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The Politics of Fairness--I.E., the Politics of Favoritism

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, we have heard a lot about fairness from the President lately. Perhaps his Chicago advisers think that if he distracts, divides, and creates envy all in the name of so-called ``fairness,'' Americans will ignore their thin wallets and stacked up bills. But the people are smarter than back-room government policycrats.

If the President is reelected in January, he will have inherited a weak economy from his predecessor--himself. Then who will he blame? The President was elected to solve problems, not place blame and make excuses for failure.

Like most Americans, I want the administration to succeed, but the evidence is not on the administration's side. With unemployment higher than 8 percent for 41 months--even higher for recent college graduates at above 50 percent--and our deficit above $15 trillion, there isn't much of a record to stand on.

So we are involved in a new Madison Avenue campaign diversion called ``Remake America'' to make America ``fair.'' Of course, fairness is in the eyes of the beholder, and it means different things to different folks; but it certainly sounds good at first glance.

Mr. Speaker, let's look at this idea. The politics of ``fairness'' are used when politicians want you to ignore their record and then claim that some people just haven't been treated fairly. This is a mere diversion from failed policy, failed ideas. When you look at the record, you'll see that this administration's definition of ``fairness'' really means ``favoritism.''

There is no fairness in crony capitalism. That is favoritism. There is no fairness in a perpetual bailout culture where the omnipotent government deems some too big to fail and others too small to succeed. That is favoritism. There is no fairness in forcing Americans to fork over money to pay for failed pet endeavors like Solyndra. That is favoritism. There is no fairness in an unaccountable government that constantly takes money from the working people and squanders it in a failed stimulus--or two. That is favoritism. And there is no fairness in enforcing some laws while proudly ignoring other laws. That is favoritism.

What this ``fairness'' debate--or the politics of favoritism--achieves is a systematic desire by government to create animosity--animosity towards those who have or are just trying to achieve some success. It also creates animosity toward government from those who built it on their own without being a member of the government's favored class.

This debate degrades the American Dream because it removes the equality of opportunity and creates a class of favorites--the class of government ``friends.''

There is no equality or fairness in forced equal outcomes. Since some people are more successful than others, to paraphrase Lincoln, the government, which cannot make everyone rich, is trying to accomplish what it can do--make everyone poor and dependent on the government for success. This is fairness? I think not.

Instead of encouraging individuals to succeed on their own, this administration tells citizens that they need the government. In fact, according to The Wall Street Journal, almost 50 percent of the population lives in a household where at least one member receives a government benefit.

Bad policies have forced more Americans to grow dependent on government. The President wants to, in his own words, remake America. Remake it into what? A Nation where the government is running roughshod over our lives and our liberty? A country where no one is allowed to succeed unless the government gives permission? No thanks. I thought we threw that idea away when we left the regime of King George III.

America doesn't need to be remade into a Third World country totally oppressed by a government that wants America to be another European nanny state where special favoritism is given to government's special friends.

We need to return to what our country was founded on: the pursuit of opportunity or, as Jefferson said it, the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The American Dream--a dream that can come true with individualism and hard work and without a government that punishes ambition, creativity, and success while rewarding failure--all in the name of fairness.

The politics of favoritism, under the guise of ``fairness,'' is not the America we need. Mr. Speaker, the America I know doesn't need to be remade into the politics of favoritism.

And that's just the way it is.


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