A Glimmer of Hope

Published December 13, 2012

In 1994, lawyer Philip Howard wrote a book called “The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America.” He was right, and the book got a ton of  favorable publicity—Google the book title and you’ll get 138 million hits.  But nothing really changed. Two things happened in the past few days, however, signifying common sense on the left may be showing a few signs of life. First, lefty columnist Nicholas D. Kristof wrote in the New York Times last week:

This is what poverty sometimes looks like in America: parents here in Appalachian hill country pulling their children out of literacy classes. Moms and dads fear that if kids learn to read, they are less likely to qualify for a monthly check for having an intellectual disability… This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire.

Conservatives have been saying for years that social programs do often create “soul-crushing dependency,” only to be accused of being heartless greedy profit-mongers who want the needy to “die quickly.” But maybe the conservative message—that the safety net sometimes does more harm than good, at least in the long run, is finally starting to get through. AND then!!! Yesterday, sixteen Democratic U.S. senators begged the White House to delay implementation of a 2.9 percent tax on medical devices because it may kill or jeopardize many of the 400,000 jobs in this industry. This tax is in the Obamacare act which all sixteen senators voted for even though its inclusion of the tax was well known at the time. Evidently it’s just now dawning on these senators that the power to tax is the power to destroy jobs. OMG, who knew? Maybe there’s hope for this country after all.