One of the most offensive political ads I have ever seen is the one with the man pushing an elderly woman in a wheelchair over a cliff. It is intended to depict the Ryan plan on medicare as pushing old folks over a cliff. I wish the republicans would counter with an ad showing the democrats pushing the country over a cliff. The difficulty with the Ryan plan is that is something new and requires the public to be educated and rational in its decision-making. Thus it has very long odds before it. That we are intellectually lazy comes as no surprise to an ex-professor constantly exasperated by students who will not take two seconds to Google what they do not know. No matter that the Ryan plan does not apply to those 55 and older, the dems will argue that it pushes over the cliff those under 55. No matter that it tackles the main threat to our economic prosperity – the $38 trillion hole that medicare puts us in if remaining unchecked. Instead of the democrats proposing how they would solve the problem, instead they gleefully attack the Ryan plan – using Newt Gingrich’s words on “right wing social engineering”. But what is right wing engineering is actually pointing the federal government in the direction of the market – a radical (to some) idea that is perceived to impose ill on the masses. It may seem curious that one of the basic foundations of America – the market – is being assailed. However, it is consistent with the left’s notion of “fair”. It is asserted that the market is not fair – denying those who “need” stuff who are lacking in resources. It is somehow “fairer” to have those decisions made by the state, which of course imposes the tastes and preferences of those in the government upon. What is “fair” about that? The left assumes that people left to their own devices make poor choices – that is choices different than the leftist critic looking down his nose. What people do is to make choices based on their own tastes and preferences and income constraints. So if a person chooses to buy wine instead of milk, to eat at McDonald’s instead of at Whole Foods, then the market is somehow at fault and should be replaced by the nanny state. Given all this, it made perfectly good sense to me that Goodwin Liu, the leftist Berkeley law professor who was denied a place on the federal bench by a republican filibuster has written that free enterprise, private property and limited government are code words “for an ideological agenda hostile to environmental, workplace and consumer protections”. Huh? Say that again? It makes perfectly good sense to deny a federal judgeship to any person who believes the very foundations of this country are somehow antithetical human well-being. Although professors have little impact and reach beyond the few who already believe what they believe, putting them in positions like the federal bench where they can inflict real damage on society is another matter. The real question is why in the world was he nominated in the first place?
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com