The Right View: The best things in life are not free

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Despite the raging pain in my back from a herniated disk, reading support for President Obama’s plan for offering students “free” community college was enough to spring me out of bed and put me in front of my computer for a significant rant.

I am so sick and tired of hearing about all of the freebies Obama wants to hand out that I could scream. And not from the pain in my back.

I’m absolutely done with the idea of government-provided, cradle-to-college everything. Free universal pre-school. Free community college. Free health care. He’s also now taking credit for essentially free gasoline. And remember when the Family Medical Leave Act was passed? How many of you looked at that and said, “Yeah, this is just setting up for paid leave down the road.” Well, it’s here.

According to the Associated Press, “President Obama … will call on Congress, states, and cities to pass measures to allow millions of workers to earn up to a week of paid sick time a year. … He’ll also ask Congress for more than $2 billion in new spending to encourage states to create paid family and medical leave programs. In addition, Obama will take steps to provide federal employees with up to six weeks of paid sick leave to care for a new child. And he’ll propose that Congress pass legislation to give federal workers an additional six weeks of paid parental leave.”

Obama knows that has little chance of passing a Republican-controlled House and Senate. What it does do for him, though, is make him look like the good guy for proposing it, and the Republicans look evil for saying no. Obama wins either way.

With a national debt of $18 trillion and climbing, more than 17 million people unemployed, 23 million government employees, 44 million living in poverty and 46 million on food stamps, we simply do not have the ability to pay for a free life for every American and illegal citizen.

If we have an extra $2 billion lying around that Obama wants to spend on more paid leave, perhaps U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree can propose a bill to reinstate the full hazard pay that Obama removed for every member of the military in the most dangerous areas of the world (which is a whopping $7.50 a day, most people would be horrified to learn). Or perhaps construction of a southern border fortress. Heck, Air Force One operates at a cost of $180,000 an hour; $2 billion would have covered the cost of security and a trip to Paris to stand with other world leaders in the march against terrorism following the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Obama’s priorities are sadly, and dangerously misplaced. While he’s busy trying to create a socialist utopia here in the once United States of America, the world is burning. More and more it doesn’t look like incompetence. It looks like he doesn’t give a damn.

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Julie McDonald-Smith lives in North Yarmouth. She is a registered nurse, former Capitol Hill staffer, and former chairwoman of the Cape Elizabeth Republican Committee. Her column appears every other week.

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