Look Both Ways

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“Look both ways when you cross the street,” is an admonishment often heard. So today we shall look to the right in case any of our readers feel we have focused too much on the left. In today’s (April 21) Wall Street Journal I have extracted from an article by Jon A. Shields and Joshua M. Dunn Sr.  the following quote which seems highly apropos. Mr Shields is an associate professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. Mr. Dunn is an associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. They are authors of “Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University” (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Some professors suggested that there are compensating benefits to being out of place. For one, it’s easier to make innovative contributions. “I really do feel sorry for your absolutely conventional liberal scholar,” a political scientist told us. He imagined that it must be difficult to discover something new from “within the framework of their thinking.” Another made the point by posing a rhetorical question: “I mean, how many ways can you talk about inequality?” Other conservatives appreciated being held to a higher standard. “You can’t be lazy. You can’t—you’re not going to be cut any slack,” a philosopher said. “I think that’s a real advantage insofar as it makes the work better.”

Well spoken, professors. We shall take this to heart as we continue our investigation of wealth distribution in America today.

In the same issue of the Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger asks “why are young liberals asking for ‘change’?”

What, exactly, is Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or even Bernie Sanders supposed to deliver that an infinity of politicians and public officials before them haven’t already delivered?

If change has any concrete meaning for Sen. Sanders’s supporters, it must have something to do with what the government or public sector does.

However imperfect, the federal budget embodies what the U.S. government is.

First the numbers. The 2015 federal budget spent about $3.8 trillion, or 21% of the U.S. economy. Year in and year out, that $3 trillion to $4 trillion underwrites programs.

As listed at federalsafetynet.com, the programs delivering welfare include: the negative income tax, SNAP (supplemental nutrition), housing assistance, SSI, Pell Grants, TANF (temporary assistance for needy families), child nutrition, Head Start, job training programs, WIC (food for women and children), child care and Liheap (energy subsidies).

Entitlement programs include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance and the Affordable Care Act.

Education: A website called CollegeScholarships.org lists “Grants from the U.S. Government: Free Money from Uncle Sam.”

Why are 25-year-old liberals crying out for “change,” if you are spending $4 trillion every year on all this stuff? There’s hardly anything significant left to deliver, other than results, so maybe something is wrong with the delivery system.

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Enough said. Our adopted task grows harder. What will it take to effect the needed change? Perhaps  a partial answer can be found in the essay “Why Giving Back Isn’t Enough” by Derek Walker, President of the Ford Foundation (posted February 1).

 

 

 

 

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