In the last few days Barack Obama has attempted to change the subject of public discourse from healthcare to income inequality, which he has dubbed “the defining challenge of our time.”
Now he tells us!
Since POTUS hasn’t paid much attention to this problem for the first five plus years of his administration, even with African-American unemployment through the roof and the middle class disappearing from American economic life, and with Rand Paul (of all people) the only one to come up with a concrete suggestion of how to elevate people out of poverty, as he has recently with Detroit, this should come as some surprise.
But it doesn’t. The fight for “income inequality” is and has been for a long time the defining lie of modern liberalism.
This is not to say that income inequality does not exist. Of course, it does. But what liberalism does is pretend to do something about it, to whine and complain about it, in order to ensure the support of the poor, the semi-poor and minority groups, while doing nothing that changes the substance of their inequality in any permanent way. Indeed, it often exacerbates it.
Consciously or unconsciously, these liberals may actually want the lower classes to remain the lower classes. After all, if they bettered themselves, they might leave the Democratic fold. That wouldn’t do. So the system goes on.
Meanwhile, for all their pious progressive talk, George Soros gets to keep his palazzo in Katonah (among many others), Jeff Katzenberg his beach shack in Malibu, and Obama the beach shack that some say awaits him on Oahu. And we all know about Al Gore’s many eco-friendly homes. (Oops, I think that one’s now Tipper’s house.)
So, on the surface, all this income inequality chatter is nothing more than hypocrisy, that “homage that vice pays to virtue,” as La Rochefoucauld put it. But it’s really worse. It’s cynical and mean because all these so-called liberal solutions to poverty, solutions that have been tried hundreds of times since the Great Society, and probably before, to no avail, suck the energy from the room, befuddle the media and the body politic and make it impossible for other methods to be tried, as with the Rand Paul idea referenced above.
Paul’s approach, the Kentucky senator acknowledges, does not originate with him, but is really Jack Kemp’s old “enterprise zones on steroids.” What Paul proposes is to lower taxes in the city drastically and suspend what many believe are excessive environmental and labor regulations to jump start business. Naturally our friends on the left are appalled. I’d like to be see his idea really be given a chance, to change the atmosphere that has pervaded our culture for decades, creating a climate of bitterness that seems to be growing. One of the worst aspects of the perpetual liberal solution to the inequality problem is that it increases a person’s dependency on government, something that is even worse for the individual emotionally than it is for the society economically.
One of the possible unintended consequences of the Obamacare fiasco is that that public, if not the media, is ready to listen to different approaches. Until they do, until we do, complaints about income inequality will remain what they are, so much liberal blather.