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First Lady Michelle Obama will probably have to shop elsewhere, since her favorite designer is going out of business. Maria Pinto can no longer afford to keep the doors of her west side Chicago dress shop open. This must come as a surprise to fashion writers and gossip columnists around the world, who use terms like “glamorous,” “elegant,” and “fashion-forward” to describe some of the inappropriate outfits Michelle has appeared in.

For some reason, people don’t want to criticize this administration. Perhaps it’s a fear of being labeled “racist,” or maybe it’s just blind devotion. In deference to the empress’s new couture, a forward fashion usually gets imitated; and I can’t remember a moment in history when a first lady’s designer wasn’t elevated to world-class status. But not this time.

There is truth in the market. When the general public makes a decision not to open its wallets, that’s louder than words. In this case, the market is making a thunderous remark, which no one has the courage to whisper.

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