This video posits that racism is why voters have supported dismantling government programs meant to help the poor and middle class, leading to unprecedented economic inequality.
I posit that this is true. Politicians do dog whistle when talking about killing or maiming social safety net programs. People don’t cheer about taking money out of their own pockets, but from the pockets of the undeserving “other.”
That doesn’t mean racism is the only reason, or even the main reason, people don’t support many social safety net programs. Just look at the disdain National Review has for white Trump supporters. Their “culture causes poverty” idea is at least consistent across race. The main reason people don’t support government programs meant to help the poor is that they aren’t effective, and even when they’re effective their side effects are often worse than the disease they’re meant to cure.
Similarly, racism is part of why, but not the whole story behind, why voters have not been paying attention to government programs meant to help the rich. They’re so worried about black welfare queens that they’re ignoring corporate welfare, including protectionist regulation, trade protectionism, and other rents.
“What if I told you,” the video begins, “that the solution to economic inequality isn’t economic policy? It’s tackling racism.” Obviously she means that you have to tackle racism before voters will support the right economic policy.
And I agree. You have to tackle racism before voters will support the right economic policy. Of course the right economic policy is welfare that actually works along with economic growth.
What if I told you that the solution to economic growth isn’t economic policy? It’s tackling racism.
The irony of being more worried about Mexican immigrants and welfare queens than crony capitalism is that the former has very little impact on economic growth compared to the latter. If American businesses were free to compete, to grow through innovation rather than strangling their competitors in regulatory red tape, we could easily afford open immigration and a robust social safety net.
Until voters are as concerned about rich, white welfare recipients as poor, black ones, we’ll be fighting each other while the rich get richer off our backs.