by Star Parker - Syndicated Columnist
Six years ago I wrote a book called Uncle Sam's Plantation. I wrote the
book to tell my own story of what I saw living inside the welfare state
and my own transformation out of it.
I said in that book that indeed there are two Americas -- a poor America
on socialism and a wealthy America on capitalism.
I talked about government programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families (TANF), Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS),
Emergency Assistance to Needy Families with Children (EANF), Section 8
Housing, and Food Stamps.
A vast sea of perhaps well-intentioned government programs, all initially
set into motion in the 1960s by Democrats, that were going to lift the
nation's poor out of poverty.
A benevolent Uncle Sam welcomed mostly poor black Americans onto the
government plantation. Those who accepted the invitation switched
mindsets from "How do I take care of myself?" to "What do I have to do to
stay on the plantation?"
Instead of solving economic problems, government welfare socialism created
monstrous moral and spiritual problems -- the kind of problems that are
inevitable when individuals turn responsibility for their lives over to
The legacy of American socialism is our blighted inner cities,
dysfunctional inner city schools, and broken black families.
Through God's grace, I found my way out. It was then that I understood
what freedom meant and how great this country is.
I had the privilege of working on welfare reform in 1996 which was passed
by a Republican controlled Congress.
I thought we were on the road to moving socialism out of our poor black
communities and replacing it with wealth-producing American capitalism.
But, incredibly, we are now going in the opposite direction.
Instead of poor America on socialism becoming more like rich American on
capitalism, rich America on capitalism is becoming like poor America on
Uncle Sam has welcomed our banks onto the plantation and they have said,
"Thank you, Suh."
Now, instead of thinking about what creative things need to be done to
serve customers, they are thinking about what they have to tell Massah in
order to get their cash.
There is some kind of irony that this is all happening under our first
black president on the 200th anniversary of the birthday of Abraham
Worse, socialism seems to be the element of our new young president. And
maybe even more troubling, our corporate executives seem happy to move
onto the plantation.
In an op-ed on the opinion page of the Washington Post, Mr. Obama is clear
that the goal of his trillion dollar spending plan is much more than short
term economic stimulus.
"This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending -- it's a
strategy for America 's long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as
renewable energy, healthcare, and education."
Perhaps more incredibly, Obama seems to think that government taking over
an economy is a new idea. Or that massive growth in government can take
place "with unprecedented transparency and accountability."
Yes, sir, we heard it from Jimmy Carter when he created the Department of
Energy, the Synfuels Corporation, and the Department of Education.
Or how about the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 -- The War on Poverty --
which President Johnson said "...does not merely expand old programs or
improve what is already being done. It charts a new course. It strikes at
the causes, not just the consequences of poverty.."
Trillions of dollars later, black poverty is the same. But black families
are not, with triple the incidence of single-parent homes and
It's not complicated. Americans can accept Barack Obama's invitation to
move onto the plantation. Or they can choose personal responsibility and
Does anyone really need to think about what the choice should be?
"The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other
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