A Queer Alliance Against Free Speech...
The Problem is Liberalism, Not Racism|
March 29, 2014
When Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., went off on Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., for his
remarks that “We have got a tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in
particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking
about working or learning the value and the culture of work,” the wrong part of
what she had to say got all the attention.
The big buzz that Congressional Black Caucus member Lee generated was her
accusation that Ryan’s remarks were a “thinly veiled racial attack.”
But the part of her remarks I found most interesting was: “… Mr. Ryan should
step up and produce some legitimate proposals on how to tackle poverty and
racial discrimination in America.”
Paul Ryan has been one of the most creative and courageous policy thinkers in
Washington in recent years.
Ryan sat down with me for an interview shortly before he ran for vice president
in 2012 (the interview is on my organization’s website, www.urbancure.org). His
thoughtfulness and compassion came through loud and clear, and he zeroed in on
the core of a problem I have been talking and writing about for more than 20
years – government programs that not only do not solve problems but make
I stepped into this whole business of public policy from my own experience with
welfare. I saw that the welfare program that operated in this country from the
1960s until it was reformed in 1996, that required women to not work, not save
and not get married in order to qualify for their welfare checks, was a most
efficient mechanism to destroy family and perpetuate poverty.
So it should come as no surprise that single-parent black households tripled as
a percentage of all black households from the 1960s to today.
Where Barbara Lee is right is that this is not about race. What it is about is
The racial aspect comes into play in that black political leaders, like
Congresswoman Lee, overwhelmingly embrace liberalism, progressivism, welfare
statism – whatever you want to call it – that has failed and caused untold
damage in the very communities they claim to want to help. And they refuse to
ever learn. Their answer to every problem, despite prior experience, is more
government, more taxpayer dollars.
When real reformers like Paul Ryan come along, they get branded racist.
In a column I wrote a couple years ago, I pointed out that the 41-member
Congressional Black Caucus were uniformly Democrats, had a 100 percent
re-election rates, and the average poverty rate in these Congressional Black
Caucus districts was 20.3 percent and the average child poverty rate 28.8
percent – both well above national averages.
Economist Walter Williams has pointed out that, in America’s top-10 poorest
cities with populations more than 250,000, “… for decades, all of them have been
run by Democratic and presumably liberal administrations. Some of them – such as
Detroit (now the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history), Buffalo,
Newark and Philadelphia, haven’t elected a Republican mayor for more than half a
century. What’s more is that, in some cases for decades, the mayors of six of
these high-poverty cities have been black Americans.”
Again, the point is not that the mayors of these cities are black. It is that
they are liberals. And black politicians, like Congresswoman Barbara Lee,
overwhelmingly are liberals, and they remain liberals, despite a long and
consistent track record of failure.
When welfare was reformed, liberals like Barbara Lee fought it.
It is pure self-absorption for any interest group to think it is all about them.
America is in real trouble today, and we’re all in this together.
Ms. Lee talks about “code words.” Her code word is “racist,” which means
someone, like Paul Ryan, who wants to make Americans of all backgrounds better
off by giving them more freedom, more choice, more responsibility and less
Star Parker is president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, and
author of the recently re-released "Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government
Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can Do About It,"
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