Is This the America We Really Want?

By  //  August 10, 2013

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YOUR OPINION

I am compelled to share a very provocative op-ed article by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, New Jersey, and voice my opinion on the state of our union with his help.

opinion-1802The original expanded version of the article below was posted on his blog in November of last year shortly after the national election, and is a succinct and thoughtful explanation of how our nation is changing.

The article appeared in The Israel National News, and is directed to Jewish readership. Seventy percent of American Jews vote as Democrats. The Rabbi has some interesting comments in that regard. Please take a moment to read the article and seriously reflect on his observations and elucidations.

Is this the America you really want for your children, grandchildren, and even for yourself? I hope not. I hope you will begin to understand that the only thing the government can give is what it takes away from someone else, and that while Peter may be able to rob Paul for a while, eventually Paul will either stop working himself, will move where Peter can’t reach him, or Peter and Paul will take aim at and destroy each other.

We must have hope that Rabbi Purzansky is wrong about the old America being gone, have faith that the “American Spirit” will be restored, and that we will come to realize that the only logical future for a country where the majority have become dependent is poverty and subserviency.

While Rabbi Purzansky said the elections of Obama should be a wakeup call to Jews, the fact is, it should be a wakeup call to anyone who wants to be able to live in America and achieve the American Dream of financial security and independence.

Is this the America you really want for your children, grandchildren, and even for yourself? I hope not. I hope you will begin to understand that the only thing the government can give is what it takes away from someone else, and that while Peter may be able to rob Paul for a while, eventually Paul will either stop working himself, will move where Peter can’t reach him, or Peter and Paul will take aim at and destroy each other.

Why Romney Didn’t Get Enough Votes to Win

By Rabbi Steven Purzansky

The most charitable way of explaining the election results of 2012 is that Americans voted for the status quo–for the incumbent President and for a divided Congress. They must enjoy gridlock, partisanship, incompetence, economic stagnation and avoidance of responsibility. And fewer people voted.

Rabbi Steven Purzansky

Rabbi Steven Pruzansky is the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, a synagogue consisting of nearly 600 families located in Teaneck, N.J. He also is a lawyer and practiced law for 14 years.

But as we awake from the nightmare, it is important to eschew the facile explanations for the Romney defeat that will prevail among the chattering classes. Romney did not lose because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy that devastated this area, nor did he lose because he ran a poor campaign, nor did he lose because the Republicans could have chosen better candidates, nor did he lose because Obama benefited from a slight uptick in the economy due to the business cycle.

Romney lost because he didn’t get enough votes to win.

That might seem obvious, but not for the obvious reasons. Romney lost because the conservative virtues–the traditional American virtues–of liberty, hard work, free enterprise, private initiative and aspirations to moral greatness–no longer inspire or animate a majority of the electorate.

The simplest reason why Romney lost was because it is impossible to compete against free stuff.

Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader” or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool. Obama’s America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who–courtesy of Obama–receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentivizes looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote. The lure of free stuff is irresistible.

Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader” or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool. Obama’s America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who–courtesy of Obama–receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentivizes looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote. The lure of free stuff is irresistible.

The defining moment of the whole campaign was the revelation of the secretly-recorded video in which Romney acknowledged the difficulty of winning an election in which “47 percent of the people” start off against him because they pay no taxes and just receive money — “free stuff” — from the government.

Almost half of the population has no skin in the game — they don’t care about high taxes, promoting business, or creating jobs, nor do they care that the money for their free stuff is being borrowed from their children and from the Chinese.

They just want the free stuff that comes their way at someone else’s expense. In the end, that 47 percent leaves very little margin for error for any Republican, and does not bode well for the future.

It is impossible to imagine a conservative candidate winning against such overwhelming odds. People do vote their pocketbooks. In essence, the people vote for a Congress who will not raise their taxes, and for a President who will give them free stuff, never mind who has to pay for it.

ELECTORATE IGNORANT, UNINFORMED

That engenders the second reason why Romney lost: the inescapable conclusion that the electorate is ignorant and uninformed. Indeed, it does not pay to be an informed voter, because most other voters–the clear majority–are unintelligent and easily swayed by emotion and raw populism.

That is the indelicate way of saying that too many people vote with their hearts and not their heads. That is why Obama did not have to produce a second term agenda, or even defend his first-term record. He needed only to portray Mitt Romney as a rapacious capitalist who throws elderly women over a cliff, when he is not just snatching away their cancer medication, while starving the poor and cutting taxes for the rich.

Adlai Stevenson

Adlai Stevenson

During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai Stevenson: “Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!” Stevenson called back: “That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!” Truer words were never spoken.

Obama could get away with saying that “Romney wants the rich to play by a different set of rules” without ever defining what those different rules were; with saying that the “rich should pay their fair share” without ever defining what a “fair share” is; with saying that Romney wants the poor, elderly and sick to “fend for themselves” without even acknowledging that all these government programs are going bankrupt, their current insolvency only papered over by deficit spending.

Similarly, Obama (or his surrogates) could hint to blacks that a Romney victory would lead them back into chains and proclaim to women that their abortions and birth control would be taken away.

He could appeal to Hispanics that Romney would have them all arrested and shipped to Mexico and unabashedly state that he will not enforce the current immigration laws.

He could espouse the furtherance of the incestuous relationship between governments and unions, in which politicians ply the unions with public money, in exchange for which the unions provide the politicians with votes, in exchange for which the politicians provide more money and the unions provide more votes, etc., even though the money is gone.

Obama also knows that the electorate has changed–that whites will soon be a minority in America (they’re already a minority in California) and that the new immigrants to the US are primarily from the Third World and do not share the traditional American values that attracted immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is a different world, and a different America. Obama is part of that different America, knows it, and knows how to tap into it. That is why he won.

NEGATIVE ADVERTISING WORKS

Obama also proved again that negative advertising works, invective sells, and harsh personal attacks succeed.

President Barrack Obama

President Barrack Obama

That Romney never engaged in such diatribes points to his essential goodness as a person; his “negative ads” were simple facts, never personal abuse — facts about high unemployment, lower take-home pay, a loss of American power and prestige abroad, a lack of leadership, etc. As a politician, though, Romney failed because he did not embrace the devil’s bargain of making unsustainable promises.

It turned out that it was not possible for Romney and Ryan — people of substance, depth and ideas — to compete with the shallow populism and platitudes of their opponents. Obama mastered the politics of envy and class warfare, never reaching out to Americans as such but to individual groups, and cobbling together a winning majority from these minority groups.

If an Obama could not be defeated–with his record and his vision of America , in which free stuff seduces voters–it is hard to envision any change in the future.

The road to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and to a European-socialist economy — those very economies that are collapsing today in Europe — is paved.

For Jews, mostly assimilated anyway and staunch Democrats, the results demonstrate again that liberalism is their Torah. Almost 70 percent voted for a president widely perceived by Israelis and most committed Jews as hostile to Israel. They voted to secure Obama’s future at America ‘s expense and at Israel’s expense–in effect, preferring Obama to Netanyahu by a wide margin.

DANGEROUS TIMES AHEAD

Under present circumstances, it is inconceivable that the U.S. will take any aggressive action against Iran and will more likely thwart any Israeli initiative. The U.S. will preach the importance of negotiations up until the production of the first Iranian nuclear weapon, and then state that the world must learn to live with this new reality.

But this election should be a wake-up call to Jews. There is no permanent empire, nor is there an enduring haven for Jews anywhere in the exile. The American empire began to decline in 2007, and the deterioration has been exacerbated in the last five years. This election only hastens that decline.

But this election should be a wake-up call to Jews. There is no permanent empire, nor is there an enduring haven for Jews anywhere in the exile. The American empire began to decline in 2007, and the deterioration has been exacerbated in the last five years. This election only hastens that decline.

Society is permeated with sloth, greed, envy and materialistic excess. It has lost its moorings and its moral foundations. The takers outnumber the givers, and that will only increase in years to come.

The “Occupy” riots across this country in the last two years were mere dress rehearsals for what lies ahead–years of unrest sparked by the increasing discontent of the unsuccessful who want to seize the fruits and the bounty of the successful, and do not appreciate the slow pace of redistribution.

If this election proves one thing, it is that the Old America is gone. And, sad for the world, it is not coming back.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ilene Davis, CFP

Ilene Davis, CFP

Ilene Davis, a resident of Brevard County since 1971, is a Certified Financial Planner with a bachelors degree in Mathematics from the University of Michigan, a bachelors degree in Accounting from Rollins College, and a Masters in Business Administration from Webster University.  Ms. Davis became a stockbroker in 1982, earned her designation as a Certified Financial Planner in 1984, and with a desire to serve clients more on her own terms, opened her own financial consultant office in Cocoa Village in 1986.   She is committed to helping each client create their own “Financial Freedom Fund,” and believes strongly in free market capitalism and a “hand up rather than a hand-out” as the best path to prosperity.


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