With welfare deform now the law of the land, the American underclass now flies through the murky air as some sort of Working Wallendas, trying to get through their lives without any visible safety net. The promoters of this New Work Order, explaining to all and sundry that the private sector could take care of the welfare problem much better than any nasty old government program, radiated such sheer ebullience that for a moment, I almost thought they believed what they were saying.

Well, one thing is true: The private sector is more efficient at creating wealth, which in turn can result in creating jobs, than any government program yet devised. But there remains a serious fly in this soothing ointment: the private sector doesn't want to create jobs. More people working means more pressure on wages, which means more pressure on prices, which means more of a tendency toward inflation, which means the coupon-clippers in Short Hills don't get the second Range Rover until next year. Wall Street makes no bones about it; if the Department of Labor reports lower unemployment, the Dow Jones industrials turn downward faster than Siskel's thumb. Or Ebert's.

The Republicans, of course, recommend tax cuts as a solution, but then the Republicans recommend tax cuts as a solution to everything up to and including the heartbreak of psoriasis. The Democrats recommend basically that something be done other than what the Republicans want. Meanwhile, the market, driven by the twin dynamos of fear and greed, looks for ways to pile up wealth without the annoyance of having to have some of it trickle down to the provinces. Can anything be done? Maybe. Will anything be done? You'll see Kathie Lee Gifford canonized first.

The Vent

1 July 1997

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 Copyright © 1997 by Charles G. Hill