In his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama presented 2,095 words of confounding rhetoric and preachy prose. The president's frequent use of the royal "we" and undercurrent of his belief in the necessity of government — even to perform functions that are best left to individuals and free markets — appear to lay the groundwork for the collectivist assault on liberty and economic sanity that he plans to propose over the next four years.
In order to understand what Obama's words really meant, it's instructive to look deeper into Monday's address and translate his ornate oration into plain speak. Only then can we see just how wrong — and how offensive and out of touch — so many of Obama's proclamations were.
What Obama said: "Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play."
What Obama really meant: "The government imposition of a strict set of rules and regulations is necessary for a free market to work."
Why Obama is wrong: Almost all failures we, as Americans, have ever experienced with the free market have been a direct result of poor government policies that created monopolies, cartels and inefficiencies with production or distribution. Thanks to courts, contracts and the innate honesty and goodness of humans, a true free market is extraordinarily self-policing and effective.
What Obama said: "Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life's worst hazards and misfortune."
What Obama really meant: "It's the government's role to take care of anyone facing hardship -- and if there's not already a program to help everyone suffering with anything, I'll create one."
Why Obama is wrong: No nation or government has ever been necessary to help those in need or the least fortunate in a society. In fact, that notion is a recent — and quite scary — one. For centuries charities, aid societies, churches and caring neighbors have stood ready and willing to provide assistance and services to those in need. Only in the last 80 years has government pushed these altruistic private options aside and forced all people to fund expensive, poorly run and extraordinarily ineffective government schemes to help our fellow man — at the detriment of the private organizations that function much better.
What Obama said: "No single person can train all the math and science teachers we'll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people."
What Obama really meant: "You didn't build that ..."
Why Obama is wrong: Government simply isn't required to achieve remarkable accomplishments. Most of the country's greatest feats have been performed or built by private individuals and companies succeeding in spite of the government -- certainly not because of bureaucracies and central planners. Despite the failure of his stimulus program, Obama still can't seem to grasp that government doesn't create jobs — entrepreneurs do.
What Obama said: "A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun."
What Obama really meant: "Yeah, I'm killing kids with drone strikes all the time, but at least drones are doing the killing and not troops. And yeah, the economy totally stinks, but I can fudge numbers here and there so I don't look like a complete failure as a president."
Why Obama is wrong: At the same time Obama was dancing his way through various inaugural balls, his military and foreign policy advisers were discussing expanding U.S. military support for the French invasion of Mali. The economy is an even bigger fib. The unemployment rate is currently 7.8 percent — the same rate it was in January 2009 when Obama took office.
Millions of Americans are no longer counted as unemployed because they have become so frustrated with their poor job prospects that they have simply stopped looking for work. So, in total, unemployment is actually worse now than when Obama was first inaugurated — and that doesn't even address the economic problems that are likely to result from the $5.8 trillion Obama has added to the national debt.
What Obama said: "We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future."
What Obama really meant: "If you love old people, you'll let me take most of your money to prop up failing entitlement programs."
Why Obama is wrong: As much as Obama wants to pretend that there are only two choices: taking away Social Security and Medicare from America's seniors or shelling out trillions more in taxes, that simply isn't reality. A responsible leader would stop inventing false choices and scare tactics and make rational, responsible improvements to entitlement programs, while cutting wasteful and unnecessary government spending to help make the programs solvent.
What Obama said: "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations."
What Obama really meant: "Allow government to dictate what kind of car you drive, TV you buy and dryer you use. Oh, and we also want to tax and regulate fossil fuel companies out of existence, and institute a carbon tax to raise more money for my nutty programs."
Why Obama is wrong: Patrick J. Michaels, a scientist who serves as director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, points out that "using monthly data measured as the departure from long-term averages, there's been no significant warming trend since the fall of 1996. In other words, we are now in our 17th year of flat temperatures." There is simply no justification for mountains of dangerous, intrusive, socialist-style policies to address climate change.
What Obama said: "For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts."
What Obama really meant: "Look at me ladies! I'm giving you a shout out and pandering to you!"
Why Obama is wrong: Study after study indicates that when a man and a woman with the same education are doing the same work in the same field, the pay gap is less than 5 percent and, in many professions, women actually earn more than men. In fact, men seem to be worse off in our current economy. It turns out that men are currently much more likely to become unemployed — and stay unemployed longer — than women.
When you take the time to read into what Obama was actually saying in his inaugural address, one thing becomes clear: For anyone who believes in liberty, free markets, limited government, personal responsibility and honesty, it's going to be a long four years.