John Boehner, in an interview with Fox News:
The president’s economic policies have failed. I would argue they actually have made things worse. And as a result, the president has turned to the politics of envy and division...
America can’t live for four more years with Barack Obama as president. His policies will turn America in a direction that we may never recover from...
It’s sending America down a path that will look a lot like what we see in Europe: A big social welfare state, high unemployment, slow economic growth and a government that is overly large.
If you have a government that can give you everything that you want, you have a government that can take everything that you have.
No one is advocating for a government that will “give you everything that you want,” of course. So I suppose there’s no need to fear that government will be taking away “everything that you have” anytime soon.
This is really crazy stuff, but such lurid invocations of impending Big Government Apocalpyse have become par for the course among today’s Republican leaders. Paul Ryan, who has become the intellectual leader of the party on fiscal matters, claims we are approaching a ”tipping point beyond which the nation will be unable to change course.” Mitt Romney, the all-but-certain GOP nominee, frequently argues that Obama favors government-enforced “equal outcomes.”
Obama wants to return to Clinton-era tax rates on the rich, and to tax millionaires who pay lower tax rates than middle class taxpayers at a rate of 30 percent. His policies would barely put a dent in long term trends that have exacerbated inequality for decades.
Yet as Jonathan Chait recently noted in a different context, when Republicans respond to Obama’s prescriptions to combat inequality and tax unfairness, they aren’t attacking his actual policies, they’re attacking socialism. They’re attacking an imagined plan for mass seizure and redistribution of wealth in service of mass government-enforced equality.
This type of talk is as out of touch with reality as it is all-pervasive. And yet the press never even remarks on it at all.
Update: The “take away everything that you have” quote is an allusion to something Gerald Ford said in a joint address to Congress in 1974. Used in the context of a discussion of Obama’s policies and reelection, of course, it takes on whole new meaning.