Virtual Voices

Gaming social justice

Government

Quiz question: Define "social justice."

"Social justice" is a God phrase in the mainstream press and in "creative cities" like San Francisco. So it was surprising to see this headline in the San Francisco Chronicle: "'Social justice' in contracts costs S.F. millions."

Then came the lead:

"San Francisco's much-heralded 'social justice' requirements for city contracts are costing local taxpayers millions of dollars a year in overcharges. . . . [T]he city paid $3,000 for a vehicle battery tray. . . . Other city purchasing policies, if followed, would mean paying about $240 for getting a copy of a key that actually cost a worker $1.35 to get done at a hardware store on his break."

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The reason for such radical overpayment is that city officials can make purchases only from companies that practice "social justice." In San Francisco that means providing healthcare benefits for domestic partners, researching and apologizing for any of a company's or its predecessors' historic ties to slavery, and banning use of

tropical hardwood trees.

One city employee put it this way: The purchasing restriction "is supposedly about 'Social Justice' when in reality it is yet another way for contractors to game the system." Maybe that is true generally about "social justice": Many sincere people use the term, but some sophisticated folks use it to their personal advantage.

No surprise: Typically, the biggest beneficiaries of government programs are not the poor but those who mine them for cash, power, votes, or all three.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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