Thursday, February 14, 2013

'Free' Speech? Not with an $83 Billion Price Tag!

Tony Perkins
Family Research Council

For an administration defined by overindulgence, Fat Tuesday was the perfect time to deliver yesterday's State of the Union address. Unfortunately for America, the President has no intention of following up its excess with a period of government fasting. On the contrary, the only Lent this White House seems interested in is the money lent to further its radical agenda. From billions more in education and universal preschool to global warming witch hunts, President Obama seems to hold Congressman Stevy Hoyer's view that America doesn't have a spending problem--it has "a paying-for problem." And as far as this administration is concerned, no problem exists that higher taxes can't solve. Including, it seems, the $83.4 billion that last night's projects would add to our yearly tab. Naturally, President Obama assured everyone that "nothing" he was proposing "should increase our deficit by a single dime." He's right, NRO points out. It's more like 64 trillion dimes.

As its editors will tell you, the President could have saved himself about 6,300 words by saying, "The state of our union is this: The United States is today $6 trillion deeper in debt than it was before [I]was first sworn in as President. That represents an increase of 57% in just four years. Put another way: Out of every dollar the country owes in government debt, 36 cents was acquired under [my] administration." But instead of meeting those challenges with America's greatest hope--stronger, freer families--he proposes crowding out parents with more unsustainable government programs and personnel. The American people, President Obama said, "don't expect the government to solve every problem." So why does he?

Schools are failing--not because parents are too involved, but because politicians are. Yet President Obama shared a core strategy of the Left when he insisted the answer is "high quality preschool available to every child in America." That's ironic, since the government's most recent attempt at Fed-ucation, Head Start, is not only a failure by Washington's standards, but by children's. HHS admitted last month that after 48 years and 180 billion taxpayer dollars, its early education program offered "little" or "no" benefits for children. In some instances, Head Start even had harmful effects. If President Obama truly believes that education policy should be driven by "what works," then it's time to look beyond the government to real solutions--like parental choice.

"The breakdown of the American family," Sen. Marco Rubio told reporters later, is one of the leading causes of our country's underperformance. "That doesn't mean I can go out and pass a law to create stronger families but it does mean that as leaders if we do not recognize the impact that the social and moral well-being of our people are having on our economy, and ultimately on our country, we're blinded into a big problem." In his speech, the President agreed with FRC that it's time "to strengthen families" and do "more to encourage fatherhood." And while we support his statement, what we do not support are the President's actual policies, which undermine the family he speaks so highly of. If liberals were serious about strengthening families, they would encourage couples to get married--not penalize them for it. And, while we're discussing it, perhaps the best way to encourage fatherhood is not to redefine marriage, which intentionally deprives a child of her dad.

But then, President Obama has quite a bit of experience depriving children of their mothers, thanks to the most extreme abortion agenda this nation has ever seen. Even that didn't stop him from proclaiming that nothing else matters "if we don't come together to protect our most precious resource: our children." How does the irony of that statement escape the media's attention when he's sought to expand the ultimate violence against children through taxpayer-funded abortion? President Obama cannot honestly claim a desire to protect "God-given rights," without counting "life" among them. "America is exceptional," Sen. Marco Rubio countered, "because we believe that every life, at every stage, is precious."

If our country is going to "enlist our values in the fight," as the President suggested, then it's time someone explained to this administration what American values are. It's not an "American value," for instance, to force people to pay for the slaughter of unborn children. It's not an "American value" to use our military as a weapon to destroy marriage. It's not an "American value" to trample on religious freedom by forcing religious groups to violate their biblically-based beliefs. And until our nation wakes up and elects leaders who recognize that, we won't need a state of the union to spell out our fate as a union.