Sunday, July 12, 2020

Looting The Corpse Of America

America in 2020 is like a man laying face-down in the street in some downtown urban area. Having been repeatedly bashed in the head, America is pretty much already dead but a lot of the vital organs don't realize it yet and are still working to keep the body going. The heart keeps pumping blood, the lungs keep filling with air but the brain is dead and the body will be soon.

Rather than trying to aid or resuscitate America, a lot of people are taking these waning days of the Republic as an opportunity to loot all they can before it falls apart. It is short-sighted but it is easier and more expedient.

The culture-wide looters have been somewhat held in check by the fading rule of law but that is quickly coming to an end. The most acrimonious election in most of our lives is looming on the horizon and you can bet that the media will be in a full court press to suppress voices supporting Trump and that nothing will be off the table for the Left when it comes to cheating on election day. They don't see vote fraud as immoral because they think Trump is an existential threat to humanity. It is sort of like the question of going back in time to shoot baby Hitler. Is it OK to do something immoral to prevent something worse? Since Orange Man Bad is Literally Hitler and his followers are Literally Nazis, cheating to win an election is the lesser of two evils.

While I have been anticipating a Trump loss in his bid for re-election for several years, and it often seems like he is trying to throw the election, the question that has been lurking is what it would look like. We already know that Biden is all in for sweeping gun control measures (a separate post on that is coming) and the Supreme Court is far from a reliable counterweight. What we also know is that Biden is out of touch with reality and that a Biden administration will be run by a cabal of far-left ideologues behind the scenes while Joe signs blank pieces of paper in crayon to keep him busy. No one is even pretending Joe is anything but a confused and demented old man, they don't even want him to debate Trump, but that won't stop people from voting for him to get rid of Orange Man.

An issue that has become front and center, thanks to the ridiculous and misnamed black Lives Matter movement seeing an artificially inflated resurgence as a result of the death of a career criminal with a bad heart who died from being hopped up on drugs, is the push for "reparations". Reparations basically means black people who were never slaves being paid for not being slaves by White people who never owned slaves.

Supposedly blacks are owed a bunch of money from White people because they have been denied "economic opportunity" in America and reparations are a debt collectively owed by all White people and the American people in general. Sure, no one in my family ever owned a single slave and my grandparents on both sides were very poor but I still owe Daquan and Laquishia money because....well just because. And sure, American blacks have almost infinitely greater economic opportunity than blacks do in majority black nations but somehow they are still repressed.

What has often been missing in these "discussions" about reparations are any specifics. A lot of White people would be willing to pay some specific sum to blacks to just get them to shut the hell up. Some, like me, would be happy to pay some sort of significant fee to blacks provided it was only payable to them once they renounced their U.S. citizenship, surrendered their U.S. passport and disembarked from a one-way flight to Africa. In general, the reparations demands are very vague precisely because giving a specific figure would mean taking away a big reason for the complaining and the excuses they make for the anti-social behavior of blacks. The Zman did a funny mock interview on this topic: Interview Of Nikole Hannah-Jones

As I said, reparations talk is mostly just sweeping generalizations and the amount blacks are "owed" is vague and always comes down to "more". A choice example of this comes from creepy Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who has decided to sport a completely bald pate, speaking on the floor of the United States House Of Representatives.



Oh, black Lives Matter is not really about "black lives", it is a "mandate" and it means you gotta "pay us what you owe us". What do we owe you and why? How much? Who knows but I did like the idea that black skin is the "beautiful robe of nation-builders". The obvious question is, why haven't people with black skin actually built any nations? Wakanda doesn't count. I suppose she wouldn't care for that question but it does reinforce the contention that black Lives Matter is just a front for Marxism.

In other areas, blacks are now demanding their fair share of farmland. From far Left Mother Jones:

White People Own 98 Percent of Rural Land. Young Black Farmers Want to Reclaim Their Share.

Their share? How does someone "reclaim" something that was never theirs in the first place? The story starts off with:

Black people have largely been expelled from the US agricultural landscape. In 1920, nearly a million Black farmers worked on 41.4 million acres of land, making up a seventh of farm owners. Today, only about 49,000 of them remain, making up just 1.4 percent of the nation’s farm owners, and tending a scant 4.7 million acres—a nearly 90 percent loss.

Apparently the author of this piece, a guy named Tom Philpott who is the "food and ag correspondent for Mother Jones", hasn't been paying attention to trends in agriculture over the last century. In the early days of the United States, most people were somehow engaged in agriculture, upwards of 90% of the population. The layout of our nation is largely built on the transportation of agricultural products. As the internal combustion engine made it possible to invent tractors, fewer farmers could cultivate an increasing number of acres. Advances in farming technology and the appeal of far easier and better paying jobs in the city have been drawing young people away from agriculture for more than a century. This is one of the most talked about issues in agriculture as the average American farmer is much older than I am and few young people are pursuing agriculture as a career. You would think someone who makes a living writing about food and agriculture would know this.

Today there are very few farmers where we live but there is a lot of farm ground that is worked by a handful of farmers who can do so because of advances in technology. While Amish farmers usually only work 100 acres or less, an "English" farmer can farm thousands of acres. Having fewer farmers in general also means fewer black farmers. This isn't hard to understand. Having fewer farmers with larger farms that benefit from economies of scale also means the cost of entrance into traditional farming has gone up dramatically. Again, this is basic history and economics and it is true for Whites and blacks and everyone else.

Were a lot of blacks sharecroppers? Sure. So were a lot of Whites in those days, including my wife's family way back in the day. Not to mention that in the South, blacks didn't have many options and neither did poor Whites but as people migrated to the northern industrial cities, they suddenly did. Now they could work in a factory 40 hours per week making a decent steady wage instead of farming where you work sunup to sundown. No wonder a lot of blacks and Whites alike fled the farms and moved to the cities.

There is nothing stopping young aspiring blacks from buying farmland, there are already special loan programs for underrepresented groups to get preferential lending from the USDA. A young black wanting to get into agriculture will have a much easier path than a young White person, believe me because we would have done so when we were younger if there had been an economically viable path for us.

That is not what they are demanding. A black woman named Leah Penniman is extensively quoted in the story and her group in Petersburg, N.Y., "Soul Fire Farm" is a specifically racialist agricultural group that is part of a broader movement called the "Northeast Farmers of Color Network" that makes some pretty bold statements:

Members of the Northeast Farmers of Color Network are claiming our sovereignty and calling for reparations of land and resources so that we can grow nourishing food and distribute it in our communities. 

Claiming their "sovereignty"? I am not sure what that means but it sure sounds like black and brown racial separation, something I am absolutely willing to entertain as a concept. But wait, there is more: way down in the piece we get to the heart of what she is demanding. Beyond having gullible White farmers, who probably don't have any kids who want to farm, voluntarily giving up their land to black farmers, she is demanding more:

Penniman said she realizes that such grassroots efforts, relying on the goodwill of white landowners, are just a beginning—not nearly enough to undo the racist legacy of land theft and agricultural-labor exploitation that dates to the origin of white settlement on the continent. Making a significant amount of farmland available to people of color and Native Americans whose ancestors were dispossessed will require a serious reparations program that includes land reform—that is, transferring some territory from wealthy, white landholders and huge investment funds to young farmers of color.

That gets to the heart of the matter. Everything that came before in the article was just window dressing for the liberal White readers of Mother Jones to soften them up for the call for a massive land grab.

"Transferring". That is such a nice way of saying "stealing without fair compensation from White people who own and have worked farmland for generations and giving it to black people". Our neighbor owns hundreds of acres of farm-ground all around us. His dad, a Korean war vet who still lives down the road from us, started the farm and they gradually bought more ground and expanded until today when they have a very large grain and hog operation. No one gave them this land, they worked their butts off for decades to build something but now Leah Penniman is casually saying they should have their land stolen because of stuff that allegedly happened 100 years ago that didn't involve her, my neighbors or any black people alive today.

The thing about farmland is that it only works if you actually farm it. There are lots of black farmers but just displacing White farmers from their land and giving it to blacks isn't going to work. Just ask the people of Rhodesia what happens when you throw experienced farmers off their farms and expect it to magically keep producing. Farming is hard work and you have to know what you are doing or the crops won't grow. It is all well and good to have these little "sustainable" farms where you can sell overpriced vegetables to a handful of guilty Whites but feeding millions of people (who already have access to nutritious, affordable food and choose not to buy it) is more complicated than having a little vegetable plot.

I just can't imagine that in 2020, there are significant numbers of young blacks who want to get into the demanding and uncertain world of agriculture.

One guy at least has the courage of naming a number. Robert Johnson founded BET and came up with a number that he claims will set things right. It is a loopy argument and an enormous figure but at least he gives us a number:

Robert Johnson's Big Idea: $14 trillion in slavery reparations to African-Americans

Under his proposal, an estimated 40 million African-Americans would get $350,000 in direct cash payments over 30 years (costing the average taxpayer roughly $2,900 a year, according to his office). The $350,000 would signify the wealth disparity between African-Americans and white Americans.

That is about $11,600/black person every year for 30 years or about a grand a month. Where the hell did he come up with $14,000,000,000,000? He at least has a working explanation:

It's simple math. If you look at it this way, the median white American family has about $350,000 of personal net worth. African-Americans have about 10 times less than that. So about, let's say, $30,000 of personal net worth of an African-American family. In order to make everything equal. You have to bring African-Americans equal to white Americans.

And the factors that we use to determine net worth are pretty simple. Your home is your most important asset for most middle-class people. African-Americans are way behind white Americans in homeownership. Income, i.e. salaries, are the next factor in wealth. African-Americans fall behind white Americans significantly in income, savings, investments in stocks and bonds, money to put your kids in school. When you take all these factors, you come up with the fact that the disparity of wealth is something that you need to close. So in order to close that -- to bring 40 million African-Americans, up to $350,000 of wealth. Well, you multiply that number -- $350,000 – times 40 million African-American descendants of slaves. You come out with $14 trillion. That money would be paid out over 30 years.

Let me say right away that I spent a couple of decades in financial services so I have seen things like retirement plan balances and bank accounts and loans. The idea that the median White American family has a net worth of $350,000 is ludicrous. He mentions homeownership, which is where he is probably getting the bulk of that $350,000 figure. My home is probably worth around $225,000 in our market, or about $75,000 more than we paid for it a decade ago. Nice increase. But we still owe close to $100,000 on our mortgage, so we don't "own" our home. At best we have $125,000 in theoretical equity in our home and equity is something you can only tap into by borrowing against your home. Something I learned in banking (and common sense):

Your mortgage balance is a liability, not an asset.

Based on what people owe on their mortgages, there is no way that the median White family has a "net worth" of $350,000. Your home is your residence and that is not the same thing as a cash payment. Most people have to wait for many years to see their home equity become substantial and you can't really get to it without going further into debt. What Robert Johnson is proposing is giving cash to blacks to offset the debt that Whites hold. It isn't the same thing, not in any sense. I also am pretty familiar with the average balances in 401k/IRA and personal investment accounts and even adding in home equity that number seems high.

Another other obvious point is that median means half of White people are above this imaginary net worth figure but half are below. We have never had anywhere close to $350,000 in net worth and likely never will. Very few White people do but it sounds like we will all collectively have to make payments to blacks, so in essence you will have poor and working class White families making payments to affluent blacks. Somehow it is justice for a poor White coal miner in West Virginia to be taxed so LeBron James can get an extra thousand bucks a month?

The whole thing is fraught with problems, like people who are recent immigrants from Africa apparently getting paid for something that happened hundreds of years ago and black taxpayers being taxed for "reparations" and then getting their own money back while non-taxpaying blacks just get free cash. The whole thing is just a giant mess and fraught with all sorts of problems but the biggest problem of all is the absolute immorality of punishing people today for things they didn't do and rewarding black people today for something that didn't happen to them.

There are 350 million people in America and we all have different stories. My story is of my father, growing up in poverty in a tiny little house in Toledo with a bunch of siblings and a drunk, abusive father. His family didn't even want him to go to college but he went anyway and then went to medical school and became a family doctor. He built a practice and raised a family, and nowhere along the way was he given any advantages because he was White nor did he do anything to harm or impede any black people. We all have unique stories, some of failure and some of success but mostly just of regular people doing the best they can with what they have.

That is how humanity works but that isn't good enough for the Left. The key to their political power is creating resentment and hatred toward the very people who made this country the envy of the world in the first place and who keep things running even today as our numbers shrink. As a reward, we are on the verge of seeing massive seizure of the wealth we have earned over generations of hard work being taken as booty from the culture wide looters and used to bribe non-White voters.

While millions of us try to hold this country together for just a little longer, the cynics are finding ways to loot what is left of America. The takers are outnumbering the producers and that is a sign of the end of the West.

Don't get caught unprepared when the body finally dies.

2 comments:

  1. When they won't say exactly what they want? They want EVERYTHING.

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    1. That brings to mind the old saying: be careful what you wish for, you just might get it and in this case getting what they want looks a lot like the Rwandan civil war with the addition of tens of millions of descendants of the Aztec and the Incas.

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