October 21, 2021

Is There Any Reason to Think This Time Will Be Different?

When public policies have produced disastrous results, and when alternative policies have resulted in immediate, seemingly miraculous improvement, why would anyone want to go back to the earlier policies? Is there any reason to suppose that this time will be different?

Not that I can see. The earlier policies — a pullback from active policing and certain punishment, an open-handed welfare system providing income for single mothers — were put in place in the 1960s, within living memory of some of us. The intentions were good. It was a time of high hopefulness that America’s shameful history of racial discrimination and mistreatment were over.

The public accommodations and employment sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, controversial when passed, were more successful than even their most enthusiastic advocates dared to expect. The justifiably draconian measures of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 resulted almost immediately in full enfranchisement of black Americans.

Some sought more advances. As violent crime rates rose alarmingly among the blacks who had been streaming into cities for 25 years, prison populations actually declined, and police in major cities were reined in. As national unemployment rates fell, births to unwed mothers and welfare dependency rose. In the decade from 1965 to 1975, violent crime and welfare dependency, both heavily concentrated among blacks, nearly tripled — tripled.

For two more decades, crime and welfare dependency remained at the same high levels, sometimes zooming higher. Only with the work-required welfare reform of Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin and the active policing pioneered by Rudy Giuliani in New York in the 1990s did the numbers come sharply down.

Left behind were central-city neighborhoods with burnt-out houses and empty lots; empty and bombed-out storefronts; downtowns and entertainment districts abandoned and boarded up.

Now it looks like we’re starting the same cycle again. The death of a suspect in Minneapolis last May led to a resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests “mostly peaceful” in cities across the country (“mostly peaceful” means “often violent”) and an even sharper rise in murders than after the BLM movement emerged following the 2014 Ferguson, Missouri incident.

Murders were up about 30% in 2020, far above the previous record of a 13% increase in 1968. Police departments are being defunded, effective crime-stopping procedures banned, criminal penalties reduced and low-dollar burglaries left unprosecuted.

We know where such policies led before. Is there any reason this time will be different?

Soft-on-crime policies were exacerbated by a surge in the number of children raised without fathers by mothers on welfare in the decades from 1965 to 1995. Reform, first by Thompson in Wisconsin and then by Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton in the 1996 welfare bill, required mothers to work.

Social workers’ focus was changed from handing out more checks to helping moms get and hold jobs. The results: Welfare rolls plummeted; teen births plunged; kids raised by working moms did better in school and in life.

Liberals have tried to stealthily roll back the reforms. They’ve been joined by some cultural conservatives, worried about population decline and eager to encourage potential parents with modest educational credentials and skills.

These include Sen. Mitt Romney, who supports a child allowance that is fully refundable — which is to say that government will send a check to parents, married or unmarried, who have no income tax liability to offset. His and other proposals have a high cutoff, so affluent parents wouldn’t get anything.

Conservative supporters worry about the nation’s birth rates, sharply down since the 2007-08 financial crisis and even lower in 2020, and point out that many young people tell pollsters they’d like more children than they end up having. The fear is that America would end up like Japan, with an elderly population, a stagnant economy and stunted innovation.

A version of this, limited to one year, has been inserted in the “COVID relief” bill of President Joe Biden’s administration. A single parent with two kids, working or not, could qualify for $7,200 a year plus $6,400 in food stamps. Advocates argue recipients would keep working because benefits wouldn’t be reduced by wages earned.

Mickey Kaus, renegade liberal blogger, argues that that’s nonsense. “(A) large subset of recipients will go from one worker to zero workers.” That means “millions of kids growing up in fatherless homes, where nobody goes into the labor force, where the mainstream world of employment is a foreign country.”

Past experience says he’s right and that, as with high crime, the people most hurt will be black Americans. I can’t see any reason this time will be different, and I look ahead with dread.

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.

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Greg (@guest_1167227)
7 months ago

It’s the Democrats way we feed you all the room we take care of you and you vote for us and what we’ll do is will keep everybody dependent on the government even if it’s just to take care of those who vote for us it’s so simple

Martha (@guest_1167248)
7 months ago

This is the year when America will become the United Communist State of America!!!

Have a nice future ahead of you, millennials and all the rest of the sheeple!!!!!

richard (@guest_1167270)
Reply to  Martha
7 months ago

IT WILL BE ”’ THE SOCILISTIC STATES OF AMERICAN ” call it what it is

Steven Blessie (@guest_1167273)
7 months ago

THIS CONGRESSMAN SPOKE THE TRUTH THIS HAS GOT TO STOP GET THEM OUT PUT TRUMP BACK.

Jim (@guest_1167281)
7 months ago

**SNIFF & BLOW GOTTA GO! TIME TO DITCH BIDEN AND HARRIS!**

WE THE PEOPLE (aka SILENT MAJORITY) have had countless opportunities to have stopped this nightmare, but we chose instead to give the DEMOCRATS what they expected of us, to REMAIN SILENT! Thus, making us equally complicit in the fraud perpetrated against United States Americans!

Isn’t it time you actually did something, took action?

I strongly urge everyone who reads this to PICK UP THE PHONE and call your REP AND SENATORS in DC and DEMAND a COMPLETE AUDIT AND INVESTIGATION into the 2020 ELECTIONS and for the IMMEDIATE IMPEACHMENT OF BIDEN AND HARRIS.

BIDEN is completely UNFIT FOR OFFICE! And they both (BIDEN & HARRIS) have family members putting them both in a CONCLICT of interest position advertising and promoting their businesses and using their VP and POTUS both as an advertising self-interest, self-promoting position and it is ILLEGAL!

People should write these numbers down and use them frequently even if you don’t think your elected officials listen, they are required to note your comments for the permanent record in their caller database for anyone to see.

Members of the House
202-224-3841

Members of the Senate
202-224-3121

TOLL FREE:
866-272-6622

One call per rep!

Keep in mind: SILENCE = ACCEPTANCE

1Redlady (@guest_1167315)
7 months ago

Congress.gov
House.gov
Whitehouse.gov
If you want to send an e-mail to a congress person in another state do not change the state in the box. I type my complete address on the address line and leave their state in the box. That way my concerns are noted across many states to those other Congress people not doing their jobs.

Susan Staley (@guest_1167670)
7 months ago

It has to be different this time, enough is enough. Stand tall with President Trump, with respect and a hard line for the Democrats to cross. Have to be verbal, or we will lose American. There feelings, NO. HOW ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMPS FEELINGS AND THE ENTIRE GOP. I WILL NOT BE QUIET ANYMORE. WE ALL KNOW HES THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB. DONT BACK DOWN.

Billy (@guest_1169009)
7 months ago

Democrat’s want total power any wat they can buying votes is their major way of doing business. Close the Border send them home we can not afford this cancel agenda. No more pencil whipping legistration. Maybe the Supreme court will reverse these leftist agenda’s. We are very close to a communist/Dictatorial country.

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