Friday, January 28, 2005

Hyperventilate much? A fisking

When you work at a left-wing echo chamber like the Village Voice, you don’t really need to deign to provide facts to prove a point. Instead, throw out some second-hand quotes and a well-placed sneer at President Smirky McChimp and all your colleagues will shower you with praise. Heck, you don’t even need to run it by the editor. The end product is an article such as “Bush’s unprecedented attack on African-Americans.

For four years Bush didn't meet with the Congressional Black Caucus and paid no heed to African Americans, except, of course, to repeat the Republican mantra of how terribly concerned we all are and how we just want to include you under the big Republican tent. But yesterday, reinvigorated by his election mandate, Bush called the caucus and fed them a line of bull****.
I could go on for pages with quotes from Cynthia McKinney and Maxine Waters about our President, but what’s the point? It’s all Bush’s fault that he hasn’t met the CBC halfway 95%-way. (Also, note that only meeting with the CBC = “paying heed” to African-Americans.)

Arguing that his "reforms," ranging from education to Social Security, will help blacks, he offered an insulting cliché: "Civil rights is a good education. Civil rights is opportunity. Civil rights is home ownership. Civil rights is owning your own business. Civil rights is making sure all aspects of our society are open for everybody." When you get past the rhetoric, Bush's ownership society amounts to an unprecedented attack on black people.
And the “insult” is? Who’s insulted by school vouchers and home ownership? Whatever… let’s gnaw on the bone of this “unprecedented attack.”

Social Security reform that turns over substantial hunks of a person's account to Wall Street, where the vicissitudes of the marketplace can yo-yo it up and down, is little help to anyone, let alone blacks. The only source of retirement for 40 percent of all African Americans is Social Security, according to Melvin Watt, a Democratic rep from North Carolina. Without it, poverty rates among blacks would double.
Employing the Paul Krugman style of hyperbole, we see that a 2% diversion of payroll taxes into personal accounts is “substantial” and that the wild presumption is that Social Security will be dissolved entirely. If Bush wanted to wage war on African-Americans, he would keep them chained to a Ponzi scheme where they pay taxes for a lifetime and (more likely than not) expire before they can collect benefits. At least personal accounts, with all their awful “vicissitudes,” offer the opportunity for real asset accumulation in a transferable account. (See more on this from Don Luskin here and here.)

The American Journal of Public Health reported in December that 886,000 more blacks died between 1991 and 2000 than would have died had equal health care been provided. The health of minorities, many of whom live in poor industrial brownfields, can only get worse if Congress passes Bush's "Clear Skies" clean-air legislation, which promises a 70 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury emissions by 2018.
A 70% reduction in emissions is bad? Here’s where that editor would have come in handy.

Members of the Black Caucus point out that Bush wants to cut Medicaid. "That would be disastrous for my state," said Tennessee congressman Harold E. Ford, Jr. Blacks are particularly hard-hit in rural areas, which face more cuts in social-welfare programs and dwindling access to health care.
Funny, I missed the White House memo promising to cut Medicaid. No matter: let’s plow ahead anyway.

According to Mississippi congressman Bennie Thompson, insurance companies don't want to insure doctors in medically underserved areas. "And when you tie in blacks in [rural] areas, the disparities go off the charts."
Is that true? Is it rural doctors alone or is malpractice insurance rates skyrocketing because of “lottery” settlements? A review of insurance rates for rural doctors would have been useful here, but I suppose we’ll take the word of Mississippi congressman Bennie Thompson of the House Agriculture Committee.

"We've got to shed ourselves of bigotry if we expect to lead by example," Bush said. "And I'll do the very best I can, as president, to make sure the promise—and I believe in the promise of America—is available for everybody."
I love that conclusion, meant to elicit snorts of derision. “Nice try, Bushie!” And there was much eye-rolling in the Voice newsroom.


Dusty said...

One wonders if the owners and employees of the VV have eschewed the vicissitudinous 401k's that can yo-yo up and down and is little help to anyone, let alone people at the VV.

But isn't it great to know that 60% of blacks have some type of individual retirement accounts in addition to SS. Onward, upward ... steady, unstoppable progress, unless, of course the Left gets their way.

Oh, And where has it been stated that people will be forced to take a portion of their SS and create a private account, thereby, reducing a future SS claim at retirement.

Nice fisking, Eric.

Anonymous said...

Altho the overall position of the Voice is well to the left, it is not a total echo chamber. Nat Hentoff is of libertarian temperment, believes in the civil rights he fought for rather than today's identity politics, and has shown other signs of rationality.

triticale - the wheat /rye guy

Eric said...

I'll admit that Nat Hentoff is "the exception that proves the rule." BTW, I read a great book by him called "Free Speech for me, but not for thee." He's got a great libertarian mind.