Unfounded accusations of racism over political disputes usually anger me like few other things can, but lately I find myself reacting to them more with yawns than scowls. It’s the law of diminishing returns in action—overdo something, and it ceases to be effective.
Alas, Andrea Mitchell still hasn’t gotten the memo. NewsBusters’ Alex Fitzsimmons reports that the MSNBC host and her Democrat guest see the specter of bigotry behind Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) 2012 budget proposal:
“Representative Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget, released today, includes reforms, what they call reforms, and also big cuts in housing assistance, job training, and food stamps,” warned Mitchell. “All of which would have a very big impact on particularly poor and minority communities, some say.”
Mitchell was mum as Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) bandied ludicrous assertions about the 2012 Republican budget, which would slash spending by nearly $6 trillion over 10 years mostly by reforming unsustainable health care entitlement programs.
“It’s clearly a nervous breakdown on paper and it will do enormous damage, I think, to the vulnerable populations of this country,” predicted the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, who added that the House Budget Chairman’s proposed cuts to non-defense discretionary spending would “devastate the poor,” particularly in America’s racial minority groups.
Citing a concise Jennifer Rubin piece, Fitzsimmons points out that the Ryan plan’s welfare reductions are modest by historical standards, and that it in fact merely “pare[s] back such programs to 2008 levels.” If anything, it sounds like the Ryan plan can be best described as a welcome opening act, but not enough to escape the hole we’ve dug for ourselves. CATO’s Michael Tanner writes that it “cuts spending by $6.2 trillion over the next ten years” yet “still adds $6 trillion to the national debt.”
Whatever the merits or shortcomings may be, crying discrimination about attempts to seriously address the problem are as unserious and irresponsible as they are dishonest and malevolent. Of course the many people who are currently getting money from Uncle Sam would like to keep it coming, but if we can’t afford it, we can’t afford it. Do Mitchell and Cleaver not believe balancing the budget is a necessity? If so, then please, show us where else to come up with the money (and no, “tax the rich” is neither more noble nor more practical). That they instead choose the tired, worn route of casting privileged white Republicans against downtrodden minorities suggests that they simply don’t care. No wonder a whopping 25% of the country has confidence in our media.
Fortunately, this is where leftists collide with the law of diminishing returns. The first few times you allege racism, you’ll turn heads. But new acts of “racism” popping up every day? There are that many outright bigots thriving in government, on TV and radio, and in the newspapers, and enough Americans are okay with it to sustain their careers? That’s harder to swallow. It becomes increasingly obvious that all the label really means is “I hate you and what you stand for.” The more people realize that the accusers don’t take the label seriously, the more they’ll stop taking it seriously, as well. If everything is racist, nothing is.