Obama and Responsibility

A reader writes:

Obama said:

"... by taking mutual responsibility for each other as a society, and also by asking for some more individual responsibility to strengthen our families."

It's a lovely soundbite. But the problem is not that society doesn't take enough responsibility, but that the division of responsibility between society and the individual has lost all balance. And you don't fix a balance problem by adding weight to both sides.

Senator Obama talks like this because he wants more spending and social responsibility and so offers a trade: we'll look for more individual responsibility if you take more social responsibility. It's lot like Bush, who got the idea from Clinton. But his basic motivation leads to statements like this:

"We need to start supporting parents with young children. "

What's with the "start"? I thought that with welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, head start, public education, public housing, etc, we "started" supporting parents a long time ago. Don't get me wrong, there's a place for all of that - but it's a bit much to say we haven't yet "started"  with the support.

I don't want politicians talking about individual responsibility as a marketing strategy for their constituencies' interests. I want them talking about it because they understand it's the source of the problem. Anyone who is talking about equal additional increments of social and individual responsibility is marketing, not solving.