Sunday, July 21, 2013

Let's Have A National Dialogue About Race

For the last week, we’ve been plagued by Talking Heads and politicians wanting to have “a national dialogue about race”.

That’s a great idea. We’ve got good people of all races in the U.S. I just finished putting in a long weekend’s work with a crew of mostly black guys who went at it so hard that I almost wept out of gratitude. So let’s start with this. Black folks are only 14% of our population in the U.S., but make up almost 40% of the prison population. The overwhelming majority of these incarcerations are because of the NixonObama Drug War. We could end this war tomorrow if we had the political will. But there are more than one million government employees and contractor employees who would lose their jobs if we were to do so.

Many of these people are behind bars because they consumed or sold marijuana. Have you ever seen the black street gangs who support themselves by selling Budweiser, Jim Beam or Coors Light? No? Well, neither has anyone else for the last 90 years. We ended Prohibition, and we ended the violence.

I know a lot of black guys who like to smoke weed. Unless they’re driving one of my forklifts, or semi-tractors, their habits are none of my business. Or your business. Or Barack’s or Boehner’s or Rick Perry’s. I do know that “stoned” drivers are safer than drunk drivers, but that’s beside the point. If someone isn’t hurting you, he should be left alone to live life as he pleases, and not hectored to death by a gaggle of Washington puritans and their prison contractors.

Let’s have a national dialogue about race.

Let’s talk about black education. Young black males, depending on who you talk to, are dropping out of school at a rate somewhere around 50%. This is not an act of despair on their part. In many cases, it’s a calm rational response to what they (and many others) perceive as a total waste of time. I often meet and hire high school graduates who can’t read a tape measure, can’t do long division, and can’t spell well enough to fill out their own job applications.

But why should someone put in “seat time” in an institution that is failing in its mission? (And “seat time” is how our government schools are ranked for funding.) If black families were given a choice in where their education dollars go, like we are currently given a choice in where our grocery dollars go, we would see a revolution in minority education and minority achievement. This is a solved problem. But can you imagine the wailing from the Department Of Education if, say, Texas were to institute a 100% school choice/school voucher system? Can you imagine how far that would go toward ending white flight from our cities and into the suburbs?

Let’s have a national dialogue about race.

Black teenage unemployment is at 50%, the highest it has been since World War II. Why? Because our government has priced black teenagers out of the market.

Arthur Laffer has written that “The minimum wage is the black teenage unemployment act. The guaranteed way of holding the poor, the minorities and the disenfranchised out of the mainstream is to price their services too high.” Our first minimum wage law, the Davis-Bacon Act, was written for the sole purpose of guaranteeing full white employment at the expense of blacks. It was openly debated in those terms in Congress. Here’s Walter Williams (a brilliant economist who just happens to be blacker than both Barack Obama and George Zimmerman combined) explaining why this law, unlike so many other social engineering schemes, has been uncommonly successful:

“Put yourself in the place of an employer and ask: If I must pay to whomever I hire $7.25 an hour, plus mandated fringes such as Social Security, vacation, health insurance, unemployment insurance, does it pay me to hire a worker who is so unfortunate so as to have a skill level that allows him to contribute only $5 worth of value an hour? Most employers would view hiring such a person a losing economic proposition.

Therefore, the primary effect of a minimum wage law is that of discrimination against the employment of low-skilled workers.

Teenagers tend to be low skilled. They lack the experience, knowledge and maturity of adults. That means they will be the primary victims of a minimum wage law. But why are black teens more heavily impacted than white teens? Black teens are far more likely to come from broken homes and attend some of the worst schools in the nation. Therefore, a law that discriminates against the employment of low-skilled workers will have a greater impact on black workers. Moreover, the minimum wage subsidizes racial discrimination. After all, if you must pay $7.25 an hour to whomever you hire, you might as well hire people you like the most, even if they are of identical skill.

The little bit of money a kid could earn after school and on the weekends is not nearly as important as the other benefits from early work experiences. Any kind of job, paying any wage, teaches a youngster that he must be on time, respect supervisors, develop good work habits, plus there's the self-esteem and pride that comes from being at least financially semi-independent. Early work experiences benefit any kid but are far more important for kids from broken homes, who reside in crime-ridden neighborhoods and attend rotten schools. If they are to learn anything that will make them a more valuable employee in the future, it will have to come from work; they won't learn it at home or in the schools. For Congress to enact higher and higher minimum wages, to benefit their union supporters, is shameful and cruel.”

Well said, sir. (BTW, Williams put that bit about the union supporters in there because many government labor contracts are expressed in multiples of the current minimum wage.)

So let’s have that national dialogue about race. Let’s talk about the incredibly destructive (but profitable for government employees) War On Drugs. Let’s talk about the dismal failures (with incredible pensions and job tenure) in our public schools. Let’s talk about the economic apartheid enforced by our government.

Yeah. Let’s have that national dialogue about race. But instead of watching politicians digest the news and shit platitudes, let’s really start talking about how to improve things.

So where should we start?


MingoV said...

We also can talk about Asian-Americans whose academic achievements in high school are rewarded by denying them entry into universities because they are over-represented.

We also can talk about Native Americans who were encouraged to stay on reservations. They did not integrate into American society, they mostly live in squalor, and the schooling of their children is mediocre at best. Most families live on federal subsidies such as SNAP (Food Stamps) and Medicaid, and it is highly likely that their children's families will do the same.

We also can talk about white Americans, most of whom have shown time and time again that they are comfortable with other races and are not bigots. Despite this, over a third of African-Americans belief that most whites are racists. Whites exhibit the least racism in American; African-Americans exhibit the most.

Anonymous said...

Let's also talk about biological differences. I think there's enough data to have that chat too.

But we won't-- that would be waycist.