For the New York Post, Kyle Smith writes: Ever get the sense that the middle class is downwardly mobile, being pressed to the floor and squeezed to the limit? It’s not happening by accident. Someone is doing the squeezing: a new class of entertainment and tech plutocrats, cheered on and abetted by a priesthood of media, government and academic elites.
“Almost every institution of power, from government and large corporations to banks and Wall Street, suffers the lowest public esteem ever recorded.”
Joel Kotkin’s “The New Class Conflict” (Telos Press Publishing) paints a dire picture of the undeclared war on the middle class. What he calls the Oligarchy (Silicon Valley and Hollywood) and the Clerisy (the media, bureaucrats, universities and nonprofits) enrich themselves and gratify their own strange obsessions at the expense of the middle class.
This New Class, for instance, venerates the city and despises suburbia. They think you should feel the same way — and in innumerable magazine and newspaper pieces, they twist facts to make it sound as if America loves living in apartments and taking trains to work.
Though New York and a few other cities have seen population growth over the last 20 years, the real surges are out there, where the space is.
In 2012, nine of the 10 fastest growing metropolitan regions were in the Sun Belt, mainly in the Southwest. In 2013, lightly regulated Houston saw more housing starts than the entire state of California, writes Kotkin.
“With 12 percent of the nation’s population, California is home to about a third of its welfare recipients, while its 111 billionaires hold a collective $485 billion in wealth. The middle class is now an actual minority in the state.”
So, suburbanites are punished. In California, where the New Class reigns supreme, the middle class is being garroted by environmental and anti-sprawl strictures. Those who wish to live in houses are pushed farther and farther from their jobs, spending more and more on commuting and energy costs. Proposals being debated now would, for instance, allow only 3 percent more housing by 2035 in the exurban part of the Bay Area. Read the rest of this entry »
For New York Post, Kyle Smith writes: To understand the latest outrage in the IRS scandal, mull over what might happen if regulators found significant evidence to implicate Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein in an insider trading scheme.
“This is “the dog ate my hard drive, broke into another building, ate the backup of the hard drive, then broke into six other top officials’ offices and ate their hard drives also.”
Let’s say Blankfein asserted his Fifth Amendment right not to answer any questions. Say Goldman was subpoenaed to provide all of Blankfein’s e-mails. Goldman replied that, instead of complying with the subpoena, it was itself reviewing the e-mails in question and was considering which ones to release.
It’s already been 13 months, and no one has even been charged. And no one will be charged. Congress has called the cops — the Justice Department — and the cops simply don’t care.
Now imagine that, nearly a year later, Goldman admitted that it had not, in fact, reviewed the e-mails in question, because they had been lost in a computer crash two months before it claimed to be reviewing them. Imagine Goldman also said copies of the e-mails were lost, because while under subpoena it had destroyed the “backup tapes” (whatever those are) that held them and that it had also thrown away Blankfein’s actual hard drive.
The thing about dogs eating homework is, it could actually happen. This can’t.
This is “the dog ate my hard drive, broke into another building, ate the backup of the hard drive, then broke into six other top officials’ offices and ate their hard drives also.”
What we learned about the IRS this week is that there is an obvious criminal coverup that comes in addition to the possible underlying crimes. Prosecutions need to be brought against all of those involved.
Why isn’t this happening already? Read the rest of this entry »
Kyle Smith reports: The night of Sept. 1, 2009, Echo Platoon of Navy SEAL Team 10 headed out into the Fallujah night. Their goal: concluding a five-year search for the al Qaeda killer who had been responsible for the shocking 2004 murders of four American military contractors — one of them an ex-SEAL — whose bodies were then burned, dragged through the streets and hanged from a bridge.
This night the SEALs departed with these words from their commanding officer: “Gents, stay sharp, and expect a firefight.”
In the event, no shots were fired, but the SEALs faced another kind of ambush: a humiliating, baffling, infuriating struggle with the military-justice system that would end with an unsatisfying victory.
Because the man those SEALs captured — Ahmad Hashim Abd Al-Isawi, aka “the Butcher of Fallujah,” a man who lived for mayhem — somehow sustained a bloody lip on the night of his capture.
The contrast between the two instances of violence seems, like many of the details of the case, absurd.
On the one hand, four Blackwater contractors were murdered and beheaded as they pulled security in a convoy that was attempting to deliver food.