Mike Kueber's Blog

October 7, 2015

Jeb Bush gets a bum rap on “stuff”

Filed under: Politics — Mike Kueber @ 6:06 pm
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I’m not a big Jeb Bush supporter in his run for the presidency. Like his father, he seems a bit too eager to compromise, and when you combine this trait with his family connection to Mexico, you have a near certainty of a president who will grant amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants (about half Mexican) and ensure the further Latinization and balkanization of America. On a personal level, I don’t like the guy because of his adolescent reputation as an unpopular big bully that seems to have stuck with him.

But in the past two weeks, I believe Jeb has been unfairly criticized for two comments he made regarding “stuff”:

  • Regarding the call for action in response to the Oregon killings – “We’re in a difficult time in our country and I don’t think more government is necessarily the answer to this. I think we need to reconnect ourselves with everybody else. It’s very sad to see. But I resist the notion—and I had this challenge as governor—because we had—look, stuff happens, there’s always a crisis. And the impulse is always to do something and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”

This is precisely the notion that I have argued many times. Conservatives try to minimize the role of government in society, so it just doesn’t make sense to us that government should be expanded every time something bad happens. That would be a prescription for disaster. But Bush critics trivialized the substantive philosophy and instead quoted only “stuff happens,” as if Bush was pooh-poohing the entire tragedy.

  • Regarding how the GOP will make inroads into electoral support from African-Americans – “Our message is one of hope and aspiration. It isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success.”

This, too, is a sound conservative position in opposition to the buying votes of special interests by giving them the spoils of government. But Bush critics, like Charles Blow of the NY Times, accuse him of stereotyping blacks as “leeches” and “welfare queens.”

Incidentally, the nonpartisan website fivethirtyeight.com recently published an article that provides the facts regarding the distribution of free stuff (means-tested Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance, SSI, TANF, and welfare) among the races:

  • As of 2012, 21 percent of the U.S. population, or 52.2 million people, participated in one or more of those six programs on average each month.
  • In any given month during 2012, 42 percent of black Americans received a means-tested benefit, compared with 36 percent of Hispanics, 18 percent of Asians/Pacific Islanders and 13 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
  • Currently the U.S. population is 77 percent white (62 percent of them non-Latino white Americans), 13 percent black, 17 percent Latino and 5 percent Asian. (Latinos are an ethnicity and may be of any race.)