Your thoughts on Obama’s second inaugural speech?

I don’t have time to get into it right now, but I thought y’all might have some thoughts to get off your respective chests.

I didn’t quite hear all of it, but from what I heard, well, it’s wasn’t Lincoln’s second inaugural, which I was just reading about last night (almost done with “Team of Rivals”!). But that’s unfair. Lincoln had just been elected while guiding the nation, successfully (that is, he was on the verge of success, and all knew it), through its greatest crisis ever. But then, he also rose to the occasion as a speaker, with what is regarded by many as the greatest political speech in our history.

But then, on the other end of the spectrum, I thought there was more to it than Chris Cillizza’s distillation: “I’m the president, deal with it.

It was somewhere between the two. Thoughts?

77 thoughts on “Your thoughts on Obama’s second inaugural speech?

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Oh, one more thought…

    Cillizza said this was the Obama that liberals have been waiting for. And indeed, he had a lot of applause lines for those on the left.

    For instance, many were happy that they heard him say that peace doesn’t require “perpetual war.”

    But he had something for the rest of us, too. I heard him say that the United States will continue to be the bulwark of collective security.

    And… perhaps y’all will appreciate the irony in this… During the speech, Reuters Tweeted this bulletin: “U.S. drone strike kills four Qaeda militants in Yemen -sources“…

    So even as the president was pleasing his base by decrying George W. Bush — I mean, by decrying “perpetual war” — the War on Terror, which Obama has in his own way pursued more boldly than his predecessor, continued apace.

  2. Jim Hammond

    Some firsts. (Stonewall. Look it up; I had to.)
    Important references to the notion of Liberty and Freedom for all; to the ideal of united we stand, divided we fail; and the ideal that we should be a nation that promotes a basic level of well-being for all its citizens.

    But after the speech, I noted that while he was giving his high-minded remarks, an American drone aircraft was killing three al qaeda plotters in Yemen.

    I’m all for keeping us safe from those who would attack us and kill us. But I’m very troubled by our reliance on the drones to do it. I fear a nation that gains the ability to kill its enemies without putting anyone on our side at risk faces great moral hazard ahead.

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    It seems we were both thinking the same thing at the same time, Jim. Our comments about the drone strike sort of crossed each other.

    I, too, for a second wondered why the president was talking about a Confederate general. But then I figured it out.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    It seems the president might have wanted to tell the folks in the “Predator Bay” over at the CIA (yep, I saw “Zero Dark Thirty” over the weekend) something like “ixnay on the one-drays” (those CIA types love a coded message) just until he’d had a chance to deliver his speech against perpetual war.

  5. tired old man

    Re the timing of the drone strike: It may be an instance of standing orders from the commander in chief getting turns cross-wards with the president being a creature of politics.

    I favor the pax roma concept of mess with one Roman you screw with all Romans. From Vietnam thru the Bush wars we have dribbled in a few at a time — mostly our poor and least educated, the ones who were not the fortunate sons.

    This idea of killing clearly identified enemies with lightning bolts launched from the skies doesn’t really bother me. I much prefer that to sending in American boys and girls.

    What I would most prefer is a world as envisioned by Obama the politician, but if drone warfare advances that along, fine with me.

  6. Norm Ivey

    I always enjoy watching the President as an orator, but I didn’t think this was one of his better speeches. There were two passages that I appreciated, however. In addressing climate change, he said, Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. and a few sentences later, That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. I was gratified to hear him express that God and science are not exclusionary of each other. Energy and the environment are issues important to me, and I hope he will push for more action on that front.

    The second passage that I found powerful, but for which I am much less optimistic was toward the end of his address when he said, We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

    The camera caught Sasha yawning at one point, but I imagine her dad probably made everyone listen to the speech a few times over the last few days.

  7. Bryan Caskey

    The speech showed the President’s emphasis: Immigration, gay rights, gun control, and climate change.

    Conspicuously absent was the most important issue we face: Government finance. The government spends more than it takes in. We either need to raise more revenue or spend less. Our President just ignored the most important issue facing the country. Instead, he focused on social justice issues.

    Things that can’t go on forever, won’t.

  8. bud

    Norm, I think the president has set the bar so high that he can’t possibly give a speech that most folks will say is one of his best. All in all I thought it was a fine speech and I was especially glad to see he hasn’t forgotten environmental issues.

  9. Rose

    Did anyone see Hatch’s interview later? He talked about immigration reform being important because the birth rate in America isn’t producing enough children to properly care for the older generations.
    Is that their plan for recruiting Latinos? Join the GOP and you can be the people changing our bed pans?

  10. Doug Ross

    More interested in what he does versus what he says. First term was a disappointment in my view. Still too much war, still too much debt, and the “highlight” of his first term, Obamacare, has yet to be actually implemented to determine just how damaging it will be to the economy.

    As for his comments on the environment, it is ironically just hot air. Oh, he may get some more regulations passed but to think he can impact the weather? Please… We’ll all be dead and gone for decades before the current climate trend MIGHT be reversed.

  11. bud

    Conspicuously absent was the most important issue we face: Government finance.

    Seriously? How much MORE time do we need to devote to government finance. We just debated this issue for a couple of months then allowed some of the Bush tax cuts, along with the FICA tax cut, to expire. Plus we are now engaged in the debt ceiling fight. There probably has never been an issue debated more thoroughly than this.

    As for the claim that this is “the most important issue we face” I would argue that climate change is potentially the most important issue we have EVER faced. Given the increase in CO2 emissions and the rise in the earth’s temperature it becomes little more than footnote in world history if the debt issue remains unresolved since we’d all be long dead and gone regardless of what particular number we have as the budget deficit.

    One final point on the debt issue. No one in the GOP cares about the budget deficits. Otherwise the Bush tax cuts would have long ago expired. All this hand-wringing over deficts by the Republicans is really nothing but posturing.

    1. Silence

      bud- climate change is real, but it’s not man-made and there’s no stopping it any more than we can stope plate tectonics.
      The national debt, annual budget deficits, who pays for and receives government services are really the defining issue of our time. Witness the collapse of the socialist model in the less productive states in Europe and America. Every child born in the US now is immediately saddled with $250,000 in national debt.
      That is both something that we can control, and also that we can fix.

      1. Norm Ivey

        I’m pretty sure the consensus among climate scientists is that global warming is indeed anthropogenic. I doubt that our government or other governments have the will or the mandate to take much action to mitigate its impact at this point–we’ve gone too far and the inertia is too great. Instead we will have to adapt–and we will–to a very different world climatically. Of all the changes–droughts, floods, rising sea level, storms–it’s disease I fear will be the greatest threat.

        On the other hand there are things we can do in energy policy that would have positive (or less negative) impacts on the environment and benefit our economy and security. Germany produced almost 5% of its electrical needs using solar power last year–up from less than 1% in 2007. They’ve achieved that level by subsidizing solar electrical production heavily, an approach that will likely never work here, but incentives for solar and wind energy should be part of any serious energy policy.

        South Carolina doesn’t have much potential for solar energy, but we have a decent wind resource off our coastline, and a little bit better resource along our mountain ridges. There’s an electrical plant on Screaming Eagle Road that runs on gases captured from a landfill. These options will all become economically viable in time, but when that time comes, will we have developed the infrastructure resources to meet the demand? I suspect it will take a prolonged energy crisis to move this country in that direction.

        One of the many advantages of using wind and solar is that the energy cannot be produced here and sold elsewhere–everything produced in the USA will stay in the USA. Oil and and coal, on the other hand, are commodities and are sold to the highest bidder. So you can drill and mine here all you want, but as soon as buyers in other countries are willing to pay more than we are, Exxon and Peabody will sell it out from under us–literally. In fact, for the last couple of years we have begun to export more oil and gas than we import, and still the price of gas increases. The oil companies are selling overseas because their profits are greater when they do.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          Why doesn’t sunny SC have much potential for solar? I saw panels on most rooftops in SW Germany this summer, and it is overcast there much of the winter.

          1. Norm Ivey

            The efficiency of solar-to-electric depends in part on direct solar radiation. Light in SC is diffused more by our atmospheric conditions and particulate matter. It doesn’t mean it won’t work here; it just means it’s not as efficient as in the southwestern part of the country. Compared to Germany, we actually have greater potential. But in Germany, it’s being heavily subsidized. You are, in effect, guaranteed a profit for installing panels on your property.

            In SC I see solar as a close-to-the-source approach. People will install a few solar panels or water heaters on their rooftops to reduce the demand on large power plants. We don’t do much of that here either because we don’t have net metering–the power company does not have to give you credit for the power you produce at your site. There’s no financial incentive at all. Those who pursue solar do it almost entirely because it makes them feel good.

    2. Doug Ross

      Bud – if you have spending cuts that exceed the tax cuts, that would address the deficit issue. The solution isn’t always to raise taxes. Unless you are a Democrat.

      Apparently golfer Phil Mickelson is getting killed on Twitter today by liberals for stating that his effective tax rate is 63% when all taxes are considered. Phil’s going to do what many rich athletes do, move to Florida to escape California’s ridiculous 13% tax rate on millionaires. There are so many liberals who think they can tax their way to prosperity….

      1. Silence

        I don’t blame Phil Mickelson a bit. I would do the same thing if I was footloose and a very high-earner. However, I am tied to the local area, and a moderate earner – So I’ll stick with my 7% SC tax rate and 8% Richland County rate (10% on restaurants).

        1. Steven Davis II

          That’s one of the reason Lebron James chose Miami over Cleveland… I’m sure there are about 1000 other reasons as well.

  12. bud

    bud- climate change is real, but it’s not man-made

    That’s one of the rights favorite talking points. Its bogus of course like all of the rights talking points but I guess they take comfort in living in a world devoid of intellectual curiosity. That leaves it up to us liberals to save the day.

    1. Silence

      In fact, the latest evidence is that there is global cooling.
      I find it telling that many liberals (note, not ALL) tend to fixate on massive problems which require enormous government resources to approach and implement a solution. These same problems conveniently require a long-term approach and the effectiveness of the solution is difficult to measure due to the multivariate nature and duration of the problem.
      At best some of these solutions may be worthwhile.
      On average some may just be expensive and ineffective.
      At worst they may be downright harmful.
      I’d point to big government policy on housing, education, social welfare, crime and drugs as examples of expensive, ineffective and harmful.
      “Green” policies to attack climate change are at worst a massive wealth transfer system and an attack on western nations. At best they are expensive and worthless insurance against an unstoppable event.
      The climate is going to change. It always has, and it always will.

    2. Steven Davis II

      “That leaves it up to us liberals to save the day.”

      Speaking of which, how’s ol’ Al Gore doing these days?

  13. Brad Warthen Post author

    With regard to Bryan’s comment about the speech ignoring budget issues…

    Not exactly.

    I reTweeted this earlier, but on the theory that not all of you follow my Twitter feed religiously…

    Earlier, Robert Reich had complained, “The 2nd most important aspect of O’s inaugural address (1st was support for equal marriage rights): he didn’t mention the budget deficit.”

    Mark Knoller, THE White House press corps’ keeper of arcane facts, begged to differ: “@RBReich Actually he did mention deficit: ‘We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.'”

    1. Silence

      I especially liked that Obama mentioned that people who are receiving government services that they paid for all of their lives aren’t “takers”, while not mentioning that many people (including many of the ones I mind personally) don’t contribute significantly and certainly not on a scale commensurate with the benefits that they receive. I’m specifically thinking of folks who are otherwise capable and able bodied but receive cradle to grave benefits and never work enough to pay much in the way of taxes.

    2. Bryan Caskey

      Yeah, I saw that line. Then he basically said we’re not touching Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. Ok, so what’s the “hard choice” then? I guess we can look forward to more taxes.

        1. Bryan Caskey

          Actually no. What additional taxes would you like? I’m fine to allow all the taxes to go up to whatever levels you like, raise the debt ceiling as much as you like, and we’ll see how that goes.

          What would you like?

          I’ll be playing the part of the Greek chorus.

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          Oh, I don’t care. I’m an agnostic on taxes. I have trouble understanding why anyone has strong beliefs about them one way or the other.

          Oh, wait — I’m for eliminating the income cap on FICA taxes. Everybody should pay the same rate on all their income. And I say that less because I have a strong belief on the subject (although I do think the cap is ridiculous), and more because that would take Social Security 86 percent of the way to solvency.

          1. Steven Davis II

            I agree, but if everyone is supposed to be equal, would you have a problem with someone such as the Kardashian clan getting $100,000/month social security checks? If that’s what they paid in and everything being equal, that’s what they should receive once they reach eligibility. If you don’t cap the front end, you can’t fairly cap the back end.

  14. Silence

    I like the reports coming in now about how the bands and singers playing at the inagural celebrations were lip synching. While I understand that there may be issues with tuning an instrument or performing in January DC weather, I think faking it is a fitting tribute to our President.

  15. bud

    It’s a great day in America when the folks on the right can find blame for even the most trivial of things, like the alleged lip synching. Given the decline in the unemployment rate, annual budget deficits and foreign troop levels I guess a little whining about trivialities is about all the right has left to complain about.

    1. Steven Davis II

      Budget deficits are declining? Is that why Dear Leader is asking for a 3 month increase extension? Unemployment rates are declining? Maybe in the North Dakota oil country. I know that take home checks are declining but don’t know about the rest. I guess it’s how you cook the numbers… unemployment should include “under-employment”. You really don’t need a college degree to schlep coffee at Starbucks or bag groceries at Publix.

  16. bud

    Here are the budget deficit numbers in a nutshell:

    Recent US Federal Deficit Numbers
    Obama Deficits Bush Deficits
    FY 2013*: $901 billion FY 2009†: $1,413 billion
    FY 2012: $1,089 billion FY 2008: $459 billion
    FY 2011: $1,300 billion FY 2007: $161 billion
    FY 2010: $1,293 billion

    The unemployment rate has declined from the Bush recession high of 10.1% to the current level of 7.8%. Still too high but at least headed in the right direction.

    As for troop levels, at the height of the Iraq war we something on the order of 160,000 troops in the region. That has now dropped to less than 1/4 that and dropping. With that decline we’re seeing a drastically reduced cost to the taxpayer. As the songs says, happy days are indeed here again!

  17. Brad Warthen Post author

    Really? It still seems to me that we’re plodding along through a long, hard slog.

    Which isn’t a political statement. It’s just where we are.

    And as I recall, back in 2008 or so when this really started, the experts said it would be a long, hard slog, and would take years and years to get back to where we had been. I wish they’d been wrong.

  18. tired old man

    One of the right wing’s favorite canards is “folks who are otherwise capable and able bodied but receive cradle to grave benefits and never work enough to pay much in the way of taxes.”

    Let me walk you through a generalization that holds up very well statistically.

    Those on “welfare” actually fall into three large, almost equal groups.

    The first is composed of people who, Scripture informs us, “will always be with us.” These are people that prior to the advent of politically correct language we used to call cripples. They are parapalegics, mentally deranged, and mentally retarded. They could not exist without the compassion and concern of a civilized society. And, no matter how empassioned the argument from the far right, the faith community cannot sustain them.

    The second group is composed of people whose lives have been economically wracked, and they need assistance in recomposing their affairs. They are rightfully offended by the slurs, indignities and hoops imposed on their families as a condition for the public dole — and they regard the whole experience as so searing that they will die before ever turning to public assistance again.

    The third group is literally one paycheck at any one time from being independent of the welfare system or dependent upon it. They work long hours, and often multiple jobs, but bad decisions and their choice of parents handicap their prospects of breaking free — and giving their children some legacy other than being trapped in a world with too little regard for education and meager opportunities.

    This last group, by the way, is the target of the Medicaid expansion that Gov. Haley and the right wing opposes in SC. If the cost of health care could be taken off the backs of these low-income (and by definition WORKING) people, then the odds lengthen that they can put a paycheck or two between themselves and episodic dependency.

    The Medicaid expansion puts no money in the pockets of the patients. instead, it would mean SC’s credentialed health care providers would be paid for providing heatlh care services — and not write the current care off as bad debt.

    And, were SC to take the $11 Billion or so in free federal assistance to fund the Medicaid expansion, it could tax the resulting income at 7% — and after several years, only put up 10% to get another $11 billion. So, the math is that $22 billion comes in at a cost of $1.1 billion and a gain of 7% in taxing power.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      “And, were SC to take the $11 Billion or so in free federal assistance to fund…” -tired old man

      FREE federal assistance? The money ain’t free, yo. I promise.

      It does remind me of a funny line from a movie, though: “Everybody needs money. That’s why they call it money.”

  19. Mark Stewart

    2005-2008 was a period of time that we could all have done without; and one that we will now keep in mind for the rest of our lives. Just like those who lived through the Great Depression ever after made economic decisions based upon their past experiences, so will we as individuals and as a society. However, that is just teeter-tottering; what we really need to do is find the “stable” medium between exuberance and fear.

    It amazes me when people blame Obama for where we are economically. That’s obtuse. We are all to blame, but if one needs to blame a President, then look to 43.

    If Obama actually sticks to the idea of not reconsidering any meaningful changes to our vast social programs – including tax deductions and loopholes, then he will have done the wrong that he is now accused of doing. But we can’t forget he has to negotiate with a Congress that is even more intransigent in its view.

    1. Doug Ross

      I don’t blame Bush or Obama (although I reserve the right to change my mind if Obamacare becomes the economic anchor I expect it will become). I blame Congress and the Federal Reserve. Congress makes the tax laws and the spending appropriations. Congress has yet to have the guts to actually declare a war when we go to war. Congress bends to the donations from lobbyists. The Fed monkeys with interest rates and the money supply causing booms and busts.

      Bush was a failure with his war policies that Congress refused to pay for and Democrats went along with in true jingoistic fashion.

      We aren’t close to a recovery. Real inflation is much higher than the fabricated numbers the government puts out. Medical costs, education costs, food costs are all rising rapidly. Have you been to a grocery store lately? Meat and produce are up at least 25% over a few years ago. I went to pick up a box of Entenmanns plain donuts yesterday at the store and did a double take when I saw the price – $5.69! They were no more than $3.99 a year or two ago.

      1. Steven Davis II

        Speaking of Obamacare, I talked to one person over the weekend who went in for a doctor’s visit last week. His typical co-pay was around $85, last week it was $165… reason for the 100% increase, you guessed it… Obamacare.

        1. Steven Davis II

          So Kathryn now you’re calling me a liar?

          That’s what he was told. I have no reason to doubt him… he isn’t a lawyer or a politician.

        2. Doug Ross

          The inflation rate as calculated by the government bears no resemblance to reality. As one who has paid for groceries for a family of five for years, I can tell you our bill is at least 50% higher than it was ten years ago.

          Here’s the breakdown of the market basket used to calculate the index.

          Food and beverages 15%
          Housing 43%
          Apparel 4%
          Transportation 17%
          Medical care 6%
          Recreation 6%
          Education and communication 6%
          Other goods and services 3%

          It’s easy to see that the crash in home prices several years ago would hold down the index. Except everyone with a fixed rate mortgage who didn’t go into foreclosure saw no change in their costs. Thus large increases in food, medical care, etc. would impact most people with fixed housing costs.

          The inflation numbers are meaningless.

  20. bud

    Obama has tried and for all his efforts he was able to get a tiny increase in tax revenue thanks to a repeal of taxes for those making $400k+. And also the temporary payroll tax cut ended. Those are small but not insignificant changes that should help with the long-term budget deficit, something that, by the way, has improved by some 30% since the last Bush budget.

    As for the welfare issue I’ll agree with the Republicans on one thing, a growing economy will help more to fight poverty than all the welfare programs in the universe. But in order to get there we need to provide work. And the best way to do that is for the government to step in start building necessities like roads and bridges and water systems. What better time than now while interest rates are at historic lows? Obama should push hard on that front.

  21. Scout

    “folks who are otherwise capable and able bodied but receive cradle to grave benefits and never work enough to pay much in the way of taxes.”

    I think you mean earn instead of work. Minimum wage, manual labor = hard work, not much earnings.

    1. Silence

      Scout – those people I don’t mind. Folks who work hard and pay in should get the benefits that they were promised, for example social security and medicare. It’s the folks who laze around and expect that society will support them for an entire lifetime, or for generations. Your basic grasshoppers – if you will.

    2. tired old man

      If you would like to see how one word defines the separation of conservative vs liberal, republican vs democrat, then see what Scout says:

      Scout quotes Silence // “folks who are otherwise capable and able bodied but receive cradle to grave benefits and never work enough to pay much in the way of taxes.” //

      Scout says: I think you mean earn instead of work. Minimum wage, manual labor = hard work, not much earnings.

      He is so correct in that observation. Say “earn” and you acknowledge effort, no matter how unsuccessful. Say “work” and the clear inference is that there was a choice somewhere along the line not to work, thus the inability to pay taxes.

      One word, which becomes a value, which in turn leads to a discrimination — earn vs work — aptly and succinctly summarizes and encapsulates two entirely different viewpoints.

      I am wholeheartedly with Scout.

      My original point back in this thread was some people due to overwhelming physical and/or mental difficulties cannot work. They are due civilized compassion and Christian concern.

      Another group of people work very hard, but due to oftentimes self-imposed challenges or an environment into which they were born that undervalues education, they simply can never earn their way out of episodic dependency. They are due no small amount of respect for their work ethic, yet evoke despair because good luck evades, eludes and escapes them.

      The third group had back luck, but grit and determination and some good luck put it in their rearview mirror.

      These are the 47%, whom the fortunate sons holds with disdain — likely because those who are lucky enough to have selected well-to-do parents seldom maintain in the second and third generation that drive, grit, and determination and even sacrifice that enabled the accumulation of wealth and savings. They hold the wretched with arm’s-length contempt because one bit of bad luck (such as Bush’s meltdown) brings them together.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I, too, agree with Scout. I usually do.

        In fact, she addressed something that had struck me when I read Silence’s original comment. I was thinking that he hadn’t worded it right. Surely, I thought, he didn’t mean “never work enough to pay much in the way of taxes.”

        Silence is smart enough to know that there are millions upon millions of people in this country working as hard as they can who don’t make enough to pay much in taxes (although, of course, they pay FICA taxes on all their income, unlike higher-income people).

        I thought Scout addressed that lapse very diplomatically. Atticus would be proud. And Silence answered her in the civil way that she addressed him. Just as things should be.

        And yes, that’s where the sobriquet “Scout” comes from — “To Kill A Mockingbird.” So I have always addressed Scout as a “she,” not a “he.” And she has never corrected me…

  22. Silence

    @Scout, T.O.M. and Brad – I think I said “folks who are otherwise capable and able bodied,” I specifically was attempting to exclude those who cannot work or cannot work very profitably due to a mental or physical issue. I have no problem with society providing support to those who have a legitimate handicap. It’s part of what we do.
    I also have no problem with people working and paying into a system over the course of their career and then receiving benefits in proportion to their contribution – I believe that Social Security is structured in this way. Medicare is a little different, because the benefit isn’t linked to having paid in, I don’t think. One contributes the statutory percentage, and then takes out the services one needs once one meets the age requirement. I think the % is too low, and it should be operated on an actuarial basis, but generally I agree with the system.

    My gripe was specifically with idlers and loafers who expect that we owe them – that by virtue of being born they are entitled to receive cradle-to-grave healthcare, sustinance, housing, an Obamaphone, high speed internet, cable TV, etc.
    The “let me sit around here, whoring it up and popping out babies while taxpayers pay the bills” variety.

  23. bud

    My gripe was specifically with idlers and loafers who expect that we owe them – that by virtue of being born they are entitled …

    That describes the Walton family perfectly. Not sure I understand all this constant hand wringing over the poor in this country. Seems like many of the wealthy mooch off the public dole a whole lot more promiscuously and never seem to be held to account.

      1. Doug Ross

        Apparently Kathryn hasn’t watched the Maury Povich show which showcases 4-5 different baby mamas every day looking to DNA test one or more fine young citizens til they get the right one.

  24. tired old man

    re Silence are you saying whoring and popping babies doesn’t occur?

    No. But I do not obsess about it.

    I was going to let this die down, but you truly scare me.

    There are about 50,000 babies born in SC each year. How many do you think are a result of whoring and popping?

    Do you know what welfare pays in SC? Hint: $223 a month for a family with two children. Ever try to rent an apartment, or pay an electric bill on about $50 a week? That’s why 12,298 women in SC left welfare for jobs that paid an average of $9 a hour over the 10 month period ending June 2012.

    There probably is a woman or two who is whoring and popping. She obviously obsesses you.

    We all might feel better if you thought a little more often about women on welfare who never imagined being where they are. She may have married a man who impregnated her and later left her — with more babies than job skills.

    And the benefit of your christian charity.

    1. Silence

      @ T.O.M. – First off, the same person who qualifies for the $233/month probably also has Section 8 or other government furnished housing, so that’s sort of a red herring. They also probably get SNAP benefits, free health care, and an Obama-phone. I’m very glad that 12,298 women left welfare for $9/hour jobs, that’s fantastic and the point of the program (in my mind) is to give people a temporary safety net while they get back on their feet. Kudos to the 12,298! I toast their work ethic and celebrate their accomplishment.

      Next up, I’m sorry that MANY, MANY people make poor life decisions that put them in a bad spot. A lot of people are poor judges of character, or make decisions without thinking about the long-term consequences. Please don’t make that my problem, ’cause it’s not my fault.

      Third – It’s not a safe assumption that everyone who reads or commments on this blog is a Christian, charitable or otherwise. I for one am not a Christian.

    2. Steven Davis II

      Don’t care, if they spent as much time trying to better themselves as they do getting knocked up, standing in welfare lines and complaining to their mama on their ‘bamaphone they might actually be able to find and hold down a job.

  25. bud

    Folks like Silence spend many hours each day pining over a single mother who receives $4-500 in government assistance so she can feed her baby. Yet those same folks don’t blink at the fact that the bigwig bankers have suffered no criminal liability for flagrant illegal acts that caused the nation’s economy to crash. Until we get our priorities right we’re likely to suffer an ongoing decline as a nation. Sadly the right seems determined to focus on all the wrong things.

    1. Steven Davis II

      So the millions of deadbeat baby mamas and baby daddies who aren’t anything but an economic parasite feeding of a host welfare program aren’t a factor in the economic decline? Why are food stamp applications increasing at approximately 10,000 claims per month in this country?

      My priorities don’t include my tax dollars being used to allow some baby machine to sit at home, talk on her Obamaphone, live in subsidized housing and take her kids out to eat using her EBT card at McDonalds. If this is what the right is focused on eliminating, is it also what the left considers the right things?

  26. Doug Ross

    Next week’s Super Bowl will feature Ray Lewis, a future Hall of Fame linebacker. Ray has six children by four different women (no wives). Quite the role model. But that’s a little better than NY Jet cornerback Anthony Cromartie who has 12 children by 8 women.

    From a recent USA Today article:
    “About 80% of first children born to black women were outside of marriage; 18% of these women were cohabiting. Among Hispanics, 53% of first children were born outside of marriage, and 30% of the women were cohabiting. Among white women, 34% of first children were born outside of marriage, 20% to cohabiters. Among Asians, 13% of first children were born outside of marriage; 7% of women were cohabiting.”

    Those numbers will be devastating to the economy down the road. The straightest path to poverty is 1) dropping out of high school 2) having a child outside of marriage. South Carolina will be in tough shape for a long time under current conditions. And the solution isn’t to give the baby mamas more. The solution is to make out of wedlock pregnancy before age 20 socially unacceptable.

      1. Doug Ross

        Not sure I agree. Moynihan claimed it was the absence of jobs that created the explosion of out of wedlock births in the black community starting in the 60;s. I find that odd. “I don’t have a job so I should impregnate multiple women I don’t live with”? What’s the connection?

  27. Mark Stewart

    Most social problems that arise from poverty.

    We just can’t seem to decide whether paying the price to break the cycle is worth it – across the entire spectrum of education, economic opportunity, housing, healthcare, other social services, etc. – to society as a whole.

    Demonizing a generic poverty bogey doesn’t do anything. Neither does pretending that people just need some coaching to rise out of poverty. They need both real opportunity and a safety net set very low. We seem to be better at the later than the former.

    We need to understand that there will always be a destitute, hopeless underclass in any social structure. That’s just part of life. However, the South has been the locus of a subset of American society that has for centuries actively encouraged a larger underclass – white as well as black. As long as we hide behind our prejudices this will never change. If we want real change, everyone must be on board; otherwise history will continue to repeat itself.

  28. Doug Ross


    What more can we do? Free schools, free college education, reduced or free lunch, affirmative action, section 8 housing, food stamps, medicaid… Give me a number. How much more do we have to spend to make an entire class of people responsible for themselves? Double? Triple?

    1. Mark Stewart


      You missed my point. I was talking about attitudes all the way around. Money without a change of social understanding isn’t ever going to do anything.

  29. bud

    Doug, you really undecut your point by mentioning a couple of rich athletes who fathered several children by multiple women. Those examples suggest that poverty really isn’t the sole factor in out-of-wedlock births but rather a cultural issue. So why not provide a bit of comfort and hope for these children? Welfare is just not a big cause of our budget woes.

    The real mouchers of society are the big bankers and other corporate scoundrels who drain the treasury by destroying the financial system.

    1. Doug Ross


      When Anthony Cromartie’s money runs out, guess who’s going to paying to support his children?

      Poverty isn’t the cause of out of wedlock births but out of wedlock births can statistically be proven to lead to poverty.

  30. tired old man

    It is rather disturbing that this thread has persisted through six dozen replies, especially when there should be far more important issues to contemplate.

    I’m leaving with this statistic quoted from the 2009 Kids Count South Carolina report. I believe it speaks volumes about the cultural wars ongoing in our nation today:

    “Single-parent families are most likely to be poor. In 1999, 40.2% of children in single-parent families lived in poverty, but only 7.5% of children in married-couple families were poor. Children in single-parent families made up 68% of all the state’s children living in poverty.”

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