In the midst of the turmoil in Baltimore this week, a succinct assessment of the needs of young black men living in liberal inner-city strongholds was delivered by a self-identified gang member, who made it clear that jobs are what these young men need, his call almost immediately rebuffed by a leading Democrat lawmaker. The press conference was arranged by City Councilman President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and other city “leaders” at the Baltimore City Hall as a call to other local youth to end the rioting plaguing the city all week in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray.
Back peddling from his comments earlier in the week, Young apologized for calling the rioters “thugs” and apparently dismissed police intelligence that local gangs in Baltimore were targeting police officers for violence and murder. It was his response to one of the gang members call for increasing job opportunity in Baltimore that was the most telling and consistent with modern liberal-Progressive leadership in our nation’s inner-cities and minority neighborhoods.
“Honestly, I need a job,” stated Steve a.k.a. “Trey,” a self-identified Baltimore gang member. “At the end of the day everybody, most of the youth need a job,” he continued, “we just need help. It isn’t right what people is doing (rioting), but you have to understand where everybody comes from too.” Trey’s comments run consistent with conservative opinion that along with rebuilding the strength of the two-parent household and education reform, job opportunities are the key to revitalizing our nation’s inner-cities and poorest neighborhoods.
No sooner had this young man hit the press conference with a two-by-four of truth, City Council President Young typically took the conversation in a direction more suited to Democratic Party dogma. Following calls to continue the investigation of the six police officers involved (who have all since been charged), he rebuffed the game members succinct analysis, and instead hinted at a continuation of wasteful Progressive policies which serve the interest of the liberal political establishment, rather than the constituents they claim to champion.
“Getting young people jobs is great,” Young is quoted, “but it is also important to get them training on how to maintain a job and any other obstacles that come their way.” With that short statement Young inadvertently acknowledged the failed thought-process of the Democratic Party and liberal-Progressive direction in our urban centers.
Liberals never seem to run out of ideas for taxpayer-funded social programs that while lacking any basis in reality, have sapped the local economies of poor neighborhoods for more than five decades. What Young hinted at was yet another “job training” program which will certainly provide jobs and economic opportunities for his cronies and political allies, but have yet to prove (anywhere in this nation they been tried, and that is quite often) they have a benefit to the young men like Trey who most need economic opportunity.
Trey and any other young man in the our nations cities do not need “training” on how to maintain a job, they need jobs so that they may learn naturally, as all of humanity has proven capable of, of understanding what personal initiative is needed to maintain a job and to capitalize on the opportunity those roles provide to increase their labor skills and understanding of the marketplace. No eight-week, taxpayer-funded social program is going to do a better job of showing men like Trey that showing up every day and doing the job you’re assigned is how you maintain a job. What it will do, of course, is reward friends of Young, and reason a reason for being for so many liberal-Progressive agents of the urban political machine who majored in one of the various “Studies” programs in college.
What local leaders like Young, and the Democrats who control black neighborhoods from the Atlantic to the Pacific should focus on is how to entice capital investment in inner-city commerce. This of course is a difficult task when it is precisely the policies of Democratic Party lawmakers that make opening and operating a small business in those neighborhoods so problematic. Over five decades Progressives like Young have enacted job-killing regulation after regulation in their desire to drive more local residents into the social welfare system, where they become “customers” for the inner-cities most thriving industry and employer, the bureaucratic administers of the same welfare system.
On top of tackling pointless and redundant regulations, leaders like Young may also consider proposals conservatives have made for decades, providing incentive for capital investment in inner-city commerce. While many a wide-eyed liberal believes that business should invest in lower-income urban areas out of sheer compassion, this is of course not how the marketplace works. The fact of the matter is any business start-up is a risky venture, the odds of success greatly decreased in areas wrought with crime, unemployment and crippling regulations and a callous left-wing attitude against the entrepreneurial spirit.
By providing a tax break of five to 10 years for an individual who desires to start a small business in the same zip code they live in, local leaders would provide great incentive to venture capitalists who are considering taking a gamble on a young entrepreneurs dream. This is but one of many options that can build a small-business culture in the inner-city neighborhoods and help black Americans better control the dollars in the areas they live. The consequence of history denied black Americans their “Ellis Island” moment, and given that much of the northern and western migration in the post Jim Crow era coincided with Democrat hegemony of black politics and the establishment of the liberal Great Society, the small business infrastructure which so many ethnic groups have utilized as a path to building a solid middle-class has largely been missed for African-Americans. With a pro-growth philosophy, this tragedy can be reversed.
That reversal, of course, would require that the current political leadership within the black community either opened itself up to ideas outside of their strict liberal-Progressive dogma, or are replaced entirely. While the latter would most likely be the best option for young men like Trey, for so many reasons, the prospects for this are not likely in the immediately. Sadder still, while the solutions to the problems of the inner-city are crystal clear even to a gang member, their desire for a local economy that provides jobs and opportunities will continue to be rebuffed by Democrat lawmakers whose power is vested in high unemployment, high crime, death and disillusionment. This young man understands clearly what City Council President Young and entire ideology do not, that Americans of all colors don’t need a “champion to save them,” for no politician or party can accomplish this, they need only the opportunities so that they may save themselves.
By Paul M Winters
Managing Editor, Dignitas News Service