Tag: Pew Research Center

Guess who the collectivist policies of our first black president have hurt the most?

Or is he really the second black president, since Bill Clinton already laid claim to that whole “first black president” meme? Heck, I have even heard several African Americans make the claim that Obama wasn’t a genuine black man anyway with that “honkey” mother of his. But that’s not the point of this post, this sad bit of news is:

The unemployment situation across America is bad, no doubt. But for African-Americans in some cities, this is not the great recession. It’s the Great Depression. Take Charlotte, N.C., for example. It is a jewel of the “new South.” The largest financial center outside of New York City, it’s the showcase for next year’s Democratic National Convention. It was a land of hope and opportunity for many blacks with a four-year college degree or higher.

According to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, in Charlotte, N.C., the unemployment rate for African-Americans is 19.2 percent. If you add in people who have given up looking for jobs, that number exceeds 20 percent, which, according to economists Algernon Austin and William Darity, has effectively mired blacks in a depression. “You’re looking at a community that is economically depressed in my opinion,” Austin said. “And we need action that will address that scale of joblessness.”

And while this piece then even brings up issues of race while discussing this effect on the African American workforce – of all things by comparing how frequently black criminals are called back for a second interview compared to white criminals, which I simply can not fathom as an indicator of anything other than a warning not to be a criminal if you want to hold a decent job – the fact remains that the massive economic downturn that these leftists & their policies & priorities have assured will be around for a long while still, are behind the abysmal job situation, impacting middleclass blacks the worst.

Less jobs, as the reference to the Pew Research Center pointing out does, currently means that black middleclass households are the ones losing their accumulated wealth and assets, as a percentage of overall worth, the fastest.

The recession – or depression — in the black community is rapidly eroding the black middle class. At its convention in Boston this week, the National Urban League released a troubling report on that topic. It found that the recession has virtually wiped out all of the economic gains blacks made in the past 30 years.

And a new report from the Pew Research Center drives home just how bad things are out there. It found that in 2005, the average net worth for white households was $134, 992. For black households, it was $12,124. (That’s not a typo.) In 2009, the number dropped to $113,149 for whites and a paltry $5,700 for blacks.

In the mean time the first black president and the democrats are busy focusing on growing big government and expanding the amount of private sector money they can get their hands on and control at the cost of everything else. It’s not like the middleclass black community will have a choice. Now that they are poorer, they are going to need government handouts even more, so it’s a win-win for team Obama. I hope that wasn’t the plan from the start. I wonder when MSNBC will talk about this issue. Maybe the African American caucus in congress can enlighten us….

Pew and the Two Bucket Problem

A few days ago, Scott Adams posted this. He was discussing the current debate over whether torture resulted in the killing of OBL (current answer: reply hazy, try again). Alan Dershowitz was offering an intermediate view: torture may work; but it’s still unnecessary and wrong and we shouldn’t do it.

But the interesting part of the post was not the torture issue. It was that Dershowitz’s answer seemed to puzzle the interviewer — was he for torture or against it? Adams had this to say:

My hypothesis is that we humans automatically sort topics into two opposing viewpoints, or buckets. In the rare cases when we encounter a third opinion, we can’t easily process it because our brains don’t have a third bucket.

I came up with the two-bucket hypothesis by observing how some people react to this blog. When I float an idea that doesn’t fit into one of the two standard buckets for a given topic, people assume I am an enemy from the other bucket and post comments to that effect. Notice how often the commenters here argue against what I write as if my posts must be supporting one of the two existing buckets. That’s the two-bucket phenomenon in action.

I would say that Adams’ point is more accurate if it is narrowed to our political and media class. Most ordinary people know that opinions can fall in the middle of a variety of issues. But our media thrives on false dichotomies. They much prefer commentators shouting “you hate America!” than “well, you have a point, but…”

A perfect example of this is the recent political typology quiz from the Pew Research Center. Good quizzes on politics will have options like “mostly agree” “strongly agree” “somewhat agree” “don’t give a shit” or “who are you and get the fuck out of my house”. Pew, however divided issues into two and only two opinions and you have to choose one or the other to find out which political tribe you belong to.

As many have observed, however, most opinion will fall somewhere in the middle. Question 7, for example, asks you to choose either “Most people who want to get ahead can make it if they’re willing to work hard” or “hard work and determination are no guarantee of success for most people”. I picked option 1. But option 2, if you changed it to “many” or “some” would be viable as well. As Alex posted below, our public schools are in such terrible shape that millions of kids are denied any real opportunity at success. And the government has a crushing influence on the free market — whether favoring unions or doing favors for powerful businesses or handing out subsidies or passing regulations that crush small businesses like the CPSIA. And to the extent that I think option 2 is right, it strengthens my support for conservative positions like re-regulation, school choice and free markets.

Question 8 says either “religion is very important to me” or “religion is not that important to me”. I guarantee you that tens of millions, like me, would fall into the “religion is somewhat important to me”. We’re not all either atheists or fundamentalists.

Question 9 asks you to either say blacks can’t get ahead because they don’t try or that the country is racist. Question 10 posts that you can only choose diplomacy or military strength to ensure peace, as if you can’t use both. On question 13 — I believe that government regulation usually does more harm than good; but I also believe it’s sometimes a necessary evil. On question 15 — I think relying on military force to deal with terrorism is sometimes wise, sometimes dumb. Depends on the situation.

Question 18 asks about corporate profits, as if it’s any of government’s business how much profit businesses make. Question 19 — whether homosexuality should be accepted or discouraged by society — is very poorly phrased. I don’t think society’s attitude toward gays is important politically, even if government were capable of changing it. I simply think our government should treat them equally. Live and let live. And let society come to tolerance on its own.

To be honest — and maybe I’m reaching here — there seems to be a bit of a bias against conservative positions. That is, conservative positions on issues are phrased the way liberals think conservatives think rather than the way conservatives actually think. They’re almost caricatures of conservative opinion. Take question 9:

Blacks who can’t get ahead in this country are mostly responsible for their own condition.

Very few conservatives believe this. If you were to ask a conservative (note to Pew: you may have to go outside to find some), most would say it’s a combination of failing government programs, the collapse of the family, the drug problem and yes, some personal responsibility.

Or this:

Immigrants today are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care

There are some conservatives who believe this. Others would qualify the above with “some” or “illegal”. Others would say the above is irrelevant — it’s the flouting of the law they dislike. And still others, like me, would say that’s mostly untrue but has little relevance for immigration policy.

Pew seems to be having a two-bucket problem. Actually, it’s more of a one-bucket problem of shoveling a broad array of conservative opinion into caricatures of talking points.

Once again, we find that polls are worthless.

(For what it’s worth, I took the quiz and ended up libertarian — no surprise to my regular readers.)