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“Social Justice”, Identity Politics And The Stimulus Package
Written By : McQ
January 12, 2009

I would put this under the category “they just can’t help themselves”. On yesterday’s podcast I briefly talked about this Robert Reich blog post that pertains to the stimulus package being contemplated by the incoming Obama administration.

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In this case it isn’t about the cost or the necessity (or lack thereof) – I think anyone who reads this blog even semi-regularly understands my feelings about both. It is, instead, about the ingrained ideological propensity liberals have toward using every opportunity presented to enact their “social justice” agenda. Reich is no exception.

He begins his argument by pointing out that the Obama stimulus package should provide “lots of new jobs and investments in the nation’s future productivity.”

Of course some of the jobs he highlights – infrastructure repair – have little to do with ‘future productivity’ except in a rather indirect sense. And the green jobs he touts are, to this point, are based on vaporware. But that’s not the really objectionable part of his argument. Read the following carefully:

But if there aren’t enough skilled professionals to do the jobs involving new technologies, the stimulus will just increase the wages of the professionals who already have the right skills rather than generate many new jobs in these fields. And if construction jobs go mainly to white males who already dominate the construction trades, many people who need jobs the most — women, minorities, and the poor and long-term unemployed — will be shut out.

Most would argue the purpose of a stimulus package is to stimulate the economy quickly by providing funds for infrastructure repair. But to the “social justice” crowd, it has another purpose altogether. It is an opportunity to ensure jobs go to their favored demographics – the one’s who rarely benefit from their programs but, for whatever reason, help keep them in power.

Reich’s argument is that these jobs shouldn’t necessarily go to the best prepared with the best skills to accomplish such work efficiently and quickly (but happen to be the wrong color and sex), but to the unskilled who “need” them more (and happen to be the right color and sex).

Yes, that’s right – good old identity politics.

Reich, like Rahm Emanuel, views this crisis as a golden opportunity to enact the agenda liberals have wanted to enact for decades but could never sell in normal times. So given these perfect circumstances to push his social justice agenda, Reich proposes the following:

I’d suggest that all contracts entered into with stimulus funds require contractors to provide at least 20 percent of jobs to the long-term unemployed and to people with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. And at least 2 percent of project funds should be allocated to such training. In addition, advantage should be taken of buildings trades apprenticeships — wich [sic] must be fully available to women and minorities.

I would hazard a guess that this is just the first of many such proposals which will further deepen the government’s controlling reach into the economy. And unlike the past, they’re much more likely to be favorably received. Of course the problem is these types of encroachments never go away. Naturally the economy, with their addition, becomes incrementally less and less free. Unfortunately, I look for a lot more of these in the next few years.

[Crossposted at QandO]

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