Monday, March 09, 2009
Inner cities a snapshot of America's future
by Star Parker
Blacks are not given enough credit for being trendsetters in America.
Blacks started playing the blues, jazz, and R&B, then the rest of America started playing them. Blacks discovered the politics of victimhood, then the rest of America started catching on.
Black women got into having babies without marriage. Then white women started getting into it and the incidence of white out-of-wedlock births today -- almost 30 percent -- is higher than the black rate in the 1960's.
Blacks bought into dependency and the welfare state. Now the rest of America has bought in.
Blacks for years elected politicians championing public policy that destroyed their own communities. Now the rest of America has installed a new political leadership with the perfect formula -- run roughshod over private ownership, disdain traditional values, substitute political power for personal responsibility -- for destroying our country.
We can expect the rest of America to reap the same benefits that blacks have enjoyed from this lunacy. In the late 1960's, when President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his war on poverty and seeded welfare-state culture in our inner cities, the majority of black families had married parents living at home. By 1995 only 1 in 3 black homes had married parents.
As the black family collapsed, predictable social pathologies escalated: Crime, drugs, promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, fatherless children, abortion, and disdain for education.
Not surprisingly, the black poverty rate, almost a quarter of the black population, has remained frozen at twice the national average since the late 1960's.
While the press was having a field day criticizing Gov. Bobby Jindal's television remarks following President Obama's address to Congress, too little attention was paid to his personal story. After all, the father of the 37-year-old Louisiana governor was a poor immigrant from India.
Not every child of poor immigrants becomes a governor before their 40th birthday. But there is a reason more people from all over the world want to immigrate to the United States than we're willing to let in. They come here for opportunity. Children of poor immigrants getting educated and moving in one generation into the middle class is the story of America.
Why, then, when poor immigrant families readily move in one generation into the middle class, does one fourth of black America remain poor, generation after generation?
Racism? I don't think so. Black poverty is overwhelmingly a phenomenon of single mother homes. The incidence of poverty in black homes with married parents is around 10 percent, well below the national average.
It's what happens when lives get politicized and people are instructed to be helpless. In the case of blacks, it's being taught that America is inherently racist and that their only hope is political protection from white exploitation.
Our politicians tell us now that we need to turn the whole country over to them because capitalism has supposedly failed and we need protection from exploitation by the wealthy.
Has anyone noticed that the only markets that have failed in America are the ones distorted with major government controls, regulations, subsidies, or taxpayer guarantees?
University of Michigan economist Mark Perry recently listed on his blog 16 typical household items -- furniture, kitchen appliances, electronics -- showing how many hours of work, at the average wage, it would take to purchase these items today, compared to 1950. The whole basket of goods takes one fifth the amount of hours of work today to purchase compared to 59 years ago. This is markets and innovation at work.
Anyone who is curious where the current left-wing takeover of our economy will lead, with government soon taking 40 cents out of every dollar we produce, should tour through any of America's inner cities.
If we have any luck, some of the better instincts of blacks today will also set trends. Blacks attend church more than any other group in the country. And most blacks reject the debasement of the definition of marriage.