“Obama Money”: Don’t Look a Gift President in the Mouth


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President Obama’s championing of stimulus money caused a stir in Detroit and New York. Photo Credit: The White House

Shortly after President Barack Obama’s surprisingly resounding re-election just over three weeks ago, a desultory Mitt Romney didn’t mince words when it came to what he believed was the reason for his loss — “gifts.”

Speaking to a group of influential donors, Romney said, “The president’s campaign, if you will, focused on giving targeted groups a big gift. He made a big effort on small things.”

He subsequently enumerated what Obama allegedly gave his base and potential swing voters: free health care ‘in perpetuity’, partial forgiveness of college loan interest, the ability for a college student to remain on their parents’ health care plan until age 26, and free contraception for young women via Obamacare.

Romney also cited a proposed amnesty for the children of illegal immigrants as a cause célèbre that motivated Hispanic voters.

Romney’s rationalization has already been debated ad nauseam, with staunch positions taken on both sides. Some argued the Romney/Ryan tax cuts for the wealthy were the Republicans’ versions of “gifts.”

Others agreed with the vanquished candidate’s characterization, calling ours an “entitlement” society. A third group believed all elections contain express or implied promises of benefits for their constituencies, regardless of party or partisan politics. However, as a result of stimulus and other financial actions taken over the past four years, one buzz word harkening to managed economies has been bandied about as a significant pejorative following the automaker bailouts, repeated extension of unemployment benefits, Obamacare, tax credits and other varying stimulus programs: redistribution. The more colloquial phrase that has emerged in recent years is “Obama money.”

“Obama money” Etymology

In October, 2009, tens of thousands of people lined up in Detroit, Michigan, eager for a piece of a $15.2 million federal grant designed to save homeowners from foreclosure. Seven months ago, thousands more lined up in New York, once again looking for free stimulus money. In that instance, however, it was on a lark, as there was no grant being offered.

The following Glenn Beck report discusses the “Obama money” fervor that has hit some parts of the country since various economic stimulus programs were enacted, starting in 2009:

It’s clear that at least some of the population believes there is such a thing as “Obama money,” defined as free cash to help people survive the economic headwinds facing them. In the clip above, one woman confessed she was in line to get free money, leading to this exchange:

Host: What kind of money?

Woman: Obama money.

Host: Where’s it come from?

Woman: Obama.

Host: And where did Obama get it?

Woman: I don’t know. His stash? I don’t know. I don’t know where he got it from but he’s giving it to us to help us. We love him. That’s why we voted for him. Obama! Obama!

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