Racism in America is apparently so rampant that everything we do and touch must be seen through that lens. In the past week, the mainstream media has covered everything from electric cars to inflation with abortion in between as a potentially racist issue. They’ve also found a new solution: Conservatives should just surrender and embrace it. There’s a lot to like, you see.
If you thought that electric cars promised a technologically advanced solution to the global warming crisis that would benefit all humanity, think again: According to The Washington Post at least, these vehicles might, in fact, be irredeemably racist even before they hit most American driveways. The problem is a lack of charging stations in black and Latino communities, prompting a new phrase to enter the lexicon for better or worse, “charging deserts.” “Look at any map of charging stations in the United States, and in most of the big cities, what is immediately apparent are big blank spaces coinciding with Black and Latino neighborhoods.” Minority neighborhoods, you see, “are being left behind.” The question is one of “mobility justice,” yet another new phrase. “If residents of the city cannot participate equitably in the EV market, that would be a failure,” explained Stefan Schaffer, a strategist for the American Cities Climate Challenge at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “You want to make sure all communities can participate in the economy of the future.”
Incredibly, The Washington Post manages to identify the primary cause of the problem in the very same article, and it’s certainly not racism. “In urban neighborhoods where residents lack driveways or garages and must rely on street parking, public chargers are a necessity to persuade consumers to buy electric cars. Yet without EVs in place, there is no commercial incentive to install them.” Rarely has a single statement so successfully glossed over the albatross around the neck of widespread EV adoption, avoiding the simple truth that should have been obvious all along: Electric Vehicles are only practical if you have a garage and your own (expensive) charging station in that garage. This way you can plug in your car every night without fear of the weather or a lack of access, and then rely on public stations for road trips and other long drives. The idea that owners are going to regularly plug their cars in on a busy inner city street is absurd on its face. It’s hard enough to get a public parking spot in a big city as it is, just imagine what that would look like if everyone suddenly needed to charge up as well. This assumes public charging stations are even accessible, as they would not be after a big snow storm or a cold winter where the snow doesn’t melt.
Of course, it doesn’t help that electric vehicles currently average about $19,000 more to buy than regular cars, placing them well out of reach for middle and lower income Americans likely to live in the inner city. Unfortunately, none of these obvious concerns, along with many others like obtaining the raw materials for batteries, have prevented primarily progressive politicians from pushing electric cars above all else. The lithium for the batteries alone has shot up in price some 240% this year, meaning that $19,000 premium might well increase, fast. In the meantime, President Joe Biden has set an astonishing goal: Electric vehicles are supposed to account for 50% of all new automobile sales by 2030, up from about 2% today in just 9 years. Achieving this goal requires more charging stations, and President Biden plans to roll out some 445,000 of them, funded by $7.5 billion in the infrastructure bill. Alas, this isn’t quite ambitious enough for the now racist EV advocates. “It’s going to need to be a lot more,” insisted Connor Morgan, a spokesperson for the Zero Emission Transportation Association. “Questions remain on how many more — that’s going to depend on consumer behavior.” Given The Washington Post’s story, I think we can safely say questions now remain on where a government obsessed with equity is going to place those charging stations, and whether or not they will actually be used.
Sadly, a government obsessed with equity is also presiding over the highest jump in prices in almost 40 years, taking equally from everyone’s pocket. Of course, some pockets are deeper than others, and how easily you can weather the inflation storm is dependent on your income bracket. If you’re struggling to put food on the table, an almost 20% increase in the cost of beef and an extra $20 to fill up your tank to get to the grocery store is going to seriously affect your budget. On the other hand, if you’re filling up a new Porsche on the way to that grocery store, the few extra bucks on your bill likely isn’t going to have much of an impact on your lifestyle. In other words, inflation is highly regressive. Everyone pays more, but those that can least afford it suffer the most. This has been known for somewhere close to 700 years, the first government-induced inflationary spiral having inflicted China in the 1350’s, but Politico has discovered an entirely new angle: Inflation is now racist as well as regressive.
Eleanor Muller opines that “Soaring inflation could hamper Biden’s effort to narrow wealth, racial disparities.” The problem is that inflation has “historically squeezed workers with lower incomes more than their higher-paid counterparts, particularly during economic downturns.” This is because the goods they purchase most tend to “increase more in price, and they are less able to seek out lower-priced substitutes. “Since 2004, which is the earliest point where we have some data available on, we have found that inflation inequality has increased in that low-income households have paid higher inflation than high-income households,” explained David Argente, a Penn State economics professor. “This was even more pronounced during the Great Recession.” If you consider that “workers with low incomes are more likely to be Black and Hispanic, it stands to reason they are more likely to “take the brunt of inflation.” “When you’re low-income status, you have fewer options, fewer alternatives to get the goods and services you need,” noted Andre Perry, a fellow at the Brookings Institution. “Black people need goods and services that are affordable.”
The Biden Administration believes the answer to this conundrum is passing Build Back Better, showering the economy with trillions of additional dollars to effectively subsidize the bite of inflation for people of color and other low income Americans. The President claimed that inflation “underscores the importance that Congress move without delay to pass my Build Back Better plan.” The legislation will save families money, apparently by putting it in their pocket from the federal government, then taking it right back out because of higher prices. Think of this as a new spin on the old job creation thought experiment from John Maynard Keynes: Instead of creating jobs by paying people to dig holes and then fill them back in again, we’ll give them money and then steal it right back. Somehow, President Biden believes these trillions in new spending will ease “long-run inflationary pressures on our economy.”
He is not alone, some economists insist Build Back Better might increase inflation in the short term, but then at some point in the undetermined future, the effects will taper off and people will be better off. “It might lift inflation in the near-term: this time next year, 2023, 2024,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics in what passes for analysis these days, as if it makes no difference whether prices increase at over 6% per month for another six months or another three years. Mr. Zandi might consider a basic class in compound interest because 99% of these prices are never coming down. The longer they go up, the higher the baseline will be. “But longer run, it probably lowers inflation a little bit.” That’s some additional precision from the same people who were claiming inflation wasn’t a concern barely six months ago. Mr. Zandi then goes the full subsidy route, “Inflation that lower-income households would face would be lower because their cost of living is being subsidized in the legislation, with lower child care costs, lower education costs, lower housing costs, lower elder care costs,” he explained. Translation: Exactly what I said, they want to give you money and then take it back and say you are better off because of it.
Nor are electric cars and inflation the only recent topics tinged with the taint of racism. New York Times columnist Charles Blow also believes that a potential Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade is haunted by the eternal specter, so much so that it might well lead to a Civil War. “I see too many uneasy parallels between what was happening nearly 200 years ago and what is happening now. I see this country on the verge of another civil war, as the Calhounian impulse is reborn.” After laying down that frightening gauntlet complete with the idea that hundreds of thousands could be dead in the streets, Mr. Blow immediate proceeds to say, not really, never mind. “There are enormous, obvious differences, of course. The civil war I see is not the kind that would leave hundreds of thousands of young men dead in combat. That is not to say that we aren’t seeing spates of violence but rather that this new war will be fought in courts, statehouses and ballot boxes, rather than in the fields.”
In other words, it will be fought peacefully in the political and legal arena, resolving disputes according to our Constitution and state laws. Putting it that way, it doesn’t sound particularly scary. It sounds like politics as usual. At the same time, this potential peaceful Civil War is even more expansive in his mind. It “won’t be only about the subjugation of Black people but also about the subjugation of all who challenge the white racist patriarchy.” It will “seek to push back against all the ‘others’: Black people, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, L.G.B.T.Q. people and, yes, women, particularly liberal ones.” Of course, it never seems to occur to Mr. Blow that the pushback isn’t against these groups, it’s against progressive policies in particular, both large and small. Consider that the “struggle” for LGBTQ+ “rights” has gotten so insane that women are getting raped by men claiming to be women, and they’re being recorded as rapes committed by actual women. Believe it or not, this has actually been happening in the United Kingdom. “Police have been criticised for saying they will record rapes by offenders with male genitalia as being committed by a woman if the attacker ‘identifies as a female,’” a Times UK report note. “Police Scotland said that they would log rapes as being carried out by a woman if the accused person insists, even if they have not legally changed gender.” This prompted embattled author and billionaire, J.K. Rowling to tweet, “War is Peace. Freedom in Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The Penised Individual Who Raped You is a Woman.”
Mr. Blow will have to forgive me if I strenuously push back on that notion, and many others currently being promoted by radical progressives. Not to worry though, Gary Abernathy, writing for The Washington Post, has found the answer to our political problems, or at least one of them: Conservatives should just give up, and learn that there’s a lot for them to like (technically he used the term “embrace”) in Critical Race Theory. You see, “When we fall short of delivering on that promise, it’s incumbent not just on White Americans, but on the United States as a nation — as an institution — to rectify that imbalance. That’s why I have argued in favor of reparations for descendants of enslaved people.” In other words, stop fighting for your beliefs and get on board the progressive train to American Utopia. All that’s needed is to upend every one of our Constitutional principles, concept of individual rights, traditions, and all the very things conservative believe make the United States an exceptional country. Once we do that, all will be good, and we’ll avoid a Civil War as well. In other words, we must surrender now, or else.