Why Democrats have failed Urban America

by Bill Green & Tom Zawistowksi

Akron, OH - May 1, 2015 - Black Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said this week, while reflecting on the upcoming 50th Anniversary of former Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes becoming the first black mayor of a major American city, "Sadly, not that much has changed in 50 years. We are still addressing aging infrastructure, poverty and issues on the police department." His comments are both insightful and problematic. 

They reflect what we are seeing in Baltimore today, and in Ferguson and New York and in fact every major American City over the past 50 years. A total failure of the regressive Democratic party statist big government philosophy that started with Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty” and has seen its peak with the failed policies and unchecked social spending of outgoing Democratic President Barack Obama who is the embodiment of that failed philosophy. They also indicate that Mayor Jackson and his equally befuddled counterpart, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, not only don’t know why their shared philosophy is failing, but have no clue how to fix it. This is no mystery. 

Conservatives in the TEA Party movement and those who have studied and celebrate the teachings of successful black American heroes like Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington and Sarah Breedlove, will not accept the excuses and the attempts by liberals, and their allies in the media, to deflect blame for what is in fact their failure. The Democrats and the left own this - lock, stock and barrel. The problem in Baltimore, Cleveland, Ferguson and all over our nation are two fold - families and jobs. The answers to those problems are not unknown, they are ignored by those who benefit from these failed policies.

It boggles the mind that Democratic Party acolytes, like Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer, would dare suggest in the middle of the social tragedy laid bare in Baltimore, that after Americans have spent $22 Trillion dollars in the past 50 years on the Democrats’ failed “War on Poverty,” that the solution is “more federal spending.”  In Baltimore we spend over $16,000 per year per student, second-most in the nation, to have less than 50% of High School seniors pass the High School Assessment test.  We pay over $35,000 to a single mother, with two children, on government assistance,10th highest in the US.  Baltimore is in fact the poster-city for the radical regressive Democratic party statist big government philosophy, and it has failed. Miserably.  Just like Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, and all the Democratic Cleveland Mayors since Carl Stokes, have failed to deliver on the promise they make to inner city black voters year in and year out, that they will deliver jobs and “equality” and “social justice,” and they never do. They only deliver more poverty and dependency and hopelessness. It’s all a lie.

It is a fact that more black families had fathers and mothers than white families in the US before the 1960’s. Lyndon Johnson, and the Democrat majority who controlled Congress, destroyed the black American family when they changed welfare laws to provide strong economic incentives for poor women to not have husbands. These laws actually penalize a family financially if a woman has a husband - under the guise of compassion for single women with children. These Democratic-party-passed and maintained laws are the real “war on women” in America today.  The result has been a devastating decrease of blacks growing up in two-parent households, from 72% in the 1960’s to around 33% today.  You get what you incentivize for, and they got what they wanted - poor and black Americans on the Government Plantation for decades.  Just like LBJ predicted.

Hypocrites like the NAACP, the Black Congressional Caucus, and Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, along with race hustlers like Sharpton and Jackson, have known this for decades and done NOTHING.  Even when they have had the power to fix it. Did President Obama move to change the welfare laws when the Democrats controlled all three branches of our federal Government in his first term? He did not. Where was their concern for these inner city blacks then when they could do something about it? Remember Democrats have controlled the White House and the Congress 70% of the time since 1960. They are to blame. If we change the welfare laws to incentivize two-parent households, that’s what we will get, and young blacks will have fathers - which is also a big part of the solution to the black youth incarceration rate. We call on those of both political parties in Government to do this NOW if they are serious about solving the main cause of poverty.

The second part of the solution is JOBS.  Not government handouts, not government jobs, but REAL private sector jobs. This is a two-step process. First, to get a job you need an education.  To get an education you need an education system that is focused on student outcomes, not on adult job security.  To get an education system that serves students, you need to create competition for those students’ dollars so that a parent can get the best education for their child that money, our tax money, can buy.  Why don’t we have a free market education system? For one reason and one reason only: because giving parents a choice about their children’s education undermines the power and control of the statists who control the Democratic Party. Let us not mince words, the teachers Unions are little more than a way for the regressive left to extort money from taxpayers to fund their agenda and the Democratic party. 

Newly-elected Republican Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, has already been taken to the “political woodshed” by the radical regressive union-controlled democratic machine for daring to suggest that they should have more charter schools in Baltimore because their public schools had an “F” rating.  “Hypocrite” is too kind a word for those who oppose these obvious fixes.  “Racist” would be more appropriate terms for those Democrats who killed eduction reform in Washington, DC and New York City and everywhere else in our nation. Their actions INTENTIONALLY keep the poor uneducated as a form of political control. Those are the people who deserve the blame for Baltimore. Those are the people the media should be investigating. Taxpayers are paying the equivalent of college tuition for K-12 students and are ending up with unemployable teenagers who can’t graduate from high school, let along go to and graduate from college. 

Even if they go to college, they would likely not get an education that would prepare them for a productive career that provides lifetime prosperity and security for their family. Instead they would get indoctrinated like Stephanie Rawlings-Blake did at bigoted Oberlin College where the radical regressive liberal “professors” taught her flawed statist anti-american philosophy so that she could go on to create more poverty and oppression of the very people they “claim” to defend.  
If we want to end poverty, we need to restore the application of key American principles to public education at all levels - rigorous study of science, math, economics and history, with a focus on personal responsibility for learning, support for competition for grades, and rewards for achievement. The “Nanny State” has failed. It is time for parents and relatives to take back control of the responsibility for our children and their future. That is the first step toward job creation and it MUST be implemented.

The second step, is embracing capitalism, free enterprise and ownership of private property. Something abhorrent to statists like Barack Obama, Frank Jackson, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Demonizing all businesses, business owners and the wealthy as corrupt, greedy, and responsible for all the ills of our society doesn’t create jobs. That is why the Democrats do it, to keep the poor and blacks on the Government Plantation. We must commit to unleashing the economic power of capitalism and free enterprise that made our nation the most prosperous in the history of the world.  President Obama, you and your party did not build the historic prosperity of Baltimore and Detroit and others that made them once great cities - business and industry did!  Your policies destroyed that prosperity.

So, what’s the second part of creating jobs after fixing the education system?  How about making all areas of the country with a 20% or more poverty rate Tax-Free Zones for all businesses? You get what you incentivize for right?  No local, state or federal taxes would be a huge incentive for business owners to move their businesses to the inner cities. The local, state and federal government would make their money from the income taxes earned by employees, and from the property taxes from the rising value of the homes those employees would now be able to purchase. You want jobs? Let’s also remove all business regulation, except those really required for health and safety, on all businesses in the Tax-Free Zones.  If we do that, we’ll have foreign companies moving businesses to our inner cities!  None of that works, however, without the commitment to create competition in our schools. You can’t do Step 2 without Step 1. 

It is long past time, 50 years past time, for American taxpayers to wake up and demand that the insanity stop. That the radical regressive statist anti-capitalism Democratic destruction machine be stopped.  Black lives do matter, and so do white and Hispanic and Asian and all Americans lives.  All of us have suffered from this flawed ideology for too long. This didn’t happen by accident, it was planned and executed by the regressive statist left through the Democratic Party. It can be fixed if we demand that the welfare laws be changed NOW.  Demand that all parents and student get vouchers NOW so that they can have the power to hold teachers and administrators accountable. Demand that our governments at the local, state and national level pave the way for businesses to create jobs and stop pretending that having 93 million American adults NOT working is “good for our economy.”  This is the reform that these protest marches should be demanding if they really want to fix the problem and help the people they claim to care about. They don’t need “Justice” they need fathers and jobs!

William Green, Director, The Frederick Douglass Foundation, Ohio Chapter
Thomas Zawistowski, Executive Director, The Portage County Tea Party