Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Edwards Chasing a Chimera

John Edwards has released his plan to end poverty. Don Surber (via Instapundit) thinks Edwards's plan rehashes stuff that has already been tried. I would agree with that, but the real problem with Edwards plan is that we have already ended poverty in the US. Real poverty that is, just not relative poverty. We don't have poverty in the US, we have income inequality. Whether we ought to use government to abate income inequality is another debate and good people can disagree, but that doesn't change the fact that Edwards is chasing a phantom, he's reading from a playbook that was valid in the 1930s but isn't any longer. It is like vowing to end commercial whaling.

I think he thinks this way because he lives in a cocoon. Notice that the other Democratic Party candidates, while they have similar idealogical bents and overlap on alot of policy views, are avoiding this core message. They are not flogging poverty as some big issue. Hillary, for instance, understands that while the nation may bristle at CEO pay or oil company profits (unjustifiably in my opinion) it does not follow that poverty exists. Her populism is not rooted in a structural indictment of America, made clear by the existence of poverty, but rather in a preference for rejiggering how our system allocates resources.


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