In Mickey Kaus’s analysis of President Obama’s speech on inequality last week his primary conclusion appears to be there’s a lot less there than meets the eye. Mickey’s solution to social inequality would be social levelers like a universal draft or a universal health care system like the BNH (although he confuses Medicare, a system of insurance, with universal care). He doesn’t miss the great irony of the Obama Administration:
That’s why it’s unfortunate that at every turn the Obamans seem to have opted for a cheaper, more stratified health insurance system–with poor people actually banned from the exchanges like an inferior caste and the less-rich generally relegated to crappier hospitals and crappier doctors–instead of an inclusive, socially equalizing system good enough for both poor and affluent. (Some governors, fortunately, are moving to remove some of Obamacare’s more vicious class divisions by merging Medicaid into the exchanges, which should help … if the exchanges survive.)
That’s been my complaint about the Obama Administration. Every proposed solution is drawn solely from the Democratic congressional caucus’s Box of Approved Solutions. Raise the minimum wage! Even though it would affect only a relatively small number of workers and, at the levels that might tenuously make it through Congress, wouldn’t do much about income inequality and might even reduce the number of minimum wage workers while increasing the size of the black market in labor. Provide more services! Even though somehow, mysteriously that always means paying more to people who are already in the top quintile of income earners, aggravating the problem it’s purported to solve.
The greatest mystery is why income inequality is always looked at from the point of view of those in the top 1% of income earners gazing jealously at the top .1% rather than from the point of view of the bottom 80% looking at the top 20%.
O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!