Cass Sunstein, Obama’s former regulatory czar, wrote an op-ed in Bloomberg News on the 28th assuring us that President Obama is “not committed to equality of outcome but a fair opportunity with decent security.”
He said Obama is interested in updating a “second Bill of Rights” alongside the existing one.
His idea is to model it after Franklin Roosevelt’s economic Bill of Rights. [Obama frequently sees himself as one of the acclaimed presidents and in this case apparently it is Franklin Roosevelt]
Sunstein wrote that Roosevelt believed the Bill of Rights and the Constitution guaranteed ”political rights” but did not assure equality in the pursuit of happiness, thus the need for an economic Bill of Rights.
Sunstein emphasized that the national government is not to take control of the means of production to make this happen. However, while claiming Obama does not want to change the Constitution, he makes it clear he wants Congress to change the law.
Roosevelt’s economic Bill of Rights which Sunstein refers to, and which he claims Obama is emulating, includes the following:
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
Where Sunstein’s article gets particularly dicey is when he cites examples of Obama’s Bill of Rights which he has begun to implement:
The Affordable Care Act
Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (people who do not earn enough to pay taxes are actually given taxpayer money)
Extension of Unemployment insurance
The Race to the Top in which the government doles out money according to how well teachers and students meet rigid, one-size-fits-all performance standards
All of these accomplishments push our country towards government-control over our healthcare, education and our money (through heavy taxation).
One could argue that Obama stops short of socialism but there is no question he has pushed us further in that direction.
The Occupy Wall Street crowd, that Obama sympathized with, believe in a wage for every person whether they work or not. I don’t believe Obama is looking to do that or is he? Where will he draw the line?
People become concerned when they hear Justice Ginsberg laud the South African Constitution, which is a social justice manifesto. People see problems when there are similarities between Obama’s updated Bill of Rights to that of the U.S.S.R.’s Bill of Rights.
The now frequent calls for a new Constitution from the academics like Cass Sunstein are adding to concerns by traditional and more Conservative Americans.
The constant demonization of traditional values and people who adhere to them makes people very nervous. The attack on religious liberty via Obamacare and the erosion of the Second Amendment are very real.
We don’t know where President Obama plans to end up but he is fundamentally changing the United States and some of us believe that our country didn’t need the changes he is forcing through. Many of us do not want his additional set of “rights.”