D. Dowd Muska

 

What Real Political Incorrectness Looks Like

December 17, 2015

Brusque and loutish and unapologetic. Many of Donald Trump’s supporters adore their candidate ‘cuz he’s bad to the bone.

But aside from his reliably fact-free blatherings regarding immigration, just how politically incorrect is The Donald? On the major problems facing the nation, Trump’s legendary insensitivity vanishes. Herewith, three ways that the GOP frontrunner can commit real sins against PC orthodoxy -- if he’s got the guts.

Illegitimacy

Forty-one percent of U.S. babies are born to unwed mothers -- more than ten times the rate in 1940. Conservatives have been willing to address the crisis for decades. Many liberals have finally come around. Princeton’s Sara McLanahan and the Brookings Institution’s Isabel Sawhill recently admitted that “most scholars now agree that children raised by two biological parents in a stable marriage do better than children in other family forms across a wide range of outcomes.”

The consequences of fatherlessness are baleful. Poverty, crime, abuse, drugs/drinking, mental/behavioral problems, high-school dropouts, obesity, and teen pregnancy are all enhanced by illegitimacy.

Few pols are brave enough to talk about the appalling realities of a nation cursed with widespread single motherhood. Unwilling to condemn the towering selfishness of the women who give birth and the men who abandon their responsibilities, legislative careerists are content to let the problem metastasize. Might Trump be different?

Suggested Trumpism: “I’m not exactly Ward Cleaver, you know? I’ve fathered five children with three different women. But four of my kids were born within wedlock. Not one has to worry about money. And they’re all doing great. Illegitimacy is a yuge problem in this country, and as president I will attack all the ways that the federal government promotes fatherlessness.”

“National Defense”

Men and materiél based abroad did not prevent the San Bernardino massacre. A vast intelligence bureaucracy failed to detect the Boston Marathon bombers. And nuclear-tipped ICBMs were of no use on 9/11. Washington’s efforts to defend the homeland are pitifully inept. As former Regan administration official Lawrence Korb wrote, at a time when “the Pentagon is confronting threats from radical groups like Islamic State,” it is “facing more than $400 billion in cost overruns on weapons now being developed and produced.” A dysfunctional anti-missile system, unnecessary long-range bombers, and “attack” submarines that have nothing to attack -- does the DOD exist for defense, or defense contractors?

Former Pentagon boss Robert Gates said it best: “If the Department of Defense can’t figure out a way to defend the United States on a budget of more than half a trillion dollars a year, then our problems are much bigger than anything that can be cured by buying a few more ships and planes.” Does Trump agree?

Suggested Trumpism: “In November, I called Dwight Eisenhower a ‘great president.’ Well, 55 years ago, in his farewell address, our finest soldier-statesman warned us about what he called the ‘military-industrial complex.’ It’s still a yuge problem. Our allies should defend themselves, and we should focus on the real threats to Americans’ lives and property. As president, I’ll bring the troops home, streamline our intelligence apparatus, and crack skulls at the Pentagon until taxpayers purchase the weapons we truly need.”

Entitlements

Laurence Kotlikoff, an economist who crunches the numbers on “generational accounting,” puts “Uncle Sam’s overall … infinite horizon fiscal gap” at $210 trillion. That’s not a misprint. To cover its unfunded liabilities, Washington would have to “immediately and permanently raise all federal taxes by 58 percent.”

Social Security and Medicare are astronomically unaffordable. Beneficiaries receive far more in value than they contributed in payroll taxes. And more Baby Boomers retire every day. But old people vote, so the reservoir of red ink continues to swell. There is no shortage of reform proposals: raising eligibility ages, means-testing, shifting younger workers to private accounts. Not one, at present, has the slightest chance of winning support from both legislative chambers and the chief executive. That offers Trump an opportunity.

Suggested Trumpism: “Look, okay, I know about bankruptcy. I’ve filed for Chapter 11 four times! So I recognize when the numbers don’t look good. And Washington is going broke, fast. It’s a yuge problem. We have to have to fix our entitlement programs. Millions and millions of people will be very, very angry when we do. But some pain now will keep us from much more pain later. It’s just math, people.”

Sitting atop a mountainous lead in the polls, Trump’s got political capital to spend. Why not use some of it to assault the PC conformities that stand in the way of making American great again?

D. Dowd Muska (www.dowdmuska.com) writes about government, economics, and technology. Follow him on Twitter @dowdmuska.

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