In early 2011, the Wall Street Journal had an interview with Walter Williams, an economist at George Mason University. Mr. Williams raises many issues that appear to explain the destuction of the black family, and related metrics that seem to explain the “inequality” that so many in the main stream media chirp about. Here are some key comments made by Mr. Williams:
“We lived in the Richard Allen housing projects” in Philadelphia, says Mr. Williams. “My father deserted us when I was three and my sister was two. But we were the only kids who didn’t have a mother and father in the house. These were poor black people and a few whites living in a housing project, and it was unusual not to have a mother and father in the house. Today, in the same projects, it would be rare to have a mother and father in the house.” Even in the antebellum era, when slaves often weren’t permitted to wed, most black children lived with a biological mother and father. During Reconstruction and up until the 1940s, 75% to 85% of black children lived in two-parent families. Today, more than 70% of black children are born to single women. “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn’t do, what Jim Crow couldn’t do, what the harshest racism couldn’t do,” Mr. Williams says. “And that is to destroy the black family.”
On the economic front, Mr. Williams observes:
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…. 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.
Adding to the economic dimension, Mr. Williams says:
In his first book, “The State Against Blacks,” arguing that laws regulating economic activity are far larger impediments to black progress than racial bigotry and discrimination. Nearly 30 years later, he stands by that premise. The 70% illegitimacy rate is a devastating problem, but it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with racism. The fact that in some areas black people are huddled in their homes at night, sometimes serving meals on the floor so they don’t get hit by a stray bullet—that’s not because the Klan is riding through the neighborhood.”
What I find encouraging is Williams making the comment that:
“If there is anything good to be said about the Democratic White House and the [previous] Congress and their brazen attempt to take over the economy and control our lives, it’s that the tea party movement has come out of it. But we have gone so far from the basic constitutional principles that made us a great country that it’s a question of whether we can get back. “You find more and more black people—not enough in my opinion but more and more—questioning the status quo,” he says. “When I fill in for Rush, I get emails from blacks who say they agree with what I’m saying. And there are a lot of white people questioning ideas on race, too. “
Here is a table from Mary Perry at the Carpe Diem blog. It shows how the breakdown of families and the resulting fallout leads to inequality, which results in a continuation of the destruction of families. A number of studies indicate that blacks are a disproportionate portion of welfare recipients.
Looking at this table, it is clear that there are stong correlations between the following items: Income, two parent families, having a full time job, no jobs at all (negative correlation), and Education (a college degree). As to what is the chicken and what is the egg, I tend to side with Mr. Williams, it’s the destruction of the black family. It’s time to think about different government policies regarding the poor and lower middle class to avoid the inequality that future generations will face. Welfare reform benefits have been hard to see, but with the money that is spent on the Welfare, there has to be a better solution than having people on the government dole.
That being said, being poor in America is not what most people envision.
Finding a durable solution to the Welfare State is a win-win for taxpayers and welfare recipeients.