Ross Douthat's Brown-and-Beige Revenge Fantasy
This week's RightWatch takes aim at a New York Times columnist who imagines people of color cutting off benefits to elderly whites.
As Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker put it in a commentary that eviscerated Douthat's analysis, the young columnist contends that future generations of nonwhite people will be "more concerned with paying low marginal tax rates on the upper reaches of their income than with being able to depend on adequate health care when they get sick and reliable (if minimal) pensions when they get old. These taxophobic people of color will take out their Ayn Randian anger on the old, the sick, and the white."
Hertzberg is dead right about Douthat's polemic. When you strip away its condescending veneer, Douthat's argument boils down to a claim that in the future, we black, brown and yellow folks will become as stingy and shortsighted as many whites were in the past, when they fought against paying taxes for schools and social programs that they perceived to be benefiting minorities.
There's not a shred of evidence to support these dire prognostications. In fact, the elderly white people whom Douthat claims to be so worried about are more likely to have their health benefits taken away by budget-cutting right-wingers than by more liberal nonwhites.
This is simply another case of introducing a phony racial angle into a debate to score cheap political points.
Jack White is a regular contributor to The Root.