It's no mystery what the left intends to make its next life-or-death issue: income inequality. Liberals are all popping off about it. It's everywhere, from Obama's speeches to liberal think tanks to liberal reporters.
It's almost as if they were conspiring to distract us from Obamacare. Nah!
On "Meet the Press," PBS anchorwoman Judy Woodruff sounded the alarm, not as a dispassionate reporter but as a progressive advocate. While acknowledging Obama's problems with Obamacare, she breathlessly insisted, "At the same time, the argument for doing something about the economy, the argument for addressing inequality, is such a compelling argument."
Behold the liberal mindset. It's apparently only of passing concern to Woodruff that Obamacare caused cancellations of millions of policies of insurance for people. That is so last year.
The important thing is that liberal icon Barack Obama forced quasi-socialized health care through Congress, and any harm it causes people must take a back seat to advancement of the progressive agenda, which is ostensibly designed (in the progressives' minds) to prevent harm to people. Ignore the foolish inconsistency. Nor does it matter that Obama lied about the harm his sacred plan would cause. The progressive agenda is marching forward.
Liberals must now shift our attention to the next issue they can preen about and showcase their moral superiority.
Notice that Woodward didn't say, "We need to get the economy moving again and get people back to work." She conflated "doing something about the economy" with "the argument for addressing inequality."
News flash: You don't do something about the economy by obsessing over income redistribution. The two are connected, but not in the sense that liberals believe they are.
While Obama liberals scoff at conservatives for their alleged "trickledown" approach to economics, they make the preposterous counterargument that you grow the economy "from the middle out," by which they mean you fuel economic growth by redistributing income.
You don't generate economic activity by punishing producers and taking their earnings and giving the money to others. How in the world could that expand the economic pie?
More likely, as history demonstrates, it will shrink the pie by disincentivizing all groups from producing. The wealthy will produce less because when you increase taxes on something (in this case, productivity and success), you get less of it. The recipients will mostly produce less because they are rewarded for not producing.
So "addressing inequality" is connected to "doing something about the economy" but in precisely the opposite way the left implies. Efforts to misuse the tax code to equalize outcomes -- as opposed to using it for the purpose of securing funds for constitutionally prescribed federal government functions -- will usually harm the economy.
Some liberals probably don't even believe their own propaganda that redistribution stimulates economic growth. In 2008, Obama told ABC's Charlie Gibson he favors increasing capital gains tax rates despite the fact that such increases had resulted in less revenue for the government. "It's a matter of fairness, Charlie."
For Obama, it was more important to punish the "rich" than to help the poor. That's his mindset -- and it's warped.
Don't get me wrong. Obama and his fellow leftists are fixated on redistributing wealth, but a major component of that, as witnessed by his attitude on increasing the capital gains rate, is that the wealthy need to be punished -- even if it means hurting lower-income groups.
The irony of all this is that these liberal policies often result in exacerbating income inequality. Obama can pretend, once again, that he's an innocent bystander, but income inequality is getting worse under his presidency.
A half-century and trillions of dollars in government transfer payments have not helped the poor. Even The New York Times is grudgingly conceding that after 50 years, "the war on poverty declared 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson has largely failed."
Whether or not liberals are able to process the reality that their programs have failed, they will not abandon them, because class warfare and government dependency programs are their ticket to power. CNN's Candy Crowley unwittingly admitted as much when she asked Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker why any unemployed American or minimum wage worker would become a Republican.
It's not that conservatives don't care about the poor. It's that we do care about the poor -- and everyone else. We believe that our free market solutions generate economic growth, stimulate upward mobility and improve the economic lives of far more people, including the poor and middle class, than any other system. History vindicates us.
The left will always win the "look at how much I care about you" contest. But it loses in the "actually caring" department because at some point, people have to be presumed to have intended the damaging results their policies have consistently caused.
Liberals can posture about how much they care and they can try desperately to change the channel from Obamacare, but the devastating harm that program has caused to millions already may finally have punctured their pretense of caring and their shameless practice of attempting to exempt themselves from accountability for their policies.
David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert in law and politics and author of new book Crimes Against Liberty, the definitive chronicle of Barack Obama's devastating term in office so far.