals would rather see everyone worse off economically, provided the gap between the poor and the rich is smaller.
President Obama’s economic record is abysmal. He has failed to promote job creation in the private sector. He’s increased our debts and deficits. During his presidency, upward economic mobility has slowed.
Perhaps Mr. Obama should think about wise words from former President Ronald Reagan:
The best social program is a job.
Rather than promoting policies that sound good rhetorically — like raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment insurance benefits for an undue length of time — the left needs to switch gears and think about actual job creation.