A New Can Of Worms
17 August 2004
Following is the text of a statement released this afternoon by Alan Keyes:
"I have consistently opposed the effort to extort monetary damages from the American people. As I have argued in the past, the great sacrifices involved in the Civil War represented the requital in blood and treasure for the terrible injustices involved in slavery. In this form the so called "reparations" movement represents an insult to the historic commitment that many Americans made to the end of slavery, which included the sacrifice of their lives.
"I have also consistently maintained that the history of slavery, racial segregation and discrimination did real damage to black Americans, left real and persistent material wounds in need of healing.
"In various ways through the generations since the end of slavery, America has tried to address this objective fact, but without real success. This was at least in part the rational for many elements of the Great Society programs of the sixties, and for the original and proper concept of affirmative action developed under Republican leadership during the Nixon years.
"Unfortunately, the government-dominated approaches of the Great Society, which purported to heal and repair the legacy of historical damage, actually widened and deepened the wounds. They undermined the moral foundations of the black community and seriously corrupted the family structure and the incentives to work, savings, investment, and business ownership.
"The idea I have often put forward to address this challenge involves a traditionally Republican, conservative and market-oriented approach: removing the tax burden from the black community for a generation or two in order to encourage business ownership, create jobs and support the development of strong economic foundations for working families.
"This has the advantage of letting people help themselves, rather then pouring money into government bureaucracies that displace and discourage their own efforts. It takes no money from other citizens, while righting the historic imbalance that results from the truth that black slaves toiled for generations at a tax rate that was effectively 100 percent.
"I have also made it clear that while I believe that the descendants of slaves would be helped by this period of tax relief, my firm goal and ultimate objective is to replace the income tax, and thereby free all Americans from this insidious form of tax slavery. It is well known that this is one of the key priorities of the Keyes campaign."
Keyes statement is hardly the thoughts of a kook. But, perhaps he should limit his exposure to the Chicago press to keep these kinds of things from blowing up. Send a spokesman out. Get on the phone with donors...that sort of thing.
I received an email today about rumors that the Obama campaign worked over the Illinois press pretty good. They planted the seed that whatever Keyes said had to be crazy. Since Obama and his people are insiders, I'm sure they were likely to believe it -- if it did happen.
I think I've argued in the past that there is a divide between insiders and outsiders in Illinois politics. It's okay to disagree; but never be disagreeable. Alan Keyes, as an outsider, needs to be especially aware of that. As I keep repeating, Alan Keyes comes across and arrogant and uncivil, that just doesn't play around here.
Not that I accept the Reparations Argument
But Alan Keyes actually peaks my interest because I'm for anything that lowers the government's current take:
"Keyes proposed that for a generation or two African-Americans of slave heritage should be exempted from federal taxes--federal because slavery was an egregious failure on the part of the federal establishment. In calling for the tax relief Keyes appeared to be reaching out to capture the black vote something that may prove difficult to do%2C particularly after his unwelcome reception at the Bud Billiken Day Parade Saturday.
The former ambassador said his plan would give African-Americans 22a competitive edge in the labor market because those exempted would be cheaper to hire than federal tax-paying employees and would compensate for all those years when your labor was being exploited."
They are trying in NYC. Go figure.
As this Chicago Tribune piece points out, Starbucks is still a great place to work and workers there make more than the minimum wage; they have greater access to benefits; and they have a employee stock purchase plan and 401K.
Apparently, in NYC they are upset that because they are asked to work for all these benefits. Gee. In a company that size (something like 8,500 stores) there are always going to be complaints, lawsuits and work place injuries. It is just a matter of simple statitistics. Some people are cut out for it, some aren't. What's telling is that this is only happening in New York City. Turnover is low at Starbucks and people seem to genuinely like working there.
I willing to bet that there is 10 percent to 30 percent chance that unions infiltrated the New York stores to begin agitating.