Over the past few months, I’ve heard some conservatives make the claim that President Obama’s policies are distinctly anti-white and that his agenda involves benefiting blacks at the expense of whites or the rich. I’ve also heard some liberals make the claim that Obama’s policies will benefit blacks or benefit the poor, but that these policies would not really be at the expense of whites or the rich. While I respectfully disagree with both views, I understand that in a free society everyone has the right to express their views — so I’ll get around to expressing my own in a minute.
I realize that both views rest on the assumption that the intentions of government policies will closely resemble the outcomes of those policies. From the point of view of some conservatives, there is a perceived intention within Obama’s policies to hurt whites at the expense of blacks. From the point of view of some liberals, there is a perceived intention within Obama’s policies to help blacks or to help the poor. This is not to say that blacks and the poor are one and the same, but to say that these are both groups which overwhelmingly see Democrats as a group that is committed to supporting policies that are beneficial to these constituents. As far as intentions go, I would have to agree with liberals on this issue. I would find it very hard to believe that the majority of Americans would vote a President into office in the 21st century that harbors racist feelings, and I do not believe anyone could convince me that President Obama is a racist.
However, I disagree with the assumption that the intentions of government policies will generally closely resemble the actual outcomes of those policies. In particular, many of the policies pushed by Democrats with the intention of helping their constituents actually do a great deal of harm to the very same constituents.
This is not to say that Obama secretly wants to do harm to his constituents. I believe that he genuinely wishes to do good things for his constituents, but that a lack of thought and foresight has led to a gap between the intentions of policies and the actual outcomes of those policies. Policies which I’ve noticed do a great deal of harm to either the African American community or to the poor include increases in the minimum wage (which disproportionately impacts both of these groups), affirmative action (which institutionalizes feelings of racism and reinforces unjustified stereotypes of incompetence towards minorities), excessive housing and banking regulation (which can push the poor out of wealthier parts of the country – areas which they could otherwise afford to live in), a refusal to permit school vouchers (which forces parents living in poor areas to send their children to schools which the parents have no choice or control over), excessive business regulations (which make it difficult for entrepreneurs who are not wealthy or well connected to get started), and the excessive use of the welfare state (which imposes an extremely high marginal tax rate on the poor, sometimes close to 100% and is the equivalent of an extremely regressive tax system).
I realize that I am taking a risk by exercising my freedom of speech and offending a lot of people by expressing my views that policies supported by President Obama are very harmful to African Americans and the poor. Nonetheless, I feel that what liberals do to the people they are supposed to be helping is actually extremely harmful to those very people. It is an even greater misfortune that so many Americans do not see that the consequences of policies are oftentimes very different from the intentions of policies.Published in