Tuesday, May 31, 2016

America’s forgotten poor whites.

Brookings' Carol Graham
"I love the poorly educated."

--Donald Trump

Carol Graham at the liberal Brookings Institution has summarized her research on “Unhappiness in America.” Graham's work contains noteworthy insights:
  •  poor and near-poor whites suffer more from unhappiness, stress, and lack of hope than do traditionally-discriminated-against minorities. 
  • blacks are the most optimistic about their futures (three times more optimistic than poor whites).  
  • Poor whites are 18% more likely to experience stress in the previous day than middle-class whites. 
  • While gaps in achievement and proficiency have widened across income groups, they have narrowed between blacks (and Hispanics) and whites. 
  • The overall black-white wage gap has also narrowed, from 69% of the median wage for white males in 1970 to 75% by 2013. 
  • the life expectancy gap between blacks and whites is down to just 3.4 years -- 75.6 years for blacks and 79 years for whites. 
  • poor and middle-class blacks compare themselves to parents who were worse off, while blue-collar whites face far more job competition than did their parents. 
  • mortality rates from opioid addiction, suicide and other preventable causes are up among uneducated whites, but not among blacks and Hispanics. 
Up against such a stark and clear picture -- big government is advantaging minorities at the expense of poor whites and the whites know it -- Graham then shoves a deliberate diversion in our faces, writing instead about the gap between rich and all poor.

She ends with her prescription; a progressive litany of big government activism designed in her mind to help whites and other poor:
long-term investments in public health and education. . . new forms of social assistance -- and language -- which encourage hope rather than stigmatize poor recipients . . . reducing the distance between the lives of the rich and the poor, so that attaining success . . . is not something that seems forever out of reach for the poor.
Right. Big government, big government, big government.

“Finally,” Graham says:
tracking well-being as a complement to GDP, as many countries are already doing, would provide an important gauge of the happiness and health of our society in the future.
My oh my oh my. Here we have it. Graham and who knows how many of her colleagues quietly giving up on economic growth and GDP measurement of it.

Growth that progressive government can’t seem to provide. Why not then substitute the “Bhutan is #1 ‘Happiness Index’” for the GDP, especially since blacks seem relatively happy with their current state anyway? Graham’s “many countries” pushing the “Happiness Index” are poorer than the U.S., so let’s forget about job creation, forget making America great again, and instead follow the no-growth path to peace, hope, and less stress.

Intentionally or not, Graham’s article helps us understand why poor whites respond well to Trump’s message.

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