The Corner

Urgent Questions

I had a further thought about the Janet Daley column, discussed below. She says that the American election campaign “is going to consist of the debate that all Western democratic countries should be engaging in, but which only the United States has the nerve to undertake.” At the beginning of his presidency, Ronald Reagan — appealing for major economic reforms — said, “If not us, who? If not now, when?” He said it often, as I recall. And, oh, did it drive the Left crazy. They mocked him furiously for it.

I remember a cartoon in The New Yorker: It showed a poor man in his bathtub, in some kind of hovel, saying to his wife, “If not us, who? If not now, when?” It was a hilariously drawn cartoon, actually.

At the time, Democrats were saying that Reagan was trying to “balance the budget on the backs of the poor.” That was one of the great and constant sayings of the day: Reagan was “balancing the budget on the backs of the poor.” Of course, Reagan’s reforms lifted up the entire country, and who needed lifting up more than the poor? In any era, who needs lifting up more?

The rich aren’t in great need of prosperity. The rich are doing fine, regardless. It’s the poor who, acutely, need prosperity, the same as sick men need medicine.

Mario Cuomo & Co. always said that Reagan was for the rich, only. Cuomo charged that Reagan couldn’t see the poor “from the veranda of his ranch” — a typical Cuomo line, reeking of falsity and cheapness. It was the record of the 1980s — what actually happened — that convinced me of the correctness of Reagan-style policies and the wrongness of Cuomo-style ones.

Anyway, we might ask, today, If not us, who? If not now, when? Who is going to lift us out of this mess? Obama, Biden, Reid, and Pelosi? Really? If not Romney, Ryan, and their allies, who? And how much more time do we have? Can we muddle through a second Obama term?

In an interview a few years ago, George Shultz told me that his friend Milton Friedman liked to say, paraphrasing Adam Smith, “There’s a lot of ruin in the United States.” True. But not an unlimited amount, we can be sure . . .

 

One more thing: Democrats talk a lot about kindness, compassion, and fairness. They say Republicans like me lack those things. One thing to say, in rebuttal, is: There is nothing kind, compassionate, or fair about financial collapse. Absolutely nothing. You think entitlement reform is cruel? Wait’ll you see collapse.

Been to Greece lately? Seen the formerly well-off people pawing through garbage cans? Real compassionate, lemme tell you . . .

Most Popular

PC Culture

‘White Women’ Becomes a Disparaging Term

Using “white men” as a putdown is no longer extreme enough for the Left. Now it is moving on to doing the same for “white women.” How rapidly this transpired. It was less than two years ago that the approximately 98.7 percent of white women working in media who were openly rooting for Hillary Clinton ... Read More
U.S.

The Media Fell for Elizabeth Warren’s Spin

Do you want to know what media bias looks like? Earlier today, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren released DNA test results that confirmed that she misled employers, students, and the public about her Native American heritage for years. Bizarrely, all too many members of the media treated the results as ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The World Keeps Not Ending

We were not supposed to have made it this far. George Orwell saw night descending on us in 1984. Orwell was, on paper, a radical, but in his heart he was an old-fashioned English liberal. He dreamed of socialism but feared socialists. He feared them because he knew them. I was in the sixth grade in 1984, but I ... Read More
Culture

A Free People Must Be Virtuous

Dear Reader (Even those of you who didn’t seem to notice or care that I failed to file this “news”letter on Friday), So I’m sitting here at Gate C6 at O’Hare waiting for my flight home. I am weary, pressed for time, in desperate need of a shower, and filled with a great sense of dread for the work ... Read More