The destruction wrought on blacks by liberalism part one
Since this came up at work today, I thought I’d take the time to compose a non-exhaustive list of the various aspects of the liberal agenda that have devastated the American black community.
1. The welfare state’s destruction of the black family and precipitous rise in illegitimacy:
Most of the major problems that many black people face are not amendable to political solutions and government anti-poverty programs. Let’s look at some. In 1940, 86 percent of black children were born inside marriage, and the illegitimacy rate among blacks was about 15 percent. Today, only 35 percent of black children are born inside marriage, and the illegitimacy rate hovers around 70 percent. Today’s breakdown of the black family is unprecedented. It began in the 1960s with the War on Poverty and the harebrained ideas of the welfare state. In the mid-1960s, Daniel Moynihan sounded the alarm about the breakdown in the black family in his book “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.” At that time black illegitimacy was 26 percent. Moynihan said, “(A)t the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of the Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family.” He added, “The steady expansion of welfare programs can be taken as a measure of the steady disintegration of the Negro family structure over the past generation in the United States.” Moynihan’s observations were greeted with charges of racism and blaming the victim. By the way, the welfare state is an equal opportunity family destroyer. Today’s illegitimacy rate among whites, at nearly 30 percent, is higher than it was among blacks in the 1960s when Moynihan sounded the alarm. In Sweden, the mother of the welfare state, illegitimacy is 54 percent.
See also: Dr. Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals, p. 34, 51-52
See also: Stephan Thernstrom and Abigail Thernstrom, America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible
2. High unemployment among young blacks caused by minimum wage laws:
During the peak of what has been dubbed the Great Recession, the unemployment rate for young adults (16 to 24 years of age) as a whole rose to above 27 percent. The unemployment rate for black young adults was almost 50 percent, but for young black males, it was 55 percent.
Even and Macpherson say that it would be easy to say this tragedy is an unfortunate byproduct of the recession, but if you said so, you’d be wrong. Their study demonstrates that increases in the minimum wage at both the state and federal level are partially to blame for the crisis in employment for minority young adults.
Their study focuses on 16-to-24-year-old male high school dropouts, understandably a relatively inexperienced group of labor market participants. Since minimum wage laws discriminate against the employment of the least-skilled worker, it shouldn’t be surprising to find 16-to-24-year-old male high school dropouts its primary victims.
Among the white males, the authors find that “each 10 percent increase in a state or federal minimum wage has decreased employment by 2.5 percent; for Hispanic males, the figure is 1.2 percent.
“But among black males in this group, each 10 percent increase in the minimum wage decreased employment by 6.5 percent.”
The authors go on to say, “The effect is similar for hours worked: each 10 percent increase reduces hours worked by 3 percent among white males, 1.7 percent for Hispanic males, and 6.6 percent for black males.”
Even and Macpherson compare the job loss caused by higher minimum wages with that caused by the recession and find between 2007 and 2010, employment for 16-to-24-year-old black males fell by approximately 34,300 as a result of the recession; over the same time period, approximately 26,400 lost their jobs as a result of increases in the minimum wage across the 50 states and at the federal level.
Why do young black males suffer unequal harm from minimum wage increases? Even and Macpherson say that they’re more likely to be employed in low-skilled jobs in eating and drinking establishments. These are businesses with narrow profit margins and are more adversely affected by increases in minimum wage increases. For 16-to-24-year-old men without a high school diploma, 25 percent of whites and 31 percent of blacks work at an eating and drinking establishment. Compounding the discriminatory burden of minimum wages, not discussed by the authors, are the significant educational achievement differences between blacks and whites.
See also: Milton Friedman on Minimum Wage
3. The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931:
Mr. Williams distinguished himself in the mid-1970s through his research on the effects of the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931—which got the government involved in setting wage levels—and on the impact of minimum-wage law on youth and minority unemployment. He concluded that minimum wages caused high rates of teenage unemployment, particularly among minority teenagers. His research also showed that Davis-Bacon, which requires high prevailing (read: union) wages on federally financed or assisted construction projects, was the product of lawmakers with explicitly racist motivations.
One of Congress’s goals at the time was to stop black laborers from displacing whites by working for less money. Missouri Rep. John Cochran said that he had “received numerous complaints in recent months about Southern contractors employing low-paid colored mechanics.” And Alabama Rep. Clayton Allgood fretted about contractors with “cheap colored labor . . . of the sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country.”
Today just 17% of construction workers are unionized, but Democratic politicians, in deference to the AFL-CIO, have kept Davis-Bacon in place to protect them. Because most black construction workers aren’t union members, however, the law has the effect of freezing them out of jobs. It also serves to significantly increase the costs of government projects, since there are fewer contractors to bid on them than there would be without Davis-Bacon.
In part two I plan to look at education policies.