Friday, January 28, 2005

Why Think-Tankers Shouldn't Dis the Dole

Bush's War on Poverty: Ending Tyranny Is the Best Way to Spread Wealth (Opinion Journal)
By Claudia Rosett

Could that be? An article in Opinion Journal entitled "Bush's War on Poverty"? Why associate Bush's name with a detested (by Republicans) piece of social policy and legislation dating back to the detested (by Republicans) 1960s? Well, the hook is this: Bush's global fight against tyranny is also a global fight against poverty. Okay. I get it. If you're against Bush's war on tyranny, then you're for starving babies to death. Apparently, the Bush people felt that an added layer of guilt and shame was needed. I guess "if you're against Bush's war on tyranny, then you're for tyrants" just didn't resonate enough.

But this is the paragraph that had me laughing out loud. Just consider the irony of these statements coming from a writer whose economic existence is dependent upon a think-tank stipend.

Even when dictators offer a dole, as in, say, Saudi Arabia, the results turn sour fast. The challenge this sets for ordinary citizens is not to use their abilities in ways valued by others and rewarded in the marketplace; instead, huge energy and ingenuity goes into working the system, petitioning and pleasing officials, and bribing parties who block the way for no other purpose than to receive payoffs, hoard power and too often inflict humiliation. The difference between freely earning a living and existing on rations, or at the pleasure of corrupt officials, is that the former offers dignity; the latter, all too often, resentment.

Rosett is currently a journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. See what SourceWatch has to say about this group here. I don't know. You'd think a confident journalist such as Rosett would use her abilities "in ways valued by others and rewarded in the marketplace" rather than hiding her talents by cloistering herself in a think-tank.

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