A long time ago, I put together a manpower planning system for a Fortune 50 company. It was one of those opportunities for me to see something most people don't see. I learned some valuable lessons. I'd like to repeat one or two of them here. It's an old argument that I used to call 'Angry White Math' in defense of Affirmative Action. As it turns out I'm going to use that same math for another purpose which is to demonstrate why it is I believe that Progressives are shrill.
As we got into some details about my fact-free philosophical reconnoitering it was suggested that the numbers are on 'the side' of people who constantly argue against racism and sexism. So exactly how much of that argument is just self-righteous moralizing? Well that's a subjective question. But see if you can follow along with the following mathematical syllogism which I replicate in its original idiotic form from 12 years ago:
america 1998 - population approximately 260 million
black population approximately 32 million.
question: what is the effect of affirmative action on 'white' employment?
given: 1/2 of the population is the workforce
therefore the black workforce is 16 million
the non-black workforce is 114 million.
given: black unemployment is 50%, non-black unemployment is 0%
goal: using a zero-sum hardball forced affirmative action program to create 0% black unemployment.
find: what is the net effect on the non-black workforce?
so we have to find 8 million jobs, that would leave the non-black workforce with 98 million jobs.
therefore the net non-black unemployment rate would go from 50% down to 0%
the non-black unemployment rate would go from 0% to 7.017%
this is an absolutely rediculous worse-case scenario. but several things become immediately clear which debunk a lot of angry white math against affirmative action.
1. under the worst of all circumstances, affirmative action could only affect about 1 out of every 14 non-black jobs.
2. black unemployment is nowhere near 50%, it's not even at 25%, it's closer to half that. so that makes the maximum reasonable number of zero-sum replacement jobs 2 million.
3. it is not a fair assumption that affirmative action is applied everywhere - at least 50% of all american employment comes from firms which are too small to be bound to affirmative action rules. that drops the maximum to 1 million.
4. those one million jobs against a black unemployment rate of 12.5% would cut black unemployment in half to 6.25%
so let's do another re-assessment.
given: non-black unemployment is 6.25% it would take something less than 1 million zero-sum jobs to give racial parity in employment. so far, affirmative action hasn't come close. so it stands to reason that white displacement is a myth, and that affirmative action has yet to cost non-black america one million jobs. out of a total workforce of 130 million, that is 7/10's of a percent of all american jobs.
but let's double it, just to be on the safe side. affirmative action covers less than 1.5% of all the jobs in america. which don't all belong to whites, but to asians and latinos as well. furthermore, everybody should know that the largest class of affirmative action beneficiaries are white women.
so i think i have pretty much destroyed the economic case for angry white math, proving once and for all that the primary obstacle to affirmative action is RESENTMENT, not ECONOMICS.
I welcome challenges to my syllogism.
So here we have to inject a little reality and update the numbers. Nationally, unemployment is somewhere around 9.5 percent. I don't know what black unemployment is. Let's guess that it is triple the national average. So let's say it's 28.5% Let us further assume that all the racism of America is expressed in the loss of black jobs. So let us therefore invent, under the Obama Administration, the Department of Racial Payback. If you are black and unemployed, it will be automatically assumed that racism is the cause. Show up at the office and the Department will get you a job. Boom. So how many jobs will the DRP have to produce to provide magical equality and destroy all of the effects of racism? How many if they are zero-sum jobs? How many if they are new jobs? OK well assuming we use the following figures.
Workforce: 150 million
Black Pop. 35 million
Black Workforce 17.5 ( about 12.5 M working 5 M not working)
Non-Zero Sum Parity requires 1.66M new jobs. I don't have a spreadsheet on this machine so I can't figure out the zero-sum parity. But it would be less than 1.66M. Now, what does it take to create somewhere around 1.66 new jobs, or fire around 1.4M folks and give their jobs to unemployed blacks? Something close to an act of God in either case, especially if in the second case you don't want riots in the streets.
It's obvious to me, as it should be to you, that x years Affirmative Action was insufficient to close the gap in black vs non-black unemployment. But it's also obvious to me that when you norm for education and class, the gap in black vs non-black unemployment drops significantly. I'm sure anyone focused on such mathematical ways of looking at people would provide us with those vetted statistics, right?
So how exactly do Progressives measure the effect of racism on their protected classes and how big are those gaps? It's not clear. But it's clear to me that the claim of a goal of statistical equality begs for acts of God. And what exactly are the areas in which Progressives get hyped about gaps explained by racism? Let me not put words in their mouths. But let us examine the costs of such things as zero sum Affirmative Action that will close the gap.
I think that an honest discussion of this, loaded to the gills with statistics will reveal several acts of God, not to mention acts of Congress and huge amounts of money. Then how is it that we maintain the status quo without riots in the streets? This is the great dilemma of the Progressive mindset. It is my opinion that they cannot quite understand why the outrage is always in their heads and not in the people, and that an economic accounting of all of the relevant factors shows that all of the outrage is priced out of the equation. In other words, just like there is Angry White Math over the existence of Affrmative Action, when you look at what's actually being done, the outrage is all out of proportion. On the exact other side of the coin, there is Angry Progressive Politics over the existence of disparities, but when you look at what it actually costs to eliminate those disparities to the standard of 'equality', and see how it is that society continues to function without that elimination, you see that the outrage is similarly out of proportion.
I specifically ask for ways and means to have solutions to these problems that are objective. If racism weighs six pounds, then the six pound adjustment cures racism and everybody can agree. The important question between liberals and conservatives is where you take those six pounds of flesh, from public or private hands. The answer I stereotypically expect is that the only way America can get six pounds of flesh for every victim of racism is through compelled state action. I would actually be happy to hear such a straight answer, because the six pounds would be quantified objectively.
Since 2001, and in dealing with the then-pressing issue of Reparations, I have looked at the economics. And my premise has been simple. We are at racial equilibrium in reality. But political resentment and outrage cannot accept that. I don't disagree that the outrage is moral, but that doesn't change the fact that it is insufficient to dramatically alter the status quo and provide funding for the solutions whatever they may be. This would not be a political problem if Progressives could see their way around to a privately funded solution. Instead their poltical opponents are blamed for *all* racism because of their refusal to consent to a state sponsored solution - whose dimensions if honestly reckoned with, would require an act of God.
So the challenge remains which is something you can unanimously get ascent to from 90% of the Right. If you can solve any problem with racism or sexism or both with a Federal tax ceiling of 20%, it gets done tomorrow. If it costs 40%, it gets done when hell freezes over. There's plenty room for negotiation, and that's how the parties go back and forth forever. But we still don't honestly know what the cost for the solution to racism is.
How about some facts?