The most onerous burden we are all bearing right now is massive government debt. This essay addresses the most likely reasons for our financial crisis, but first we need to defang unsupported accusations of unfairness and prejudice, like the rich are too affluent and greedy, and as a result the hard-working poor are too needy.
But the reason for differences in affluence, education, and social classes, is something that has always existed in almost every known human society. The list of inequities for the groups seeking “justice” is long, and supposedly caused by irredeemable faults like racism, classism, and just plain selfishness, all now attached to the image of middle-class and more prosperous Americans.
Minorities, soon to be majorities, continually claim we are blocking their success by downplaying their abilities and merit, and contrary opinions are actually condemned as “hate speech.” Yet too much legislation, originally aimed at lowering any possible barriers to the education of minorities and providing equal job opportunities, has become instead a program of preferences that just tilts the playing field in the opposite direction, victimizing American students and workers, and bringing sky-high expenses that are bankrupting the country.
The easy entrance of people from everywhere has, over time, made Hispanics, for example, a key swing vote to be reckoned with and therefore accommodated. The costs to Americans of benefits for immigrants, as well as to the native-born poor, have wreaked havoc on America’s financial situation and required the levying of exorbitant taxes.
For example, the largest portion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s budget now consists of food subsidies, not farm subsidies, which cost taxpayers $79 billion at the last count in 2009, according to the Cato Institute. “The largest food subsidy programs are food stamps, the school breakfast and lunch programs: and the woman, infants and children (WIC) program. The federal government as a whole has about 26 food and nutrition programs operated by six different agencies.” In discussing the downside for Americans, in addition to taxes, Cato says these farm policies also increase commodity prices, like milk, and harm the lower-income families the program is trying to help.
Those who shout victimization for themselves because of their ethnicity or illegal presence have maximum approval from the self-interested, open-borders crowd. However, minorities are more misused by their advocates and defenders, who also pay very low wages whenever they can, to illegals and “people of color” who work for them. But that fact in no way tamps down the illusion that minorities are unfairly treated, not by employers, but by Middle American bigots, who actually work and pay taxes. So let’s have a more honest look at who is being victimized and by whom.
Right now the arguments of social justice mavens and the cheap labor crowd have been vastly out-gunned, by brand new regulations they actually love, and were brought into being by another new Presidential directive. On August 7, John Hinderaker of the Power Line website points out how Obama has continued to change established law once more and again, all on his own. He has effectively erased a condition for those seeking U.S. citizenship. It is the former requirement that the applicant has little likelihood of becoming a public charge. This action closes any possible remaining gap in America’s current fully “open doors” policy.
But as a practical matter, The Power Line website points out, that the DHS and the State Department currently excludes as an impediment to citizenship, an applicant’s reliance on almost all of the 80 federal government welfare programs. Now, supposedly you could only be ineligible if you also received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). But considering the overall dismal misapplication of already established restrictions already, there is likely no impediment at all now to citizenship, based on whether you are able to support yourself without government help or not.
Dropping another reason for exclusion makes citizenship even easier, and puts more of a burden on American taxpayers. We have had reason to wonder for decades whether there is any enforcement of immigration laws at all, or if in fact we do everything possible to disobey the old rules that remain. After Obama’s latest Directive, four Republican Senators wrote to Janet Napolitano and Hilary Clinton, that “your agencies specifically prevent consular officials from considering the likelihood that an alien could become a public charge, just because they receive food stamps, Medicare, child care benefits, foster care, energy assistance, educational aid, and other medical and health benefits, and help from at least fifteen different nutritional programs.” This complaint has not yet been acknowledged or answered.
But the Obama administration, according to the authors of this August report, says “you and your family can apply for and receive food stamps (snap benefits) without hurting your chances of becoming a U.S. Citizen.” So what then does being a “public charge” actually mean, if anything?
So that is how illegal aliens are actually treated by the federal government, which, it was ruled, are fully in charge of policy on this issue. Well, the taxes of Americans that were spent on illegal aliens have gone from $0.9 billion in 2005 to 7.4 billion in 2012, according to the Inspector General for Tax Administration at the Deptartment of the Treasury. He also declared that the Obama administration pays billions of dollars in Child Tax Credits to illegal aliens alone. Yet it is the legal American workers of every color and class, who provide all the benefits they receive.
Claimed victimization of non-citizens has fooled Americans an uncountable number of times, by appealing to our best nature and also our guilt for having a modicum of comfort that has mostly been earned. The same can be said for the equal outcomes lobby that deals with education and work opportunities. That’s because it is claimed that white skin color shouts unearned privilege and preferences that must be relinquished for the always ephemeral “social justice” goal.
But to be harsh about it, Americans have no one to blame but themselves, causing them to suffer from murder and gang violence, and for putting millions of English non-speakers and the marginally illiterate into our classrooms at very great extra expense. We have huge populations in prison for brutal crimes connected with Hispanic gangs, the illegal narcotics trade, and a large fake document industry. The overall non-federal costs have never been calculated accurately because they are too big and spread out over hundreds of programs, both public and private.
Much of the fault is the purposely
incompetent government monitoring agencies that have no idea or may even
mention such maneuvers like widespread welfare “triple dipping.” Why not
collect disability payments and food stamps, while you continue working? No one
will check, because you’re paid “under the table.” All of this is so big; it’s
completely unmanageable and undoubtedly organized that way to avoid
So, Americans have been “taken to the cleaners” over and over again, complicit in giving away American jobs, while billions of dollars are sent out of the country, as we go broke. So considering all of this as an example of, “when will we ever learn,” we could try to get a folk-singing trio like “Peter, Paul, and Mary” on our side.
American or not, we live in a fantasyland and need to pull back the curtains on our unfortunate generosity, which has become more grandiose with the passing of time. We actually believe we can move mountains and change human nature and human endowments. To that end we have tried to accomplish equal outcomes in education and acceptance for jobs, taking on another misguided menu of social engineering.
The popular mantra is that being too successful can only be a function of special privilege, so whites are now held to a different standard than blacks and Hispanics for college admission and for jobs. Asians, who are likely on average to have higher intelligence than all of the above, and whether it is because of nurture or nature, that doesn’t matter, because they are subject to a restriction on the numbers of Asians admitted to top universities. The Gods on high have declared that some number of Asians is just too many. This is not a leveling of the “playing field,” but a new misguided “Yellow Peril” quota in action.
While no group deserves “Back of the Bus” treatment because of skin color or ethnicity, neither should we attempt to enforce “equality of outcomes” in education, affluence, and hiring. But it still looks like we are always victimizing some group, including ourselves, because of differences in culture or skin color.
And excuse the reference to “intelligence,” since the educational gurus have determined this is aphantom characteristic that cannot and should not be measured. So, if you don’t like the results of a test, you just question whether what’s being measured actually exists. Preferences, it is claimed, will erase any evidence of differences, which are simply a product of prejudice anyway. So do all of these maneuvers lead to “social justice,” or to victimization of some group over others? Since the illusive drive to achieve equal outcomes is impossible to attain, someone has to be a victim.
No matter their dependency on taxpayer largesse, the government has encouraged a changing America, when it comes to dependency, with millions on the dole. It is akin to a forced marriage arranged by the folks who represent us, while welfare in every shape and form causes expenses to mount astronomically. With the help of the government, the voice of minorities (soon to be majorities), have accomplished a tilt in power away from Middle Americans. And whether those who represent us actually agree with the direction we have taken or not, they still have to contend with the minority “swing vote” that can make it possible for them to retain their power.
As I was finishing breakfast and reading the August 17, 2012, Wall Street Journal, I came upon an article in the Arts Section about the plight of the Detroit Institute of Arts, which “just came within an inch of closing.” I know this magnificent gem of a place well, from my years in Ann Arbor, when Detroit was a prosperous and wonderful city, before drowning in a sea of destruction and poverty.
Many of the things the Institute of Arts did to stay alive are a lesson to all of us, besieged by all of the same problems on a much larger scale. Governments as well as other museums can learn how this valuable institution insisted on the changes that would keep it “alive.” The most important new policies that made it viable again were, “don’t ask the public for more money unless you can prove you’re not wasting the money you’re already getting,” and, “every program that remains, must keep proving its worth to contributors on a regular basis.” As a result, the museum can say “we have a shot at longtime survival.”
So take heed, America, stop your ever-increasing spending. It’s election time soon, and the U.S. debt is about $16 trillion and growing. U.S. federal spending annually is about $3.5 trillion, and the annual deficit is about $1.2 trillion more than income. Consider the wasteland that is now Detroit. Be very afraid of how America can end. ■
For more information on the U.S. Debt, visit the U.S. Debt Clock.