Response to Shelby Steele
By David Henderson
I sent the following letter to the Wall Street Journal, but I’m guessing, given that they haven’t published it yet, that they won’t. So I am:
I was shocked by two statements by my friend and Hoover colleague, Shelby Steele (“Black America Could Have Done Better,” January 21, 2009). On economics, Dr. Steele refers to supply-side economics as “trickle-down.” But we supply-siders have never used that term to describe a policy of reducing marginal tax rates; only our critics use that term to describe the policies we favor. In fact, the supply-side policies would be better be described as “gush-down” economics.
Even more shocking, Dr. Steele claims that President Obama has “moral authority as the first black president.” But President Obama’s “moral authority” due to his race is precisely zero just as my moral authority due to my race is zero. Moral authority derives from being moral. Or, as the late Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently put it, moral authority comes not from the color of our skin but from the content of our character.