I’ve already noted that we’re in for a brutal season of class warfare (“Get Ready for the Politics of Envy”).

The administration will seek to portray those who have been successful and don’t want to have more of their earnings confiscated by the IRS as selfish. The president has gone so far as to say that Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposals “change our social compact in a pretty fundamental way.”

Oon this claim, Daniel Henninger writes in today’s Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Obama has gone to this “millionaires” well so many times since the first days of his presidency that one would have to be obtuse not to recognize a visceral animosity beneath these sentiments.

It suggests that Mr. Obama has not much more understanding beyond an undergraduate seminar on “Class in America” of the complex and unique role wealth has played in American life. Since the Pilgrims, no nation has seen more wealth flow back from those who earned it into the welfare of the nation they inhabit.

Until recently, however, this money flowing back into the welfare of the nation was voluntary charity:

Andrew Carnegie alone built more than 1,600 libraries in the U.S. Today, according to Internal Revenue Service data, there are some 110,000 grant-making private foundations in the U.S. Beyond the foundations bearing the names of famously undertaxed plutocrats such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates there are another hundred thousand or so, often run by modestly wealthy families whose foundations support a vast array of needs-scholarships, schools, hospitals, cultural institutions and even causes across the political spectrum, no doubt including windmills.

Our original social compact was built on hard work and voluntary charity for those in need. But President Obama’s social compact is based on larger government instead of charity. I believe that Paul Ryan’s budget would go a long way towards restoring our social contract by reducing soul-killing government dependency.

What federal government program is as successful as Andrew Carnegie’s libraries? (I mentioned one of them yesterday as a rare example of the still-thriving library, where reading, not providing sleeping space for the homeless, is the order of the day.)

A lot of the next election will revolve around our disparate notions of this nation’s social contract.