Wednesday, 22 June 2011

High Unemployment and Black America

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The economy remains the biggest political issue today. In many respects, it is always the most important issue for African Americans. Polling data suggests that on socially conservative issues, African Americans are among the most conservative blocs of voters in America. Gallup polling data suggests that on these socially conservative issues, black America is as conservative as Republicans.  Why, then, is black America so much in thrall to socialist statism, which invariably embraces amorality on abortion, adultery, gay marriage, and so on.

Much of the reason is the dependence which black America has to these socialist statists. If black Americans were able to rise into the middle class or above, like Herman Cain and other bright stars, then the need of black voters to support statism would begin to evaporate. Who, then, would lose most if the unemployment rate which is at a very high 9.1% among Americans generally and much higher at 16.2% among black Americans, would plummet?

The unemployment rate for black men, who cannot access the same social welfare programs that black women whose children are born out of wedlock can access, is actually higher than these welfare moms. Black men have an unemployment rate of 17.5% and for black teens the unemployment rate is 41%. 

The response from politicians is more of what has failed. In East Harlem, for example, the job training program called STRIVE uses drill sergeant techniques to help improve job hunting techniques. David Johns of the Community Service Society says "If you haven't connected with the world of work by the age of 25, it's a permanent problem for the rest of your career. Unless you have a skill coming out of high school, in this society, in this economy, you will not be able to find a job."

Christopher Scott, a 20-year-old black man, who got his G.E.D. last year, has not been able to find a job. "It makes me feel degraded in a way because at 20, I should be more independent," Scott says. Jermaine Christian, who works as a busboy in a New York restaurant making $5.50 an hour, says:  "I became more or less desperate and took anything I could find."

What obstacles might be taken away from these young black men so that they could be economically viable? Organized labor raises the cost of labor by a layer of well paid union bosses and lawyers, as well as political contributions paid ultimately by union members to keep government on the side of the unions. Right to work helps eliminate this artificial obstacle to blacks entering the job market, and those sorts of reasonably well-paying jobs which healthy young black men could do, like construction work, would be more open if unions could not limit work to dues paying members.

Coal mines and oil fields also offer well paying jobs for healthy, but relatively unskilled men — black and white. But when federal environmental regulations close down coal mines and restrict drilling for oil or using new technology to extract oil from shale, then young black men who would jump at the chance for a good paying job suffer more than any other group in our society.

ObamaCare and federal meddling in health care provided by corporations also creates an artificial barrier to otherwise modestly skilled or unskilled black job seekers. This also causes companies to keep their employee count low, their hours worked per week depressed, and otherwise keep the costs of mandatory health care by private employers down by simply not hiring workers. It is estimated that 800,000 jobs will be destroyed in the next decade because of Obamacare, and it is a cinch that a disproportionate percentage of those jobs will be jobs that would have been filled by young black Americans. Job safety mandates, workers compensation systems, and a host of other government requirements for private employers has the consequence of simply keeping the least economically useful workers out of the job market, and that means young black men in today’s economy.

Young black men also must compete with illegal immigrants who are not covered by many of these federal and state programs and who work just as hard as young black men. Although stopping the influx of these workers would increase job opportunities for black Americans, the very politicians so loudly championing the need for programs and funding to provide jobs for black America are also the most reluctant to curtail illegal immigration or repeal Obamacare or reduce job regulations which keep employment low or lower environmental regulations which kill jobs.

The government often professes to care most for those whose lives it savages most utterly. Most black young men vote against their own best interests and so the rate of unemployment for these Americans is probably going to get a lot higher unless the direction and size of government is changed dramatically.