Week 20 of the Quarantine
SAN MARTIN, ARGENTINA – Reparations for everybody!
Last month, readers were shocked when we suggested – mischievously – that reparations for Black people may not be such a bad idea.
Today, we give the idea of reparations more of the attention it deserves.
Over the last 30 years, the feds have given trillions to the rich – as much as $30 trillion, by our measure. Just over the last four months, artificially low interest rates, bond buying, and Repo Madness have added about $10 trillion in stock market wealth to the richest part of the U.S. population.
And the latest figures we have – from colleague David Stockman – show fed policies providing 16 times as much loot to the top 1% of the population as to the bottom 90%.
Why not toss a few greasy bones to the poor, too?
Besides, what’s funny money for?
Why not use it to square up with groups of people who have suffered in life? Why not repair the wrongs of the past and the injustices of the present? Why not level the playing field, give every person an even shot at the goal?
But wait… What goal? Happiness? Should we try to make everyone equally happy? Ah, there is a goal as counterfeit as the money itself; as if happiness could be quantified… and doled out like campaign hats or crystal meth.
Perhaps a more realistic goal would be equal wealth. That is a goal more in line with our numbers-obsessed economists… and our simpleton do-gooders.
And it’s an ambition that could plausibly be realized – by just reshuffling the money-deck.
Blacks, for example, say they have been cheated. White people, they say, were dealing from the bottom of the deck. One Maryland politician even goes so far as to say that Blacks should all be entitled to Social Security and disability payments, regardless of any impairment, real or imagined.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the Capital Gazette:
Annapolis’ Del. Shaneka Henson… [proposes] making Social Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance available to African Americans regardless of age, disability or impairment, because, she said, “racial discrimination must be acknowledged for what it is – disabling.”
Let’s see: Blacks earn less money than white people. They die younger. They go to jail more often. They’re more likely to get COVID. They’re more likely to be murdered. They enjoy fewer happy, stable marriages.
We don’t need to ask the source of their impairment. White Privilege? Our colonial/imperial/slavery heritage? Their own choices?
Repairing the Damage
Fixing blame would be “divisive.” So, let us instead focus on repairing the damage – with fake money, of course.
According to the Brookings Institution think tank, the typical Black family has a net worth of $17,000. The typical white family has 10 times as much – $170,000.
So the solution is simple – a “reparations” check of $153,000 per Black family.
But if we’re going to do this seriously, we should correlate the checks to family wealth. Some would get more. Some would get less. And with about 15 million Black families, that would come with a price tag of around $2.2 trillion.
Peanuts! And the problem, if there were one, would be solved. Finally, the taint of white sin would be washed away forever, laundered by the Federal Reserve’s counterfeit money.
Trouble is, many are those who have crosses to bear..
When the cards are dealt out, some get aces… some get nary a pair of deuces. Some are cripples. Some are half-wits. Some are haunted by a mean parent, a youthful indiscretion, or a childhood humiliation.
But since our resources are infinite – thanks to the Fed’s “printing press” – let us, like Simon of Cyrene, take up the burden with a happy heart and righteous purpose… not to mention the self-satisfied air of someone who is generously sharing someone else’s money.
So, who’s next in line?
Things Get Ugly
There’s one group that has gotten an especially unattractive deal: ugly people. Here’s the Daily Mail with the lowdown on “lookism”:
Economist Daniel Hamermesh argues that ugliness is no different from race or a disability, and suggests unattractive people deserve legal protection.
“My research shows being good-looking helps you earn more money, find a higher-earning spouse and even get better deals on mortgages,” he said.
“Logically there’s no less reason to protect the ugly than the disabled, African Americans, other racial minorities or religious minorities, as we do. We could even have affirmative action for the ugly.”
According to the above-mentioned Hamermesh, ugly people earn less money than their more attractive colleagues.
Yes… well… There are some practical issues here. How do we decide who is ugly and who is not? And some people “lose their looks” as they age; others don’t.
And then, how do we know how much compensation is needed to make an ugly person equal to a handsome person?
But that may be the least of the disadvantage. When it comes to marriage, too, the mirror-breakers have less choice. And how to price the difference, say, between waking up each morning with a stark-naked Heidi Klum… or with Chief Justice John Roberts in his Supreme Court robe?
But we’re in world-improvement mode, here. We’re not going to let insurmountable complexities or contradictions stand in our way.
And there’s one group with an almost universal experience with disappointment, setbacks, and under-achievement. It fills the prisons… takes on the worst jobs… earns the least money… and is the butt of jokes, harassment, and discrimination.
We’re talking, of course, about stupid people.
From Business Insider a few years back:
Of course, correlation does not prove causation. But IQ is strongly correlated to educational, professional, economic and social success or failure.
Who wins spelling bees? Who gets into Harvard? Who goes to work at Goldman Sachs? Who creates a new app… goes to IPO a year later… and ends up a 20-something billionaire? Brainy people.
How is that fair?
The leg up you get from being smart is so obvious… and so ubiquitous… it needs to be corrected forthwith.
How could it possibly be fair for one group who, simply because they are favored by the genetic lottery, get nearly all the best things in life? They know how to program their home heating systems… and they know what the hell Wittgenstein was trying to say before he went mad… and how to organize a Zoom call.
The rest of us have no idea.
Yes, of course… like everyone else, the dumb ones can work hard and overcome their handicap. They can get advanced degrees or earn a lot of money – proving that they are not as dumb as they seem.
Or they can disguise their stupidity by becoming a Federal Reserve governor, bamboozling the public with claptrap ideas, and pretending to be smart.
Or, they can take up politics and get elected president (a thick head, like a thick skin, is not just a plus in politics; it’s a job requirement).
Heck, they could even be a columnist for The New York Times and win a Nobel Prize.
Still, we’re not here to encourage initiative or self-improvement. We’re here to palliate with fake money.
And here, too, the disadvantage of dumbness could be treated – but not cured – with printing-press money. Simply give people checks correlated inversely with their I.Q. scores.
Of course, this, too, could create some practical challenges. People might deliberately “act stupid” when taking their IQ tests in order to get more money. That is, smart people might try to game the system – the way they always do.
The solution? Catch a few of them reading Kant… and hang them in public squares as a warning to the others.
But we’re not going to worry too much about the details. Let the smart people figure them out later.
We’re on a moral crusade… This is no time for thinking clearly or deeply. We have a lot of other scores to settle!
We turn next to a group that has always suffered in silence: mute people.
People who cannot speak must suffer terribly. They are surrounded – as we all are – by jackasses with dumbbell ideas. But they can’t even say the “F” word. It must be very frustrating.
Still, we’re going to leave them out of our program, simply because we see no easy financial remedy. And with Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok… they have plenty of opportunity to express themselves.
But what about people who suffer from the “Birth Order Disadvantage?”
From The Huffington Post…
“Kids learn their role in their family,” Dr. Kevin Leman, a psychologist and the author of The Birth Order Book and The First-Born Advantage, told The Huffington Post. “Firstborns are held to a higher standard. As kids come into the birth order, parents loosen up.”
Related to that is the “Late-in-the-year setback”:
A 2011 study of B.C. [British Columbia] students who entered kindergarten in 1995 found that compared to those born in January, kids with December birthdays were 12 to 15 per cent less likely to meet reading and numeracy standards in the elementary grades and 12 per cent less likely to graduate.
And what about the lefties? Left-handed people are more likely to be alcoholics… more likely to have migraines… and they have to live in a world designed for right-handed people.
And how about short people? From theconversation.com:
Spurned by women, more likely to end up in jail, doomed to earn less, destined to languish in poorly paid jobs, plagued by feelings of inferiority and coming up short where coming up matters most, you’d think life had dealt the short straw to short men. And maybe it has.
Brave New World
But don’t worry, runts… middle children… December babies… lefties – there’s help on the way.
Our Reparations-for-Everybody program is sure to be picked up by a major political party.
Then, in this brave new world, where every unhappy circumstance and misfortune is set right by fake money…
…we will all be equally miserable.
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