What are the real problems in America’s inner cities? Is it all about racism, or could it be a combination of several factors? According to a survey of Chicago parents by the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, poverty, violence, and crime are also some of the biggest concerns in their neighborhoods. Good jobs and capitalism could solve the poverty part of the problem, but if cities make it hard for businesses to come into town or for a local person to start a small business, citizens with little mobility stay poor.
Why wouldn’t these cities want the freest, most business-friendly laws and policies imaginable for their citizens? The answer is often that politicians care very little about their constituents but care deeply about their own power and money.
High taxes, crony capitalism (meaning favors for politicians and others who have the power to give the “right” companies the contracts), excessive regulations, and a culture of “it’s who you know” combine to crush entrepreneurs and small business owners who are not among those favored by the powers that be.
Remember, Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1931. In fact, not only is Mayor Lori Lightfoot a Democrat, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Secretary of State Jesse White, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, and Governor J.B. Pritzker are all Democrats. When one party is in power for such a long time, dissenting voices are not heard. The interests of the monopoly party trump the needs of the community.
In 2018, the University of Illinois at Chicago found that “Chicago [is] the most corrupt city in the country and Illinois [is] the third-most corrupt state.” Government corruption hurts communities in a variety of ways. Businesses don’t want to come to your city if it is corrupt. Corrupt politicians (many aldermen in Chicago’s case) have faced allegations and convictions of receiving kickbacks and favors for signing certain contracts to the businesses giving them the most goodies. These aldermen have had the power to deny building licenses or business licenses for companies unwilling or unable to pay up to the corrupt politicians. Of course, this hurts the poorest neighborhoods the most. Poor people cannot afford such dirty money dealings even if they wanted to engage in such depravity.
Violence and crime cause further poverty. “It can take years, even decades, for businesses to return to neighborhoods that were burned and looted . . . Having begun to emerge from poverty, these merchants are plunged back into it when criminals demolish overnight what they have worked so hard to build.” Without a strong police presence (and I would say moral change to the community), even if store owners are able to rebuild after devastation, they only risk being looted and burned again.
Poverty is not, as the Left would have us believe, owing to a lack of social safety-net funding. “According to the U.S Department of Energy’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey . . . Over 99 percent [of those classified below the poverty level] have a refrigerator, television, and stove or oven. Eighty-one percent have a microwave; 75 percent have air conditioning; 67 percent have a second TV; 64 percent have a clothes washer; 38 percent have a personal computer.” In the United States, most poor people (over 80 percent) have cell phones. People are not living in abject poverty as they do in third world countries, where people are starved for the basic necessities of food, clothing, clean water, and housing.
And let’s not ignore the problem of absentee fathers. Psychology Today notes that children without fathers in their home are susceptible to “diminished self-concept and compromised physical and emotional security, behavioral problems, truancy and poor academic performance, delinquency and youth crime, including violent crime, promiscuity, and teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, exploitation and abuse, physical health problems, mental health disorders, life chances, future relationships, [and] mortality.”
In Illinois, 23 percent of one-parent households are headed by Caucasians. By comparison, 39 percent of Hispanic/Latino households and a whopping 73 percent of African American households are single-parent homes. The numbers are fairly consistent in states with the largest cities. In New York, 64 percent of African-Americans come from single-parent households; in Minnesota, it’s 50 percent; in Pennsylvania, it’s 71 percent; in California, it’s 62 percent, and in Washington, D.C., it is a disturbing 78 percent.
The largest cities in these states have been run by Democrats for years. In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti is a Democrat, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra is a Democrat, Secretary of State Alex Padilla is a Democrat, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis is a Democrat, and, of course, GovernorGavin Newsom is a Democrat.
New York City’s far-Left mayor is Bill de Blasio, nominally a Democrat. The state’s attorney general, Letitia James, is a Democrat, as is Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is a Democrat, of course. The last Republican mayor served in 1910. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine is a Democrat, as is the chairman of the city council, Phil Mendelson, and chairman pro tempore Kenyan McDuffie. In fact, nine of 11 council members are Democrats and the other two are left-leaning Independents.
In Philadelphia, Mayor James Kenney is a Democrat. The city’s last Republican Mayor served in 1952. Pennsylvania Attorney General is Josh Shapiro, a Democrat. Suffice to say, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, and Governor Tom Wolf are all Democrats.
Minneapolis hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1961 (not counting Richard Erdall, who served one day in 1973). Mayor Jacob Frey is a Democrat, as are state Attorney General Keith Ellison, Secretary of State Steve Simon, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, and Governor Tim Walz.
Baltimore and Oakland haven’t had Republican mayors since the 1960s. It’s been more than 100 years since Newark, New Jersey had a Republican mayor.
If Democrats have the answers to inner-city struggles, they have been keeping it to themselves.
What are the real solutions to the real problems facing our inner cities today?
Despite all of these Democrats, the number one factor stopping real progress in the inner city is Republicans. If Republicans can’t figure out how to speak to minority voters, it is pointless to discuss alternative solutions. President Trump has been the first “Republican” in years to really talk to minority voters and also work to pass bills that directly affect them. We need others willing to seize that momentum and work to demonstrate that Democrats have done nothing for the inner cities but hurt them. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then that is exactly what being a minority and voting for Democrats is like. Nothing ever gets better for them, but they continue to vote for Democrats.
Recently, Sean Combs said the “black vote is not going to be for free,” and he should be right! Politicians should be working for the black community as well as all communities if they want our votes. No one should give away his vote without question. All politicians should work a little harder and not assume that they will get our votes just because there is an R or D next to their name.
If Republicans can actually begin having constructive conversations with minorities and inner-city residents, these are just some of the many conservative ideas that can and will help inner cities if implemented:
- Increase self-sufficiency by requiring work or higher education leading to work for welfare. Welfare should not be a life-long benefit unless people are disabled. Welfare should only be a temporary steppingstone to a better future.
- Help churches conduct outreach to families with drug or alcohol abuse issues.
- Finish the border wall on the south and begin one on our northern border to help lessen drug trafficking and gang infiltration. Add more border patrol and Coast Guard for the same reason. Add highly trained policing in the inner cities, and better police import shipments from other countries.
- Seek out corruption in our governance by demanding transparency of all inner-governmental dealings, especially those involving contracts and money.
- Incentivize businesses to open by providing tax breaks, lessen regulation where appropriate, and streamline business licenses.
- Increase policing in heavy crime areas to boost public safety and encourage community involvement. Set up community policing units and neighborhood watches.
- Encourage families to stay together by allowing poor but intact families tax incentives and access to emergency temporary social services.
- Fathers must get back in their homes. For more than 50 years, Democrats have downplayed or outright denied the problem of absent fathers in the poorest (specifically black) families. That needs to stop.
- Encourage the community to respect all lives, especially those unable to speak for themselves. Some 259,366 black Americans are killed by abortion each year, and while half of all pregnancies among black women end in abortion, it is only 16 percent for whites. How does this serve the interests of the black community?
- Incentivize businesses to employ previously incarcerated men and women to help give them a purpose and realize their dignity.
This list is not all comprehensive. Many other conservative moral voices are needed to turn the inner city experience around, but the leftist, immoral, anti-spiritual, anti-family ideals of the Left have created the decay and blight of today’s poorest communities.
Until Republicans realize their best hope for the future is to be conservative missionaries to their fellow human beings, we are doomed to watch the country we love fall into the chaos of the Left. Good luck getting it back.