Monday, March 17, 2014

The Man Who Should Have Been VP

Or better yet, president.

From the editors of National Review :

(Paul) Ryan, in a conversation with Bill Bennett, linked the problem of welfare dependency to the “tailspin of culture in our inner cities, in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.” For speaking of a true thing that must never be said, Ryan was ritually denounced as a racist by such inspiring figures as Representative Barbara Lee. If we assume as Ryan’s critics do that “inner city” is a synonym for “black,” then consider the facts: Unemployment among inner-city men of all races is estimated to run roughly twice the national rate, while unemployment among black inner-city men in cities such as Milwaukee and Detroit has been estimated to exceed 50 percent; 71 percent of working-age white men are in the labor force, but the corresponding number for black men is only 63.6 percent — and going down. New York City manages to graduate barely half of its black male students from high school — and among high-school dropouts, two-thirds reach the age of 26 without ever having held a full-time job lasting at least one year. And perhaps most significant, the vast majority of blacks are born out of wedlock. You could not come up with a more effective system for producing poverty if you tried. If Paul Ryan is a racist for criticizing those conditions, what shall we call the people who run New York City’s public schools or those who govern Detroit — the people who help create those conditions?

This is a familiar situation for conservatives, whose Sisyphean task is to explain to the community at large the difference between the intended results of government programs and the actual results of government programs. Spending more money on Head Start and Medicaid sounds like a very good idea until one confronts the evidence that those programs provide few if any lasting and measurable benefits. A mature mind would understand that it is not only possible but likely that programs intended to benefit the poor will in fact harm them. The unhappy fact is that would-be reformers such as Paul Ryan are sitting not opposite mature-minded opponents but rather a collection of sentimentalists and opportunists; the former cannot understand the law of unintended consequences, while the latter are committed to exploiting the intellectual defects of the former for their own political benefit.

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