A look back at what might have been....
The American Spectator posted last week a classic article from its October 1984 print issue (all there was in those days), by social scientist extraordinaire Charles Murray, titled "The Fairness Delusion."
Murray casts "fairness" in a different light, asking if modest financial stipends given the poor were worth the social consequences of the associated policies (now well documented, then seen by a few seers like Murray): rampant teen crime, drug use, one-parent unmarrieds, prisons masquerading as schools. He further asks if the well-meaning middle- and upper-class progressives would have accepted these pathologies in their own neighborhoods, in return for even vastly greater financial stipends. Murray answers in the negative, as surely most progressives--and non-progressives, for that matter--would answer.
And what, Murray asks, might have been, had destructive social policies not been adopted?
Add to Murray's point this gem of a column from George Will, as to college students & loan entitlements. Will drily notes that the students getting subsidized loans can easily pay back their debt, given the near-doubling of prospective income that a mere undergraduate college degree confers in the economic marketplace:
The average annual income of high school graduates with no college is $41,288; for college graduates with just a bachelor’s degree it is $71,552. So the one-year difference ($30,264) is more than the average total indebtedness of the two-thirds of students who borrow ($25,250).
Taxpayers, most of whom are not college graduates (the unemployment rate for high school graduates with no college education: 7.9 percent), will pay $6 billion a year to make it slightly easier for some fortunate students to acquire college degrees (the unemployment rate for college graduates: 4 percent).
Between now and July, the two parties will pretend that it is a matter of high principle how the government should pretend to “pay for” the $6 billion while borrowing $1 trillion this year. But bipartisanship will have been served by putting another entitlement on a path to immortality.
So what do our best & brightest want, besides subsidized loans they don't need? Try this:
Campaigning recently at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., Romney warned students about their burden from the national debt, but when he took questions, the first questioner had something else on her peculiar mind: “So you’re all for like, ‘Yay, freedom,’ and all this stuff and ‘Yay, like, pursuit of happiness.’ You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.”
Welcome to 21st century civics! For her, there is advice from Bret Stephens to the class of 2012: learn something useful.
But perhaps the ultimate symbol of how dysfunctional governance has become during the Obama years is the Senate rejecting 99-0 Team Obama's FY 2013 budget last week, the House having done the same by 414-0 earlier this year. No administration has compiled this record--failing to get a single supporting vote in either House on the central responsibility of very administration, that of producing a viable budget--before. Skillful GOP parliamentary maneuvers forced a vote that Democrats did not wish to take.
Bottom Line. Liberal policies towards the poor have in many respects turned out like Shakespeare's Othello towards the fair Desdemona (set here in a purely political context), they loved the poor not wisely, but too well. And liberal policies towards students--eagerly embraced by Republicans as well--and given us a new class of semi-literate charity cases.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Economy, Conservative Politics