We Are Not Greece

A 4-step Self-help program

1) Debt. If we are headed back to the Clinton income tax rates, why will we not then head back to the two years of Clinton surpluses? All that would require is a similar across-the-board freeze on government spending, as we saw in the early 1990s, that in the ensuing two decades has grown exponentially. It is not just that a great deal of the money is often wasted, but is counterproductive in creating a culture of dependence on the lower end, and crony capitalism on the upper. The entire farm bill should be scrapped; Social Security must be radically refashioned; and everything from corporate bailouts to unemployment payouts and food stamps must be drastically reformulated. The solutions do not require a great deal of material sacrifice. No, the problem hinges on how much abuse one can endure to see through the needed reform.

2) Borders. The greatest untruth of the age is that the southern border simply cannot be enforced. It can be very easily through four simple measures, many of them already in play: finish the fence that Obama stopped; fine employers who hire illegal aliens; issue a biometric ID card; and beef up enforcement. Stop the influx, and then deal with the furor over guest workers, amnesty, anchor babies, remittances, etc. We could do that in a year, and within five integration, assimilation, and intermarriage would be back on track; within fifteen years there would be as much need of a National Council of La Raza as there would a National Council of Das Volk, as much an argument for a Chicano-Latino Studies Department as there would be a Swedish-Danish Studies Department.

3) Education. In a multiracial age where everyone is seeking some sort of grievance status—one third African-American, half Mexican-American, a quarter-Korean—and the majority of BA graduates are already women, it is time to drop the race/class/gender affirmative action industry. We need also to return the curriculum to inductive, facts-based inquiry, rather than postmodern relativism. When students are taught the evils of Westernized food among indigenous peoples but can’t identify Valley Forge or the Pantheon, we are in deep trouble. Such changes would be easy if we embraced a few basic reforms: end tenure in the schools, start merit pay across the board, cease affirmative action, impose an exit requirement examination for the granting of the BA degree. I am not talking about an aptitude test or even something like the GRE, just a basic exam that assumes a degree of mastery of facts, English prose, science and math.

4) Tax code. I don’t really have much of a preference for a flat tax, fair tax, or radical simplification of the present mess; all are preferable to what we now have. Something is needed to avoid the billions lost in tax preparation and avoidance, as well as the increasingly warped system in which a smaller and smaller, more and more demonized top bracket is paying the lion's share of the aggregate taxes, while lower brackets are exempt entirely—and increasingly receive credits on April 15. At this point we will resemble 4th-century Athens when courts were consumed either with suits against those with money or mechanisms to extract their hidden wealth for polis entitlements.