What Liberals Want

I considered several openings for this piece:

  • Will liberals ever get beyond race?
  • Do liberals really want to get beyond race?
  • What do liberals really want?
  • Are liberals aware they disfavor equal treatment and favor preferential treatment?

What I settled on is this: government is the opiate of the elites.

In support of my opening, please make a cerebral bookmark of this snippet from Kay Hymowitz (City Journal) in 2005:

1. entrenched, multigenerational poverty is largely black; and 2. it is intricately intertwined with the collapse of the nuclear family in the inner city.

The real focus of this post is a recent Bob Herbert piece. Herbert starts with a conclusion (an implicit it’s racism) derived from the piece’s title (The Destruction of Black Wealth) and then tries to back in some evidence for support.

Herbert takes an interesting topic, addresses it haphazardly, morphs it into something else, and along the way, never stops to ask pertinent questions or to consider the potentially detrimental economic consequences of (for example) the social policies of the government welfare state.

After some backstory to humanize his topic, here’s Herbert’s opening salvo:

Not nearly enough attention has been paid to the damage that the continuing Great Recession has done to black Americans.

Bob, first, how much attention would be appropriate (besides more, I mean)? Second, have you considered the implications that such attention might bring President Obama during this run up to the November elections? Think about the team, man!

The next topic is wealth inequality:

The Pew Research Center reported last summer that the median wealth of white households in the wake of the recession was an astonishing 20 times that of black households.

Bob, are there any underlying reasons why this wealth disparity exists? (Other than it’s racism, of course?) Could the results be adjusted for, oh say, education or family composition? And even more, is it possible, as Hymowitz pointed out, that multiple generations, perhaps living in perpetual poverty under the umbrella of welfare state benevolence, has actually worsened these undesirable wealth distribution outcomes?

Herbert offers more observations without questions.

The black unemployment rate at the end of last year was close to 16 percent, comparable to the average national unemployment rate during some years of the Great Depression. But even 16 percent does not begin to capture the horror of unemployment in black America. The hardest of the hard-core unemployed are not even included in the official government statistics.

These statistics are indeed flawed and understate unemployment, but again, are there any factors that could explain high (or chronic) unemployment? A person’s education? Their work history and work ethic? The presence or absence of reliable transportation? Living in places where the economy is regressing and where there are few jobs to begin with?

Herbert thinks things are moving backwards for blacks:

More than a quarter of all black Americans are poor, as are more than a third of all black children. Doors of economic opportunity—in the workforce, in access to higher education, and elsewhere—are slamming shut at a breathtaking rate.

What in the name of Winning the Future is Herbert talking about here? Where and how are doors of economic opportunity being slammed shut, and what exactly (or even approximately, to include some evidence) is the breathtaking rate being referenced?

But the big question to ponder is why does the destruction of the black family go untouched by Herbert when even eHow knows the benefits of living in an intact family are myriad.

Yes, poverty closes doors while prosperity opens them. But Bob, is it possible that anything other than racism cause poverty? Are there poor in Russia, China, India, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, or in Eastern Europe? And what about the government endorsed addiction to the welfare state?

And what about black businesses?

For black businesses, already chronically undercapitalized, the one-two punch was often fatal…

…Black-owned auto dealerships have taken a terrible hit. By mid-2011, according to Automotive News, there were just 261 black-owned dealerships in the U.S., half as many as three years earlier. White-owned dealerships suffered a decline of 18 percent over the same period.

Hmm. Outside of having black-owned dealerships who are limited to selling Chevy Volts, is it possible Herbert has addressed his own issue here? That black-owned auto dealerships have taken a terrible hit because they were more poorly capitalized than white-owned dealers? Then the issue becomes why are they poorly capitalized to begin with?

And while we’re at it, how are Asian or Hispanic or other minority-owned businesses making out during these trying times? Just, you know, as a data point, to address the looming it’s racism thing?

There is also the continuing problem of racial discrimination. Studies have consistently shown that black-owned firms experience higher rates of loan denial and pay interest at higher rates than white-owned businesses, even after credit worthiness and other factors are taken into account.

He took a round-about way but finally got to the continuing problem, where at the end of the day (in the eyes of the liberal elite), studies have consistently shown the problem is racism.

Again, is it instead possible the issue of black non-wealth can be traced back to a real root cause? Like maybe the unintended (I’m assuming…maybe we should FOIA the Johnson Library) consequences of the benevolent government welfare state?

Here’s more on Bob, this time, from Wikipedia:

Herbert left The New York Times on March 25, 2011 with his last column titled, “Losing Our Way.”

Losing Our Way. That’s a great title for Herbert’s conclusion (emphasis added):

It is futile to view the desperate struggle of African American businesses outside the context of two overwhelming imperatives: the obligation of the United States to figure out how to put its population to work in jobs that will support families and sustain a world-class economy; and the parallel obligation, perpetually avoided, to bring black Americans and all of their talent and energy fully into the fold of the wider society.

So, as you may have already guessed, Herbert makes it the government’s obligation to solve inadequate levels of black wealth. While you could argue Herbert doesn’t explicitly say it’s the government’s job, given the context of his writing, I feel that’s his intent. Also, who else but the government could coerce the population to do the things Herbert wants?

Sadly (for Herbert), such a recommendation ignores the fact government cannot create wealth. It also ignores the historical record, where governments—others, not so much ours… yet—have a pretty poor record of accomplishment when they own and control the means of production.

So here we are at the end: have I strengthened or weakened my hypothesis that government is the opiate of the elites?

About Professor Mockumental

I enjoy almost all forms of parody, buffoonery, and general high-jinks. Satire has shown itself to be an essential societal need; I therefore humbly offer my services in such a manner. I enjoy mocking the usual suspects at the New York Times (Charles Blows, Moron Dowd, and the earth is flat guy) and Washington Post (Dana Milkbag, E.D. Dijon, and David Ignoramus). There are many others as well, but sadly, there are always too many targets and too little time.

Posted on March 12, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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