Between an enlightening article on the plight of Black Americans in the Sunday New York Times and Obama continuing his campaign for a higher minimum wage I’m beginning to think our President may be on autopilot of some type.
I will admit that it is probably much easier for him to keep calling for a higher minimum wage but will that really solve the big problems related to income inequality?
Some may think a higher minimum wage is the silver bullet but after seeing the following facts in the New York Times Sunday article I realized what a big problem we are faced with in this country:
• The net worth of the average black household in the United States is $6,314, compared with $110,500 for the average white household, according to 2011 census data. The gap has worsened in the last decade, and the United States now has a greater wealth gap by race than South Africa did during apartheid. (Whites in America on average own almost 18 times as much as blacks; in South Africa in 1970, the ratio was about 15 times.)
• The black-white income gap is roughly 40 percent greater today than it was in 1967.
• A black boy born today in the United States has a life expectancy five years shorter than that of a white boy.
• Black students are significantly less likely to attend schools offering advanced math and science courses than white students. They are three times as likely to be suspended and expelled, setting them up for educational failure.
• Because of the catastrophic experiment in mass incarceration, black men in their 20s without a high school diploma are more likely to be incarcerated today than employed, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Nearly 70 percent of middle-aged black men who never graduated from high school have been imprisoned.
And as the article writer says… “All these constitute not a black problem or a white problem, but an American problem. When so much talent is underemployed and overincarcerated, the entire country suffers.”
I totally agree with this! You can’t debate these numbers and what they can mean for the future of the country. Unfortunately Mr. Obama seems to be out of touch with these facts. And especially lacking in any real solutions to get things going in the right direction.
The most interesting fact here is that, “The black-white income gap is roughly 40 percent greater today than it was in 1967.”
This is saying that basically all the government programs and the Trillions of dollars spent over the last fifty years may have missed the mark when it comes to moving disadvantaged people up the economic ladder.
But I guess it’s always easier to just write a check than create, implement, and track real solutions designed to make things better in the long run. I truly believe that if the people at the bottom of the economy can move up the ladder it will be better for all of us. Unfortunately more and more evidence is showing that the government programs we have been using are just not working. More money alone will not solve the problem.
And… Just raising the minimum wage will probably make matters worse. As I have pointed out in past articles and especially this one where I show how Mr. Obama’s higher minimum wage will actually profoundly hurt the people he wants to help.
So what’s a possible solution?
Instead of just complaining about solutions to this problem or offering some kind of quick fix (that has not worked in the past) checkbook solution I have a simple Four point plan that could get this situation back on track.
1. Education – It is obvious that without an good education there is little hope of a better life. People complain about how these schools are unsafe and how all the teachers are burned out and more… But I say we mobilize an army of one million grandmas. Lets put them in every classroom to be sure the kids behave, are safe, get their homework done, and the the teachers are actually teaching. These Grandmas would be a formidable force. They will do more good than billions of dollars in wasted government funds. They are the key. What made me think about the Grandma factor? Back in the 1980s the Chinese government was failing miserably at controlling their population which was on track to cause a mass starvation. What did they do? They enlisted the countries Grannys to solve the problem and now China is in little threat of overpopulation.
2. Jobs – Since the beginning of this country wave after wave immigrants have arrived here with no language skills and no education plus they have been called names and discriminated against from the first day of setting foot on US soil. No one was ready to give these hundreds of millions of people jobs so what did they do? They started their own small businesses. They sold fruit, built cabinets, sewed clothing… What ever it took to provide for their families. There was no choice. It was either that or go back to a potentially worse (and maybe deadly) situation back in their home countires. My previous article shows how a simple cleaning lady working on her own can make around $90,000/Year. How can people just go out and start a business? First find a need then start a business to fill it. Need more help then take a look at this great resource to help people with the steps to create a small business. This program has been helping people start businesses since 1966 and has a great track record.
3. Personal Finance – Far too often people earn enough money but because of a lack of basic personal finance skills it is wasted or people are floored by some kind of financial calamity that could have been avoided. I’m talking about Budgets, Insurance, Taxes, Retirement Savings and more. Your state forces you to pass a test to get a drivers license. They need a basic class and test to certify that people can handle money. Without it no amount of income will be enough.
4. Clear Out The Jails – Far too many potentially productive Americans are sitting in prisons. Most are not a threat to their neighbors and want to be better people. Identify the ones who should be set free and let them out with the understanding that if they commit crimes that endanger others again they may not be set free a second time.
All of this will not happen by magic. As with my Million Grandmas Education Improvement idea it is going to take grassroots commitment, involvement, and responsibility. This is how the hundreds of millions of US emigrants worked their way up the economic ladder over the past two hundred years.
And isn’t it convenient that our President started out as a community organizer?
He is just the person we need to head up this unprecedented effort get more people moving up the economic ladder. We will not see results in a week, month or even a year. But I can pretty much guarantee you that with these four ideas put into action with full community support and commitment that in fifty years (probably much less) there will be statistics that we can be proud of.
So what could be holding Mr. Obama back from these kind of positive community based solutions? He surely does not need permission from a near worthless congress to get going on this right now.