Five reforms the new Republican congress can pass to guarantee no more Fergusons.
Pain is part of life as is, hopefully, joy. As we read in the book of Ecclesiastes, there is “a time to cry and a time to laugh.”
But real tragedy is disaster we bring on ourselves. Disaster that comes from refusal to learn from mistakes.
How many of us know someone clearly on the path to destruction, but refuses to listen, to learn? Then the inevitable happens.
This is what we’ve got on our hands with the Ferguson, Missouri debacle that now dominates the news.
Pick your side. From one point of view, a black youth, Michael Brown, is now dead because a white police officer was just doing his job. The problem, in this view, is not about law enforcement, but with outsize and disproportionate black crime and homicide.
Or, no, says the other side, this is about racism. Black citizens are victimized, not protected, by police, and serially abused through racial profiling.
Regardless of where you stand, about one thing we can be sure. Racially charged incidents, where death occurs, did not start in Ferguson, Missouri and will not end there. We’ve been here before and for sure, without change in the conditions that guarantee these sorts of incidents, we’ll be there again.
Bookshelves sag with research that demonstrates, with crystal-clear clarity, the relationship of crime to poverty and poverty to lack of education, lack of work, and lack of family structure.
Don’t want to be poor in America? Get educated, get a job, get married, and have children after you are married. Do this and your chances of being poor in America are miniscule.
In poor black communities across America, these behavioral checkpoints for a decent life remain overwhelmingly unchecked. We then get crime, particularly among the youth – filled with the energy of life but no way to productively channel it – and we get Ferguson.
Can this change? It sure can. But solving any problem requires honesty and sincerity in defining the problem correctly and total commitment to do what it takes to implement the remedy.
It is no accident that black children today are three times more likely today to have been born out of wedlock, to be living in a single-parent home, than was the case before the War on Poverty launched in 1965.
The post-civil rights movement answer to the black struggle in America – pour government money into these communities – simply subsidized and encouraged destructive behavior.
Government money, government schools, labor and minimum wage laws, create all the conditions to guarantee future Fergusons – lack of education, lack of family, lack of work.
Democrats and black political leadership, because of their vested interest in the status quo, won’t lead change. So it’s up to Republicans. Here are five reforms the new Republican congress can pass to guarantee no more Fergusons:
1. Pass Welfare Reform 2.0, Congressman Paul Ryan’s Opportunity Grant program. This takes the almost $1 trillion in annual spending on 11 different anti-poverty programs and block grants the money to states allowing them to decide locally how to use it effectively.
2. Replace HUD housing projects and Section 8 housing with housing vouchers that low-income individuals can use wherever they want.
3. Pass legislation enabling school choice, so low-income parents can get their kids out of irreparable, union controlled failing public schools and into church schools.
4. Allow all citizens age 30 or under and earning $30,000/yr and under the option to opt out of Social Security, stop paying the payroll tax, and use those funds to invest in their own private retirement account.
5. Allow for dollar for dollar income tax write-off of all charitable contributions that go into designated low-income zip code areas.
These reforms will transition chronically poor, poverty and crime ridden, mostly minority communities into a new era of education, family, saving, and work. It’s the only way to avoid future Fergusons.