President Obama is taking a “measured approach” to issues of race, according to Steven Mufson of the Washington Post. Mufson is right only in this limited sense: Obama is measuring just how much money he can transfer from white Americans to black Americans.
Income redistribution is the unifying theme of Obama’s domestic agenda (the unifying theme of his overseas agenda is American retreat with major concessions to our enemies). Obamacare is basically an income redistribution program. The Medicaid expansion provides free health care to non-poor, relatively low-income Americans, a disproportionately large share of whom are black.
Those a bit higher up the income scale, another disproportionately black cohort, are granted subsidized health care. Funds for the subsidies are obtained by forcing more prosperous Americans, a disproportionately white population, to buy insurance plans that are more expensive than what they require.
As Mufson reminds us, Obama himself once touted health care reform as redistributionist. In The Audacity of Hope, he wrote that health-care reform “would do more to eliminate health disparities between whites and minorities than any race-specific programs we might design.”
We’ll see whether “health disparities” — i.e., differences in outcomes — are reduced appreciably by Obamacare. But there’s no doubt that resources are being redistributed from whites to blacks.
Before Obamacare, there was the Stimulus. Michelle Obama has conceded its redistributionist nature. Jonathan Alter wrote in The Promise:
A congressman approached the first lady at a White House reception after the [stimulus] bill’s passage and told her the stimulus was the best anti-poverty bill in a generation. Her reaction was “Shhhh!” The White House didn’t want the public thinking that Obama had achieved long-sought public policy objectives under the guise of merely stimulating the economy, even though that’s exactly what had happened.
Since 2011, Obama hasn’t been in a position to pass redistributionist legislation. But he still can write redistributionist regulations. For years, his administration has been planning to redistribute resources from suburbs — disproportionately white — to cities and inner suburbs — disproportionately lack. Stanley Kurtz has described how Obama would like to accomplish this.
The fruit of this audacious agenda item will be a proposed rule on “affirmatively furthering fair housing” (AFFH), which is expected to issue within the next few months. I’ve written about this rule here.
It’s not surprising that transferring money from whites to blacks is at the core of Obama’s agenda. This was, after all, Martin Luther King’s final mission, as Mufson points out. And, as with any good socialist, it has been Obama’s mission since his days as a left-wing “community organizer” and before.
But there is nothing truly “measured” about robbing Peter to pay Paul, even if Peter is white and Paul is black.