In yesterday's article I pointed out that due to its high levels of poverty the city of Baltimore gets far more than its pro rata share of government programs and handouts supposedly to fix the poverty, and we can see the disastrous results. Given the obvious failure of the trillions of dollars of spending to date, I asked: Could it really be that anyone here thinks that the next round of "programs" and handouts is going to work?
Today the New York Times chimes in on the subject with an editorial, two op-eds, and five letters to the editor. Most of it is just a liberal guilt-fest, but it's still worth examining the mind-set of the people who caused this horror. Most illustrative is the op-ed by Michael Eric Dyson. Here's an excerpt:
Without a brick tossed or a building burning, we are hardly confronting the hopelessness of the future for these young people. The unemployment rate in the community where Mr. Gray lived is over 50 percent; the high school student absence rate hovers at 49.3 percent; and life expectancy tops out at 68.8 years, according to analysis by prison reform nonprofits. These statistics are a small glimpse of the radical inequality that blankets poor black Baltimore. It’s no wonder that black Baltimore erupted in social fury.
OK, the high school student absence rate hovers at 49.3%. How did it get there? Baltimore of course follows the Democrat model of government-monopoly unionized public schools. According to figures compiled by the Baltimore Sun in 2013, Baltimore in 2011 ranked second among the nation's 100 largest school districts in per student spending. (Number one being New York City of course!) So what's the answer? Well, we know the answer of the Baltimore Teachers Union: Still more government money for the schools! Here's a link describing their big rally in March to lobby the legislature for more money.
Life expectancy tops out at 68.8 years? I thought we had free government medical care, otherwise known as Medicaid, for all the poor and near-poor. That's well over $400 billion of annual government spending in this country, almost $8 billion in Maryland. We just doubled down on Medicaid with a massive expansion under Obamacare. Are you now saying that it doesn't work?
And then there's what Mr. Dyson calls the "unemployment rate," which is not what the Labor Department calls the unemployment rate, but rather a rate of idleness among people completely detached from the world of jobs. Well, the government gave the people welfare, and food stamps, and public housing, and free medical care, and now we find that a lot of the young men just don't work any more. Didn't anybody stop for a minute to think that this might happen?
New York Times and Mr. Dyson, it's time to take ownership of this. All of your "solutions" have been adopted at enormous cost, and they have just made the problem worse. Do you really still think that more of same can possibly work?
Here's the fundamental problem: All of your guilt always leads to advocacy that "we" must help "them" with some kind of program or handout. Inherent in that thought is that "they" are not capable of taking care of themselves -- the bigotry of low expectations. Well, I can say with 100% certainty that more programs and more handouts will cost still more money and still will lead to more idleness and more hopelessness.
So is it possible to turn this around? Absolutely. There's exactly one way. Real businesses must be attracted to Baltimore to provide real jobs. This cannot be done by handouts to business and crony capitalism. It must be done be creating a bona fide good investment climate. That means crime under control, lower taxes and lower government spending, and fostering a belief among members of the business community that the government will not turn on you after you commit your investors' money. In New York, with 20 years of Republican and Independent mayors from 1994 to 2013, we made huge strides in re-establishing a good investment climate, and the economy roared back. Baltimore can do it too. But it's the exact opposite of the approach they have taken to date. Oh, and riots sure aren't going to help.