John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

Focus on the Underclass, Not the Upper Class

Posted on January 23, 2013

Reflecting his political upbringing, Barack Obama spends an inordinate amount of his time worrying about how the rich are getting richer.

He practices envy politics.  The poor are poor not because of their own pathologies, but because the rich are getting richer.

It’s all bullshit.  The rich get rich, by and large, by making smart investments, by going to school and getting a good education, by keeping their families together, by not getting addicted to drugs or alcohol, or by having a parent who did all of those things and who passed the wealth down.

The poor stay poor because they make dumb investments (spending money they don't have on things they don't need), they drop out of school, they have kids out of wedlock, they get addicted to drugs or alcohol, and they usually have a parent who passes on all of those bad habits.

Barack Obama has focused almost exclusively on the rich getting richer.  He has ignored completely what often makes the poor poorer.

Obama spent his early political years as a community organizer, so he knows how poverty happens in the big city.   It is the same poverty that infects rural America.

People don’t get jobs if they can’t keep jobs.  They can’t seize opportunities if they don’t understand what they are.  They can’t get the most out of education if their parents are addicted to crack or meth or crank or pot or booze.

Single motherhood is probably the greatest predictor if a child is going to end up poor.  Single motherhood doesn’t work as a social experiment.   The government should figure out a way to discourage it from happening.

A kid can’t learn in school if he or she is worried about the gang-banger down the street.   The President has said nothing about fighting crime in crime-ridden neighborhoods.  He has said nothing about the killing spree that has infected his hometown.   Nothing.  It is stunning.

The President talks a lot about education reform and many of his ideas are good ones.  But the biggest problem facing our schools is not the teachers.  The biggest problem facing our worst schools is the students and what the students learn from their parents (or in most cases, parent).   This is not a resource problem.  This is a habits problem.

Obesity is not the biggest problem facing America.  It is a symptom of the biggest problem facing America, which is the passing down of bad habits.

Obama likes to talk about how the rich are screwing America, and how they need to be punished with higher taxes.  There are some bad actors in the upper classes, some rip-off artists, some scammers, some greedy S.O.B.’s.  But rich people, by and large, got rich because they did it the right way.

There are some poor people who have bad luck.  But most have bad habits.  And we need to teach them good habits if we want them to advance to the middle class.