Some Signs of the Times
4. Getting Along. On matters racial, there remains just the old, fossilized thinking. The institutionalized slur of racism will offset needed discussion of the statistical evidence of higher rates of African-American illegitimacy, poverty, drug use, fatherless families, and incarceration; a quite large African-American elite, mostly in government service or federal employment, will be the self-appointed spokesperson for the problems of the black community, and negotiate with white upscale liberals over the conditions of federal redress. Obama’s intimate relationship with the racist Rev. Wright in his mansion, and the pass he was given by his supporters for such a creepy relationship, is emblematic of this nexus. In such a bargain, the affluent are granted exemption from white guilt and allowed to live their rather segregated lives of tony neighborhoods, college-prep schools for their kids, and apartheid private social lives—all with the sense of revolutionary progressive fervor, by reason of loud protestations of symbolic racial solidarity and a willingness to deem racist any who catch on. We can only hope that the African-American community can develop an entrepreneurial class on the model of many first-generation immigrant communities, since such activity frees the individual from government reliance and instills a sense of optimism in self-reliance.
5. The Mother Polis. It matters little that the public senses the emergency room, the DMV, the County Recorder’s office, and the district IRS center are all government-run bureaucracies that they seek to avoid, not due to illiberalism, and anti-government hysteria, but because in such places one can very easily lose an entire day, receive no instruction or help, and feel insulted in the process for daring to enter the front door. Most feel that they are not a model for anything, but may well end up being such for government-run health care or cap-and-trade auditors. The defense of larger government organizations in our lives is never that they are efficient, well run, or monitored, but simply that the greed and selfishness of Wall Street and the private sector are worse than the incompetence, waste, and petty corruption of government. In this “they do it too” argument, why worry about the DMV when there is Lehman Brothers? Rather than defend an ideology of statism, the retort is increasingly “Bush was worse.” End of discussion.
Hillary—Obama felt putting Hillary at State would ice potential political challenges, punitively rein in Bill’s extravagant overseas income, and tie her to his policies even as she was roped down by regional czars. But she may well like hiding from the messes of health-care (remember Hillarycare?), apology tour, cap and trade, and other fiascos—until reemerging, after her chrysalis stage, unscathed if Obama hits 40% approval.
Europe—cf. Sarkozy’s exasperation—is getting what it dreamed of, and now finds Obama out-Europeanizing Europe. That cannot be, since they counted on our power and leadership to allow them to play their multilateral good cop to our unilateral bad one.
Taxes—the deficit is so large, that all sorts of taxes are coming. FICA tax caps will go, rates will climb on income tax, and still it will not be enough. Some sort of sales tax or value added tax, on top of rising state income taxes, is coming—at precisely the time the stimulus waste reminds us that thousands of taxpayers' first five months of work this year were simply given away or squandered as part of a $2 trillion deficit. Many voted for Obama thinking they would either not be taxed but receive more largess, or that they would not be taxed too much; I think both groups will soon discover the truth.