Unemployment is still high, growth low, deficits huge. States are cutting out everything from streetlights to paving. Public pensions are exploding everywhere.
A class war looms between retirees who want their sweet-heart obligations honored, and strapped, poorer taxpayers who feel about those bloated payouts as they do their underwater mortgages.
What Did You Expect?
In a progressive culture, where ads blare hourly about skipping out on credit card debt, shorting the IRS, and walking away from mortgages, did the public employee unions really think they were exempt from a Chrysler-like renegotiation?
In the age of Obama, there is no real contractual obligation: everything from paying back bondholders to fixing a BP penalty is, well, “negotiable.” When the money runs out, the law will too. Law? There is no law other than a mandated equality of result.
The Talkative Crowd
On the Internet recently appeared the pictures of the JournoList bunch, who at least between themselves gave up their usual pretense that the media was unbiased. With all due respect (confession: I was briefly mentioned by the list as someone that the racist card might work on in connection with the illegal immigration debate), they appear to the eye as a sort of nerdish group.
They remind me of what we used to call the “wimp table” at a pretty tough Selma High around 1970. It was there that the high school’s handful of geeks, toadies, and picked-upon used to eat, under the protective eye of yard-duty teachers. The assumption was that with a few steps further onto the grounds, the entire sorry bunch was fair game for every bully on campus. And that sad outfit filters, disseminates, and arbitrates our news? Most from their writing and appearance seemed either neurotic overachievers or twenty-something bloggers who confuse calling someone something with erudition.
Up Is Down
No wonder aristocratic golf became needed presidential relaxation, the old first lady hysteria over things like Nancy’s china cooled when Michelle hit the Costa del Sol, and Guantanamo became A-OK. The news now for these guys is sort of like writing boilerplate race/class/gender oppression papers for a Yale undergrad gut class.
Populism Is Now Bad?
In contrast, the proverbial people seem angry. A book will have to be written explaining how in 19 months Obama blew a 70% approval rating and is headed for under 40% — something that took Bush six years. A handful of judges nullified what millions voted for in Arizona and California, apparently on the premise that wanting federal immigration law enforced, and seeing marriage as a traditional bond between a man and woman as it has been for 2,500 years in the West, was bigoted, analogous to the racism of the Jim Crow South, and thus in need of judicial intervention.
A guy in Bakersfield might think it prejudicial that a gay judge struck down an amendment to the Constitution passed by a majority of voters and opposed by the gay lobby; a guy in DC would think the guy in Bakersfield prejudicial for coming up with that preposterous conclusion.
Meanwhile, in our postracial age, race is everywhere: Charles Rangel, who won’t follow the tax laws he writes, whines about an “old-English, Anglo-Saxon procedure.” Maxine Waters (under the cloud of insider bank influence peddling) and the Black Caucus (recipient of federalized GM donations) cite racism as the source of their ethical dilemmas (at least Larry Craig did not cite gay-bashing and Duke Cunningham reverse discrimination and Chris Dodd ageism and the late John Murtha girthism).
A mass murderer at a beer distribution center (so much for Van Jones’s assurances that such mayhem was a white thing) is portrayed on the airwaves as an aggrieved victim of racism lashing out. Not a word about the shattered lives of those gunned down and their families. Welcome to the post-racial Obama age — with much more to follow. (Nemesis gives no quarter: once Barack Obama years ago went down the patronize-and-use-Rev.-Wright path, the payback was only a matter of when, not if.)