Hebert Gets It Right for the Wrong Reasons

Bob Hebert's column in the New York Times demands a response, so here it is:
Maybe the economic stress has been too much. Looking back at the past few months, it’s fair to wonder if the country isn’t going through a nervous breakdown.

The political debate has been poisoned by birthers, deathers and wackos who smile proudly while carrying signs comparing the president to the Nazis.
I am no friend of birthers and deathers, but actually the political debate has been poisoned by those who denigrate ordinary Americans who showed up at town halls to question Obamacare and who participate in tea parties protesting excessive government and spending. Can you say Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid?
People who don’t even know that Medicare is a government program have been trying to instruct us on the best ways to reform health care.
This statement is right out of the Democratic party's talking points on Obamacare. It carries the implicit and false assumption that folks who oppose Obamacare are OK with Medicare. Mr. Hebert never questions this false assumption.
The administration’s most popular anti-recession initiative was a startlingly creative economic breakthrough known as the cash-for-clunkers program.
Creative, yes. Good idea, no. Cash for clunkers seemed a good idea to those who fail to understand free market economics (that is, economics as it actually works as opposed to Marxism which is economics as certain people think it should be, but isn't.)
Over the weekend (presumably while the president was sleeping, because this occurred in the wee hours of the morning), White House officials whispered the official announcement that Van Jones would no longer be working in the administration.

The White House wishes it had never heard of Mr. Jones, who was hired to be its point person on green jobs. It turns out that Mr. Jones had used a nasty anatomical slur to refer to Republicans and once signed a petition suggesting that George W. Bush had advance knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mr. Hebert apparently gets his facts from the New York Times which utterly failed to report the controversy. Mr. Hebert either ignores or is ignorant of Mr. Jones's self-avowed Communism, his statements about using the green jobs as a stepping stone to doing away with capitalism, his statements that whites are systematically poisoning non-whites and that American companies are dumping toxins on illegal immigrants working in the fields. All beliefs wacky enough to justify dumping him.
There is no end to the craziness. The entire Republican Party has decided that it is in favor of absolutely nothing.
I am no fan of the Republican party these days, but but when too much bad stuff is being shoved down your throat and you have no voting power, the best you can do is oppose the bad stuff.
The president’s stimulus package? No way. Health care reform? Forget about it.
Please forget about it. It is a VERY BAD idea, as I have consistently chronicled.
There is not a thing you can come up with that the G.O.P. is for. Sunshine in the morning? Harry Reid could’t persuade a single Senate Republican to vote yes.

Incredibly, the party’s poll numbers are going up.
Incredible? Only to someone who only gets his news from the Times and liberal press.
We need therapy. President Obama is planning to address the nation’s public school students today, urging them to work hard and stay in school. The folks who bray at the moon are outraged. Some of the caterwauling on the right has likened Mr. Obama to Chairman Mao (and, yes, Hitler), and a fair number of parents have bought into the imbecilic notion that this is an effort at socialist or Communist indoctrination.

As one father from Texas put it: “I don’t want our schools turned over to some socialist movement.”
I think the President should be capable of talking to our children, but opposition to it is symptomatic of the deep distrust of him now rising in America. Also, please note that when George H.W. Bush spoke to schoolchildren, the Democratic Congress held hearings over the "issue." This sort of concern is nothing new.
The wackiness is increasing, not diminishing, and it has a great potential for destruction. There is a real need for people who know better to speak out in a concerted effort to curb the appeal of the apostles of the absurd.
Clearly we will disagree about who should be speaking out.
But there is another type of disturbing behavior, coming from our political leaders and the public at large, that is also symptomatic of a society at loose ends. We seem unable to face up to many of the hard truths confronting the U.S. as we approach the end of the first decade of the 21st century.

The Obama administration’s biggest domestic priority is health care reform. But the biggest issue confronting ordinary Americans right now — the biggest by far — is the devastatingly weak employment environment. Politicians talk about it, but aggressive job-creation efforts are not part of the policy mix.

Nearly 15 million Americans are unemployed, according to official statistics. The real numbers are far worse. The unemployment rate for black Americans is a back-breaking 15.1 percent.

Five million people have been unemployed for more than six months, and the consensus is that even when the recession ends, the employment landscape will remain dismal. A full recovery in employment will take years. With jobless recoveries becoming the norm, there is a real question as to whether the U.S. economy is capable of providing sufficient employment for all who want and need to work.

This is an overwhelming crisis that is not being met with anything like the urgency required.
Here Mr. Hebert makes one-half of a good point. Why is Obamamcare the first priority when we are in an economic crisis -- and we could not possibly pay for Obamacare anyway. Mr. Hebert, as so many who have not studied economics and economic history, goes off the mark with what needs to be done about unemployment.

Here is a novel idea. Instead of taxing employer for having employees, thus discouraging their hiring, why not give tax breaks for employing people? Instead of subjecting employers to Draconian penalties for firing the inefficient (via the civil rights act and the like), why not give employers a reprieve? The Civil Rights Act creates greater unemployment among minorities, because it scares employers out of hiring minorities, in my opinion. They would never admit it, though, for fear of getting sued.
We’ve also been unable or unwilling to face the hard truths about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the terrible toll they are taking on our young fighting men and women. Most of us don’t want to know. Moreover, we’ve put the costs of these wars on a credit card, without so much as a second thought about what that does to our long-term budget deficits or how it undermines much-needed initiatives here at home.
This assumes that we have not need to stop Muslim terrorist group from trying to kill us.
There are many other issues that we remain in deep denial about. It’s not just the bad economy that has thrown state and local budgets into turmoil from coast to coast. It’s our refusal to provide the tax revenues needed to pay for essential public services. Exhibit A is California, which is now a basket case.
California is a basket case for many reasons, not the least of which is that it funds too many non-essential government services that have made people dependent upon them.
The serious wackos, the obsessive-compulsive absurdists, may be beyond therapy.
He refers here to readers of the New York Times I presume?
But the rest of us could use some serious adult counseling. We’ve forgotten many of the fundamentals: how to live within our means, the benefits of shared sacrifice, the responsibilities that go with citizenship, the importance of a well-rounded education and tolerance.
It is weird. As you can tell I agree with almost nothing else in his opinion piece, but I agree with this. Serious wackos like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Cass Sustein, Mark Lloyd, Mary Jo Kilroy, and Sherrod Brown all need serious therapy.
The first step, of course, is to recognize that we have a problem.
I am glad Mr. Hebert recognizes he has a problem, but he is obviously clueless about what it is. Maybe therapy would help.


Funeral Guy said…
Great post. Really liked your analysis.

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