Life At The Bottom
“Poverty used to mean hunger and inadequate clothing to protect you against the elements, as well as long hours of grinding labor to try to make ends meet. But today most of the people living below the official poverty line not only have enough food, but they are also actually slightly more likely than others to be overweight.
Ordinary clothing is so plentiful that young hoodlums fight over designer clothes or fancy sneakers. As for work, there is less of that in lower-income households today than among the affluent. Most of today’s poor have color TV and microwave ovens. Poverty in the old physical sense is nowhere near as widespread as it once was.
Yet life at the bottom is no picnic—and is too often a nightmare. A recently published book titled Life at the Bottom paints a brilliantly insightful, but very painful, picture of the underclass—its emptiness, agonies, violence and moral squalor. This book is about a British underclass neighborhood where its author, Theodore Dalrymple, works as a doctor. That may in fact make its message easier for many Americans to understand and accept.
Most of the people that Dalrymple writes about are white, so it may be possible at last to take an honest look at the causes and consequences of an underclass lifestyle, without fear of being called “racist.” The people who are doing the same socially destructive and self-destructive things that are being done in underclass neighborhoods in the United States cannot claim that it is because their ancestors were enslaved or because they face racial discrimination.
Once those cop-outs are out of the way, maybe we can face reality and even talk sense about how things became such a mess and such a horror. As an emergency room physician, Theodore Dalrymple treats youngsters who have been beaten up so badly that they require medical attention—because they tried to do well in school. When that happens in American ghettos, the victims have been accused of “acting white” by trying to get an education. On the other side of the Atlantic, both the victims and the hoodlums are white.”
— The Thomas Sowell Reader by Thomas Sowell
More Green Blackouts Ahead
Your betters know what is best for you
You’d think the Texas blackouts would trigger some soul-searching about the vulnerability of America’s electrical grid. Not in today’s hothouse of climate politics. The Biden Administration is already moving to stop an examination of grid vulnerability to promote unreliable renewable energy sources.
Regulators have been warning for years that the grid is becoming shakier as cheap natural gas and heavily subsidized renewables replace steady coal and nuclear baseload power. “The nation’s power grid will be stressed in ways never before experienced” due to “an unprecedented resource-mix change,” the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) warned in 2011.
It added: “Environmental regulations are shown to be the number one risk to reliability over the next one to five years.” But the Obama Federal Energy Regulatory Commission(FERC) refused to consider how climate policies would affect reliability. Since 2011 about 90 gigawatts (GW) of coal capacity have shut down, replaced by some 120 GW of wind and solar and 60 GW of gas power capacity.
Covid ‘Relief’ Through 2028
Schools are getting billions they can spend over nearly a decade.
About half of the 1.8 trillion will be spent on anything remotely related to Covid.
Perhaps you’ve heard that the $1.9 trillion House spending bill is meant to provide “urgent” and “emergency” relief. But did you know that the Covid emergency in America’s schools will apparently last through 2028?
The House proposal showers K-12 schools with nearly $129 billion. That’s on top of the $13.2 billion allocated in last spring’s Cares Act and the $54.3 billion in December’s bipartisan splurge. According to the Congressional Budget Office, schools have spent only a fraction of that previous $67.5 billion. It’s hard to spend money when schools aren’t open for classroom instruction since unions have resisted returning to work in much of the country.
Because of this leftover cash, CBO estimates that a mere $6.4 billion of the new aid package will be spent for K-12 schools in the 2021 fiscal year. That’s right—only $6 billion of $129 billion will be spent during the pandemic emergency.
CBO estimates that $32.1 billion will be spent in fiscal 2022 on K-12 schools, $32.1 billion in 2023, $25.7 billion in 2024, $19.3 billion in 2025, $9 billion in 2026, $2.6 billion in 2027, and $1.3 billion in 2028.
In other words, this isn’t about Covid relief. School districts can spend the funds on a wide range of options—from sanitizing classrooms to “continuing to employ existing staff of the local educational agency”—and the money is fungible. This means that, after the pandemic eases perhaps as soon as this year, school districts are likely to use the money to pad their bureaucracies and teacher payrolls. One of the bill’s few limitations is that local educational agencies must spend 20% of their funds to address “learning loss” with interventions such as summer school or extended-day programs. This would require more money for teacher pay or additional hiring for union dues-paying positions.
You can bet many districts will also use the money for pensions and higher salaries. The bill is essentially a nearly decade-long subsidy for the unions that supported Joe Biden.