Monday, July 16, 2007

Undefined Politics

It is truly amazing how politicians throw around words without ever being challenged to define or explain. Instead the media simply goes along and reports what was said, the population accepts what was said without questioning, and nothing ever seems to change because these same people with the same squishy positions keep getting elected by a people who are either too dumb or too lazy to question what is being said.

In recent days the stock market has reached record highs, retail businesses are reporting solid profits, the unemployment is at the lowest point it has been in years, the trade deficit is declining and the economy in general is humming along. Ordinarily this would be a reason for the politicians to gloat and attempt to take credit, but instead we find the liberal establishment shaking their heads in despair as they attempt to put a negative spin on what would ordinarily be signs for cheering.

It seems that among all of this good news the politicians have discovered that instead of cheering over the low unemployment they are concerned about how the “working poor” are not sharing in this general prosperity. But the unasked question is “who precisely are the working poor?” In fact who are the “poor”working or not. These terms are never defined with any precision even when pushed, which is rare. The poverty line in the US is $20,000 for a family of 4 and with this measure the people living in poverty in the US is approximately 37 million. But of course poverty is a relative term and who precisely is included in this figure? The reality is that people in poverty rarely stay there instead they cycle in and out of poverty. But the point is who is “poor?” Again the reality is that in any given year approximately 12% of the population would be regarded as “poor” but then these people are rarely permanently poor but are only poor for a period of time and then move on up the economic ladder. It is also worth noting that these figures include people under 18 years so the number of adults living in poverty or being poor is substantially smaller and even so – none of this defines or explains “the working poor”. After all poor people are not necessarily impoverished and these figures include people under 25 which mean students who rarely work full time, but work at minimum wage.

Furthermore, no profile is ever offered regarding the poor or the working poor. What is there age? How much education do they have? Have they been arrested? How many smoke marijuana or take other drugs? How many of these poor people abuse alcohol? What is the employment record of the average poor person? How many families are in this category and how many in that family are working? Obviously answers to these questions would be very revealing and could easily make the politician claiming that there is a problem and that the minimum wage must be raised look foolish. Any family who cannot find and keep a job paying more than minimum wage has much greater problems that must be addressed if the poverty issue is to be addressed with any hope of success. Still, the politicians cry about the working poor and no one seems to want to look very close at this problem.

So the working poor is a relative term that is very controversial and rarely defined by the politicians who bandy it about. But if the term ‘poor” is not well defined and understood what about “rich”. The liberal establishment is constantly calling for the government to “tax the rich” but they never really define precisely who is rich. The call is always to raise the taxes on the “rich” but in practice the tax changes impact everyone so in effect the "rich" are the employed.

What about “racism”? We have politicians and wannabe politicians like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Julian Bond who accuse anyone with whom they disagree of being “racist” when in fact they seem to be the most racist of all. If race is considered and weighted in terms of blacks – that is good and not racist in their eyes. They justify this on the basis of “leveling the playing field”. However, that level playing field never seems to include competition or merit. If the only thing considered is qualifications and performance that is viewed as racist. Hence affirmative action which is nothing other that racism against whites is viewed as good. Therefore, it an effort to garner the black vote politicians extol the value of affirmative action and spout rhetoric in favor of stamping out racism, when in fact racism has been on the wane for some time.

What is considered racism today is largely an example of class-ism. Turn on any TV channel in any city and you will see black faces reading the news. These are people who got their jobs on the basis of ability – not through affirmative action. What sets them apart from those blacks who are perpetual victims of racism? Perhaps the distinguishing factors are education, speaking proper English, and dressing appropriately. We hear complaints from blacks about racism every time they get into trouble with the law. Perhaps if they obeyed the law they wouldn’t have difficulty with the police. Yet, all of the black leaders maintain their power and influence by perpetuating the idea of racism. So when it comes to politicians a little critical thinking is in order but this must be done at the individual level because the media, academia, and the politicians cannot gather the courage to tell the truth or to be precise.

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