Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Economist Walter Williams explains how to not be poor

Economist Walter Williams

Economist Walter Williams

Here is his article on wealth and poverty on Creators.

First, there is no real poverty in the United States:

There is no material poverty in the U.S. Here are a few facts about people whom the Census Bureau labels as poor. Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, in their study “Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America’s Poor”, report that 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning; nearly three-quarters have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have one or more computers. Forty-two percent own their homes. Poor Americans have more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the U.K. What we have in our nation are dependency and poverty of the spirit, with people making unwise choices and leading pathological lives aided and abetted by the welfare state.

Second, the “poverty” is not caused by racism, but by poor choices:

The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 35 percent and among whites at 13 percent. The illegitimacy rate among blacks is 72 percent, and among whites it’s 30 percent. A statistic that one doesn’t hear much about is that the poverty rate among black married families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8 percent. For married white families, it’s 5 percent. Now the politically incorrect questions: Whose fault is it to have children without the benefit of marriage and risk a life of dependency? Do people have free will, or are they governed by instincts?

There may be some pinhead sociologists who blame the weak black family structure on racial discrimination. But why was the black illegitimacy rate only 14 percent in 1940, and why, as Dr. Thomas Sowell reports, do we find that census data “going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery … showed that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. This fact remained true in every census from 1890 to 1940″? Is anyone willing to advance the argument that the reason the illegitimacy rate among blacks was lower and marriage rates higher in earlier periods was there was less racial discrimination and greater opportunity?

Third, avoiding poverty is the result of good choices:

No one can blame a person if he starts out in life poor, because how one starts out is not his fault.

If he stays poor, he is to blame because it is his fault. Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior. It turns out that a married couple, each earning the minimum wage, would earn an annual combined income of $30,000. The Census Bureau poverty line for a family of two is $15,500, and for a family of four, it’s $23,000. By the way, no adult who starts out earning the minimum wage does so for very long.

Fourth, what stops people from making good choices is big government:

Since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the nation has spent about $18 trillion at the federal, state and local levels of government on programs justified by the “need” to deal with some aspect of poverty. In a column of mine in 1995, I pointed out that at that time, the nation had spent $5.4 trillion on the War on Poverty, and with that princely sum, “you could purchase every U.S. factory, all manufacturing equipment, and every office building. With what’s left over, one could buy every airline, trucking company and our commercial maritime fleet. If you’re still in the shopping mood, you could also buy every television, radio and power company, plus every retail and wholesale store in the entire nation”. Today’s total of $18 trillion spent on poverty means you could purchase everything produced in our country each year and then some.

Walter Williams is one of my two favorite economists, the other being Thomas Sowell. By sheer coincidence, they both happen to have grown up poor, and they both happen to be black. They understand what causes poverty very well. I recommend their books to you if you want to understand poverty, too.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , ,

Should blacks vote for Democrats? Do liberal policies help young black men?

I want to quote from two black economists – my two favorite economists – to answer some questions.

First, Thomas Sowell.

Economist Thomas Sowell

Economist Thomas Sowell

Is minimum wage good for young blacks?

He writes:

Low-income minorities are often hardest-hit by the unemployment that follows in the wake of minimum wage laws. The last year when the black unemployment rate was lower than the white unemployment rate was 1930, the year before there was a federal minimum wage law.

The following year, the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 was passed, requiring minimum wages in the construction industry. This was in response to complaints that construction companies with non-union black construction workers were able to underbid construction companies with unionized white workers (whose unions would not admit blacks).

Looking back over my own life, I realize now how lucky I was when I left home in 1948, at the age of 17, to become self-supporting. The unemployment rate for 16- and 17-year-old blacks at that time was under 10%. Inflation had made the minimum wage law, passed 10 years earlier, irrelevant.

But it was only a matter of time before liberal compassion led to repeated increases in the minimum wage to keep up with inflation. The annual unemployment rate for black teenagers has never been less than 20% in the past 50 years, and has ranged as high as over 50%.

You can check these numbers in a table of official government statistics on page 42 of professor Walter Williams’ book “Race and Economics.”

Incidentally, the black-white gap in unemployment rates for 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds was virtually nonexistent back in 1948. But the black teenage unemployment rate has been more than double that for white teenagers for every year since 1971.

Second, Walter Williams.

Economist Walter Williams

Economist Walter Williams

Is voting for black leaders good for blacks?

He writes:

Black leaders stress the importance of political power and getting out the vote, but we might ask how important political power is to the ordinary black person. As a start toward answering that question, we might examine black life in cities where blacks hold considerable political power.

Detroit is the nation’s most dangerous city. Rounding out Forbes magazine’s 2013 list of the 10 most dangerous cities are Oakland, Calif.; St. Louis; Memphis, Tenn.; Stockton, Calif.; Birmingham, Ala.; Baltimore; Cleveland; Atlanta; and Milwaukee.

According to a recent American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, the 10 poorest cities with populations of more than 250,000 are Detroit, with 33% of its residents below the poverty line; Buffalo, N.Y., 30%; Cincinnati, 28%; Cleveland, 27%; Miami, 27%; St. Louis, 27%; El Paso, Texas, 26%; Milwaukee, 26%; Philadelphia, 25%; and Newark, N.J., 24%.

In addition to poverty, there is grossly inferior education and high welfare dependency in these cities.

The most common feature of these cities is that for decades, all of them have had Democratic administrations. Some cities — such as Detroit, Buffalo, Newark and Philadelphia — haven’t elected a Republican mayor for more than a half-century.

What’s more is that in most of these cities, blacks have been mayors, chiefs of police, school superintendents and principals, and have dominated city councils.

[…]Let’s be clear about what I am saying and not saying. I am not suggesting that there’s a causal relationship between crime, poverty and squalor on the one hand and Democratic and black political power on the other. Nor am I suggesting that blacks ought to vote Republican.

What I am saying is that if one is strategizing on how to improve the lives of ordinary — and particularly the poorest — black people, he wants to leave off his high-priority to-do list the election of Democrats and black politicians. Also to be left off the to-do list is a civil rights agenda.

Perhaps the biggest roadblock to finding solutions is the widely held vision that the major problem confronting blacks is discrimination. I am not arguing that every vestige of discrimination has been eliminated. I am arguing that the devastating problems facing a large proportion of the black community are not civil rights problems. The solutions will not be found in the political or civil rights arena.

And third, more Walter Williams.

Is focusing on the few cases where a white police officer shoots a black man good for blacks?

He writes:

Excerpt:

Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Using the 94-percent figure means that 262,621 were murdered by other blacks.

Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation’s population, they account for more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it’s 22 times that of whites.

Coupled with being most of the nation’s homicide victims, blacks are most of the victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault and robbery.

The magnitude of this tragic mayhem can be viewed in another light. According to a Tuskegee Institute study, between 1882 and 1968, 3,446 blacks were lynched at the hands of whites. Black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and all wars since 1980 (8,197) come to 18,515, a number that pales in comparison with black loss of life at home.

It’s a tragic commentary to be able to say that young black males have a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities.

Not everyone who runs around crying “racism, racism” is interested in helping blacks to do as well as other racial groups.

Blacks will do well, just as they used to do, when the political parties in power embrace free-market capitalist policies, such as lowering the minimum wage, or scrapping it entirely. Blacks will do well, just as they used to do, when we strengthen and subsidize natural marriage – by repealing no-fault divorce and reforming welfare for single mothers. Blacks will do well, just as they used to do, when we make public schools more responsive to parents, and less responsive to teacher unions. And so on.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Eric Holder’s DOJ finds officer Darren Wilson innocent in Michael Brown shooting

Ferguson protesters shut down highway

Ferguson protesters shut down highway

Normally, I would not post on this, but I think I must because of the way that the mainstream media and the culture as a whole swallowed a narrative that bashes police officers, and by extension the rule of law, and even the responsibility that criminals bear for their own actions.

Hot Air introduces the Department of Justice’s findings:

The DOJ — Eric Holder’s DOJ — is clear as can be that it thinks Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown.

[…][The DOJ report] was a considered argument that not only is Wilson not guilty of a federal civil rights charge, he’s not guilty of a criminal offense of any sort. Had Wilson gone to trial, he could have submitted this as his motion to dismiss and the court might well have torpedoed the indictment before opening arguments.

Hot Air extracts some of the most interesting parts of the report, and I am injecting some photos of “hands-up” Democrats in between the findings.

Page 82:

Wilson’s version is further supported by disinterested eyewitnesses Witness 102, Witness 104. Witness 105. Witness 108. and Witness 109. among others. Those witnesses all agree that Brown ran or charged toward Wilson and that Wilson shot at Brown only as Brown moved toward him. Although some of the witnesses stated that Brown briefly had his hands up or out at about waist-level, none of these witnesses perceived Brown to be attempting to surrender at any point when Wilson fired upon him. To the contrary, several of these witnesses stated that they would have felt threatened by Brown and would have responded in the same way Wilson did. For example. Witness 104 stated that as Wilson ran after Brown yelling “stop, stop. stop.” Brown finally turned around and raised his hands “for a second.” However. Brown then immediately balled his hands into fists and “charged” at Wilson in a “tackle run.” Witness 104 stated that Wilson fired only when Brown moved toward him and that she “would have fired sooner.” Likewise. Witness 105 stated that Brown turned around and put his hands up “for a brief moment.” then refused a command from Wilson to “get down” and instead put his hands “in running position” and maned running toward Wilson. Witness 105 stated that Wilson shot at Brown only when Brown was moving toward him. These witnesses’ accounts are consistent with prior statements they have given, consistent with the forensic and physical evidence, and consistent with each other’s accounts. Accordingly. we conclude that these accounts arc credible.

Democrats:

Democrats say "hands up!"

Democrats say “hands up!”

Page 84:

When the shootings are viewed, as they must be, in light of all the surrounding circumstances and what Wilson knew at the time, as established by the credible physical evidence and eyewitness testimony, it was not unreasonable for Wilson to fire on Brown until he stopped moving forward and was clearly subdued. Although, with hindsight. we know that Brown was not armed with a gun or other weapon, this fact does not render Wilson’s use of deadly force objectively unreasonable. Again. the key question is whether Brown could reasonably have been perceived to pose a deadly threat to Wilson at the time he shot him regardless of whether Brown was armed. Sufficient credible evidence supports Wilson’s claim that he reasonably perceived Brown to be posing a deadly threat. First. Wilson did not know that Brown was not armed at the time he shot him, and had reason to suspect that he might be when Brown reached into the waistband of his pants as he advanced toward Wilson. S

[…]While Brown did not use a gun on Wilson at the SUV, his aggressive actions would have given Wilson reason to at least question whether he might be armed, as would his subsequent forward advance and reach toward his waistband. This is especially so in light of the rapidly-evolving nature of the incident. Wilson did not have time to determine whether Brown had a gun and was not required to risk being shot himself in order to make a more definitive assessment.

Democrats:

Another Democrat says "hands up"

Another Democrat says “hands up”

Here’s a witness who was disqualified:

Witness 101 is a 22-year-old black male who was walking in the middle of Canfield Drive with Brown when they encountered Wilson. Witness 101 made multiple statements to the media immediately following the incident that spawned the popular narrative that Wilson shot Brown execution style as he held up his hands in surrender. These media interviews occurred prior to Witness 101 giving his two statements. First, FBI and SLCPD jointly interviewed Witness 101 on August 13. 2014. in the presence of Witness 101’s mother. Witness 101’s two attorneys, and an individual who explained that he was in charge of Witness 101’s personal security. Witness 101 subsequently testified before the county grand jury.

After pointing out all the inaccuracies and inconsistencies in his testimony, the report concludes:

Witness 101 has a misdemeanor conviction for a crime of dishonesty likely admissible in federal court as impeachment evidence. As described above, material parts of Witness 101’s account are inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence. internally inconsistent from one part of his account to the next, and inconsistent with other credible witness accounts that are corroborated by physical evidence. It is also unclear whether Witness 101 had the ability to accurately perceive the shootings. Witness 101 likely crouched down next to a white Monte Carlo as Wilson chased Brown. The Monte Carlo was facing west with a view of the passenger side of the SUV. Brown ran in the opposite direction that the Monte Carlo was facing. Witness accounts vary as to whether Witness 101 was ducking for cover on the passenger side of the Monte Carlo with his back to the shooting, or whether he fled the scene prior to the final shots being fired. Both Witness 101’s inconsistencies and his ability to perceive what happened, or lack thereof, make his account vulnerable to effective cross-examination and extensive impeachment. Accordingly, after a thorough review of all of the evidence, federal prosecutors determined material portions of Witness 101’s account lack credibility and therefore determined that his account does not support a prosecution of Darren Wilson.

Now, I want you to think about what it meant that the mainstream media in this country, and their allies in the Democrat party, were able to cause riots, vandalism, crime, and all manner of unrest because of a lie. Did you fall for it? Do you know anyone who did? I would like to think that the same people who went rioting will hear about this from their favorite media propagandists, but I don’t they they will. After all, getting to the truth is the last thing the media wanted to do. They won’t cover the correction to their lies. They wanted to cause divisions, and prop up the Democrat party as the savior of colored people.

I recommend that everyone watch this 15-minute TED.com talk with Sharyl Attkisson: (H/T Drew)

For the record, my skin color is about the same as Sheila Jackson Lee, above.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , ,

One of the murdered NYPD police officers was a chaplain-in-training

The rhetoric of the leftist mob

The rhetoric of the leftist mob

Nancy Pearcey shared this story from the Christian Post about Officer Ramos.

Excerpt:

Officer Rafael Ramos was passionate about serving God and saw his work as a police officer as a form of ministry; he would have been commissioned as a lay chaplain this past Saturday, the day he was killed.

Ramos was shot and killed execution style along with his partner, Wenjian Liu, on Saturday by a lone gunmen who took his own life inside a New York City subway station after committing the double murder.

Rev. Marcos Miranda, the president of the New York State Chaplain Task Force where Ramos was studying to be certified as a chaplain, remembers the officer as kind man.

“It was an honor to have him (Officer Ramos),” Miranda told The Christian Post. “He had just taken the 10-week course and was a faithful member of his local church, Christ Tabernacle. He was due to graduate this past Saturday, where we graduated 144 chaplains. Ramos would have been a lay leader and been endorsed by his denomination.”

“I will remember his kindness the most — even the kindness in his eyes — in our talks, he asked what I thought of him being a police officer, and I said it was an honorable job. He said he thought it was ministry because he was helping those in need. He never thought he could be a chaplain, he saw himself doing this type of ministry after he retired from the NYPD. He was very excited about that possibility,” Miranda added.

Miranda is not the only person to remember Ramos’ faith and passion for the Lord.

“My cousin had a couple of priorities in his life,” Ramos’ cousin, Ronnie, told The Wall Street Journal on Sunday. “One was God, because he was a God-loving man. I wish I could be half the man my cousin was. He was sweet. He didn’t deserve to die.”

[…]Ramos turned 40 this month and was due to graduate from a community-crisis chaplaincy program, which was incredibly important to the father of two.

Ramos’ 13-year-old son, Jaden, posted a heartfelt message about his father on Facebook, which has since gone viral.

“He was the best father I could ask for,” Jaden wrote. “It’s horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer. Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people that they call for help. I will always love you and I will never forget you. RIP Dad.”

Why did these two minority men, one Hispanic, one Asian, get shot?

Famous black economist Thomas Sowell has the answer in his latest column.

He writes:

Mayor de Blasio has made anti-police comments with Al Sharpton seated at his side. This is the same Al Sharpton with a trail of slime going back more than a quarter of a century, during which he has whipped up mobs and fomented race hatred from the days of the Tawana Brawley “rape” hoax of 1987 to the Duke University “rape” hoax of 2006 and the Ferguson riots of 2014.

Make no mistake about it. There is political mileage to be made siding with demagogues like Al Sharpton who, as demagogue in chief, has been invited to the White House dozens of times by its commander in chief.

Many in the media and among the intelligentsia cherish the romantic tale of an “us” against “them” struggle of beleaguered ghetto blacks defending themselves against the aggression of white policemen. The gullible include both whites who don’t know what they’re talking about and blacks who don’t know what they’re talking about, either, because they never grew up in a ghetto. Among the latter are the president and his attorney general.

Such people readily buy the story that ghetto social problems today — from children being raised without a father to runaway murder rates — are “a legacy of slavery,” even though such social problems were nowhere near as severe in the first half of the 20th century as they became in the second half.

You would be hard-pressed to name just five examples from the first half of the 20th century of the kinds of ghetto riots that have raged in more than 100 cities during the second half. Such riots are a legacy of the social degeneracy of our times.

Calling this social degeneracy “a legacy of slavery” is not just an excuse for those who engage in it, it is an excuse for the ideology of the intelligentsia behind the social policies that promoted this degeneracy.

Let those who have laid a guilt trip on people in our times, for evils done by other people in past centuries, at least face their own responsibility for the evil consequences of their own notions and policies. If they won’t do it, then the rest of us need to stop listening gullibly to what they are saying.

I wonder if the leftist leaders who demonized the police feel sorry for what they did now. I know that they want to claim now that they never meant things to go this far, but things did go this far. And I think that there is a direct connection between the rhetoric of the leftist leaders and the deaths of these police officers. Maybe instead of complaining about the police, they should complain about how subsidizing single motherhood with welfare and repealing welfare reform causes fatherlessness, and how fatherlessness causes young men to commit crimes. But they can’t do that, because that’s where their votes come from – government dependency.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jacqueline C. Rivers: we need to fix the black out-of-wedlock birth rate

Here is her article from the Public Discourse.

Excerpt:

Despite the determined pursuit of marital unions by freed people, enduring patterns of non-normative male-female relationships had been created by the devastating experience of slavery. These bore bitter fruit in the 25-percent out-of-wedlock birthrate that prompted the Moynihan Report in 1965. The Moynihan Report was an examination of the pathologies created by the explosion of father-absent households among the black poor in the United States. Though the report recommended the creation of programs that would promote healthy families among impoverished blacks, it elicited an outpouring of outrage at the assertion that stable marriages were necessary for the flourishing of the black community. As a result, little action was taken to rectify these problems. Fifty years later, the out-of-wedlock birthrate among blacks in the United States has soared to over 70 percent, a level at which it has stood for roughly a decade. The material, moral, and spiritual consequences are precisely what Moynihan predicted they would be: devastating for the community.

And:

Black children have suffered the most as a result of the decline of marriage in the black community. The deleterious effects of being raised in single-headed households have been well-documented. Children growing up in female-headed households experience higher rates of poverty. These children underperform in school: they earn lower scores on verbal and math achievement tests and lower grades in their courses. They have more behavioral problems, and higher rates of chronic health and psychiatric disorders. Adolescents and young adults raised without stable families experience elevated risks of teenage childbearing, dropping out of high school, being incarcerated, and being idle (being neither employed nor in school). Yet, even in the midst of this disarray, men and women still long for marriage. Research shows that though marriage has declined among poor women from different racial backgrounds, they, no less than affluent women, desire to be married even as they bear children out of wedlock.

Now, of course she is wrong to blame the out-of-wedlock birth rate increase on “slavery”. It’s was actually caused by the Democrats’ “Great Society” welfare programs, which rewarded people with money if they had children out of wedlock.

Here are the numbers:

Black marriage rates from 1970

Black marriage rates from 1970

So it’s just political correctness to blame “slavery” for something that was clearly caused by feminism (you don’t need a man to raise a child) and the introduction of massive welfare programs that pay women to have babies out of wedlock. The rest of what she says is accurate though.

If you pay poorer people of any race to have babies out of wedlock, they will do it. To stop them from doing it we should be paying poor people to finish high school, stay out of jail, and get married before having children. We should be paying for success, not failure. But then the Democrats would lose a lot of votes from those who are 100% OK with dependency on government. In a very real sense, Democrats cannot urge women to get married, because they would be undermining one of their largest voting blocs: single mothers.

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

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