To what purpose, Mr. Boychuk? Specifically, your latest offering in your regularly-scheduled sparring matches with Joel Mathis, sponsored by Scripps Howard and entitled “RedBlueAmerica.” These little tete-a-tetes or sparring matches you have with Mathis are sometimes entertaining, sometimes instructive and probably useful if someone needs a quick primer on what the latest fuss is all about. Often times, though, and never more so apparent than today, game, set and match are determined before you and Mathis even tee off.
You see, in the intro to your debate, which in this case is supposed to be about economic “opportunity”, two premises are set, and you and Mathis are supposed to fight to the death on how to overcome them. The first one, is that unemployment is high. Well, duh. So now that we are in the agreeing to agree mood, the second is that “there is a growing concern about income inequality.” Short pause then while your editors plug a book by a New Republic columnist, Timothy Noah, after which your cohort Joel Mathis sallies forth with his best shots, while you are chomping at the bit, just waiting to tear into the argument when he is finished.
When finally it is your turn, with a “tally ho! here I come”, you let loose with a volley of “Demonizing business and flogging the successful is not cool!” And then…….and then…….showing your sportsmanship and sense of fair play, you ameliorate whatever may come later with this:
For Noah and others on the left side of the political spectrum, the answer to the very real problem of economic inequality is………
And the rest is really not all that important, we think. For you ceded the premise. In fact, you went a step further. Your handlers posited that there is a “growing concern” (OMG!OMG!OMG!) about income inequality and you said “Not only that, guys, (pass the Michelob) but it’s a very…real…problem!”
Returning to the opening parameters, 1. Employment is too high, says everyone and 2. Income inequality is a problem, says Timothy Noah. And the instructions – Mr. Boychuk, deal with it. Parry, thrust. parry, thrust. Reagan was right! Yaaayyy!
And so again, to what purpose, Mr. Boychuk? Why, exposing Noah as a liberal, or Keynesian, or something, we guess. Did you have a good time comparing notes with him at infinitemonkeysblog.com ? That’s swell. And by golly you put it to him on that whole ‘confiscating 100% won’t solve the problem’ bullseye you scored. Wait….what was the problem again…..income inequality, right? No, that’s not it, that was just a premise you felt you had to accept, or the propers to Mr. Noah you felt you had to give, in order to get to your final hurrah – Government is the problem.
Mr. Boychuk, have you ever heard or read this statement: “There is growing concern about global warming.” When you heard that, did you ask “Who is it that’s concerned?” Or did you immediately leap to “Let’s debate who should combat it – government or the private sector.”? Similarly, When the socialists said “We must reform health care and the Republicans shouted “Hear! Hear! Let’s debate how to do it,” did not a bell go off in the recesses of your consciousness?
We ask again, Mr. Boychuk – To what purpose? Is the pressing need of our time to reduce government ……so that there won’t be income inequality? Because that’s the takeaway. Somehow in all the cameraderie, economic opportunity got lost in all the hoopla over the good old liberal meme of ‘disparity’. Game…set…match.
Author’s Note: Ben Boychuk is Associate Editor of City Journal at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, as well as a policy advisor at the Heartland Institute, two very fine non-communist organizations.