The Ghetto-ification of America

But whatever happens to Europe, it’s fair to say America is a different place. The United States isn’t dotted with Swiss cantons. Americans share a common character but aren’t a common race, like the Germans or the French. Americans aren’t a postmodern people drawing to a genteel end. The fading but quaint middlebrow communities in Europe aren’t going to be replicated here. No sidewalk cafes and cute bistros and charming cobblestone streets full of Europe’s bored but contented Mohicans.

A statist-induced fall for America’s middle- and working-class communities is more likely to resemble the seediest commercial strips you can imagine, where a new c-store merits a ribbon cutting. Ambitious Americans will still seek a way out from the suffocation of higher taxes and red tape, but in Mr. Obama’s America, there won’t be anywhere to escape, unless it’s into an underground economy.

Government-run health care and government takeovers of the automotive and financial industries are merely the opening bell in forcing America toward ghetto-light. The president has his sights set on detonating two other huge capitalism- and wealth-busting bombs: immigration reform and cap and trade.

Expect the president and the Democrats to commence humping the compassion angle to make illegals legal shortly. The real point of fast-tracking citizenship for ten million-plus illegals has nothing to do with heart-tugging concern; it has everything to do with votes. Legalized illegals are leftist voters. Nanny state blandishments are the Democrats’ lure. The extra costs to pay off these future voters, of course, will be borne by taxpayers.

Cap and trade, in some respects, is the companion measure to the Democrats’ health care grab. It finishes what government health care can’t finish: the effective takeover of the economy. Cap and trade is nothing more than an array of new confiscatory taxes (in the guise of consumer costs) and regulations aimed at radically changing consumer behavior and concentrating more economic and financial power in Washington. Cap and trade is guaranteed to add crippling costs to virtually everything produced in the United States. Business and industry may absorb some of the costs in an attempt to stay competitive, but by necessity the lion's share of the burden will be passed on to consumers.

Americans, especially middle-income earners, are going to be socked by Mr. Obama’s Brave New Big Government, primarily in their paychecks. Less take-home pay for Americans is bound to hurt the businesses -- mostly small -- that are the lifeblood of communities, especially in middle- and working-class communities.

As we’ve seen in the Northeast and Midwest, government direction and spending is no substitute for people voluntarily spending their money in free exchanges that make communities vital. And as Arthur Laffer has amply demonstrated over the years, and as most everybody but liberals appreciate, high tax rates -- and indirect taxes through government-imposed higher costs -- don’t make for increased government revenues. Government simply isn’t going to have the revenues to soften its blows. And government can’t borrow forever, either.

What big government has done to the nation’s inner cities and poor blacks is nothing short of a moral crime. Unless the Democrats are stopped, a lesser though damaging crime will be committed against every other community. Ghetto-light may be your neighborhood all too soon.