Capitalizing on escalating racial tensions, the Democratic Party has doubled down on its efforts to promote racial economic “equity” in recent months as one of the foremost issues driving their policy agenda.
Having gained full control of both Congress and the White House in 2020, Democrats hope to use their newfound governmental power to implement various policy proposals with the specific aim of raising up underserved black and minority communities.
Thus far, however, this agenda appears to be producing the reverse effect.
Additionally, multiple experts believe, if allowed to pursue their most touted policy goals, Democrats may indeed create an even wider divide in economic outcomes between blacks and whites in the U.S.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, black unemployment rose sharply in February — Joe Biden’s first full month in office — from 9.2 percent to 9.9 percent.
During the same period, all other racial groups (white, Hispanic and Asian-American) saw declines in unemployment, with the overall U.S. jobless rate falling to 6.2 percent as the economy began its recovery from months of government-led lockdowns, Bloomberg reported.
Conversely, under the more conservative agenda of Trump, the American economy set a record-low for black unemployment rates, reaching 5.4 percent shortly before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in October of 2019.
This reversal under Biden is thought to be driven by the lingering effects of pandemic lockdowns (support for which was overwhelming left-wing).
As noted by the Wall Street Journal back in June, black Americans were hit especially hard by lockdowns due to their “disproportionate representation in less secure jobs.”
“Even when unemployment was low, African-Americans’ overall economic situation was fragile. As a group, they had less job security and wealth than whites, leaving them especially vulnerable when the economy shut down,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
Going forward, with the goal of righting these inequities, the Democratic Party is actively pursuing (and in some cases, already implementing) policies that will carry disparate, negative impacts for low-skill workers which, in turn, will exacerbate the black/white economic divide in America, according to multiple economists.
$15 Minimum Wage
Although recent efforts to include a minimum wage increase in the coronavirus relief bill have been quashed, leaders in the Democratic Party haven’t yet given up on the controversial policy.
Chuck Schumer voiced as much in a statement regarding the failed effort, saying “We are not going to give up the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15” according to a March 1 article from Vox.
Vox further noted that whether through “a standalone compromise bill with Republicans down the line” or “establishing a tax penalty that incentivizes large corporations” to institute $15 minimum wages, Democrats are “scrambling to figure out how they could still push for some kind of minimum wage increase.”
The implementation of such a policy would fly in the face of the left’s equity agenda by economically throttling the black community, multiple economic experts told The Western Journal.
According to Walter E. Block — a prominent economist currently serving as a professor of economics at the College of Business at Loyola University New Orleans — many of today’s disparities in unemployment rates were created by “the advent of the minimum wage law in 1937.”
“Nowadays, due to [minimum wage laws], the unemployment rate of black teens is quadruple that of white middle agers,” Block told The Western Journal.
“Why? More of the latter than the former have productivity levels higher than the level stipulated by this pernicious law.”
Robert Wenzel — another prominent economist and author currently serving as both editor and publisher of Economic Policy Journal — echoed Block’s sentiment, noting that black-teens and black youth are the most adversely affected by minimum wage laws.
“A high minimum wage has always been an attack on low-skilled workers. It prevents them from getting that all-important first job because the high minimum wage is likely to be higher than what they produce in revenue for an employer. This means they can’t get in the door to develop their skills,” Wenzel told The Journal.
“Because of the poor public school education in the inner cities, these low-skilled workers are often black youth. It is no wonder that the unemployment rate in the United States is the highest for black teenagers. The minimum wage is destroying, the opportunity for them to get an early jump in the work environment.”
If black teens and other groups comprised of low-skilled workers were allowed to “get in the door to develop their skills,” this would likely serve to help the community, in general, gain more marketable skills, which would, to some degree, lessen the economic divide between whites and blacks.
Instead, if Democrats are successful in implementing a higher minimum wage, it will serve as yet another barrier preventing such workers from getting a job in the first place.
Another obstacle preventing low-skilled workers in the black community from getting jobs is increases in competition — increases which are being brought about by Joe Biden’s lax immigration policies, many of which have been covered in The Western Journal’s ongoing series of reports “Erasing the Line.”
Tuesday’s addition to the series revealed the impact many of Biden’s early policy decisions have already had, with one spokeswoman from Sen. Ted Cruz’s office telling The Western Journal “the Biden administration has completely blindsided the state of Texas.”
“It is dumping migrants at the feet of state and local officials without proper information and resources,” the spokeswoman told The Journal on Monday.
Furthermore, the report notes that the current influx of migrants is causing concerns with government officials.
Michael Meade, the acting assistant director for field operations at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, reportedly said the influx is expected to “grow over the coming months” should Biden’s administration maintain its current course.
Increases in illegal immigration such as this have been shown to come at especially great cost to black American workers.
George J. Borjas, a professor of economics and social policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, explained as much in a 2016 article for Politico.
Borjas’ work on immigration — which shows that increases in immigration produce lower wages and higher unemployment for American citizens — was often cited by Trump.
While Borjas notes that Trump overlooked that “the influx of immigrants can potentially be a net good for the nation,” he nevertheless admits that “not everyone benefits when immigrants arrive.”
“[B]ecause a disproportionate percentage of immigrants have few skills, it is low-skilled American workers, including many blacks and Hispanics, who have suffered most from this wage dip,” Borjas wrote.
“The monetary loss is sizable. The typical high school dropout earns about $25,000 annually. According to census data, immigrants admitted in the past two decades lacking a high school diploma have increased the size of the low-skilled workforce by roughly 25 percent. As a result, the earnings of this particularly vulnerable group dropped by between $800 and $1,500 each year.”
While immigration “has barely affected the total wealth of natives,” Borjas’ research indeed shows that the “losers” are “the workers who compete with immigrants, many of those being low-skilled Americans.”
The Conservative Solution
The confluence of the aforementioned Democratic policies — economic lockdowns, minimum wage increases and immigration expansion — may soon create further impediments to black economic mobility.
For this reason, many conservatives and political moderates have been critical of the left’s racial “equity” agenda from the get-go.
While many proponents of equity claim “racism” and bias is driving the black/white economic divide, divides between racial groups are often attributable to a numerous variables, including group differences in behavior, demographics and so on.
Another set of variables, conservatives argue, is government-created incentives.
These incentives often arise as unintended consequences of left-wing policies created to reduce poverty.
For example, as mentioned before, while minimum wage laws are intended to create higher wages for low-skilled workers, they instead prevent low-skilled workers from entering the market to begin with.
In addition, the most decried example of counterproductive government incentives is the welfare state.
Most free-market supporting individuals agree: government subsidies meant to alleviate poverty create perverse incentives for poor individuals and families to remain jobless — or at least to remain below a certain income threshold — lest they lose their right to said subsidies.
Removing these incentives would create more opportunities for underserved communities, allowing them to start climbing the economic ladder by gaining market skills.
Put simply, the conservative solution for bridging economic disparities is more freedom and less government intervention.
Both of which being philosophies utterly antithetical to the Democratic Party’s current “equity” agenda.
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