Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in his article talks about Ferguson not as a racial skirmish but as one fueled by the inequity of the have and have nots. He derides rich people who wish to stop the flow of food stamps. (Actually rich people like food stamps. See below.) To the extent that those rioting and looting in Ferguson are poor and disenfranchised he is correct. Black unemployment is twice that of white unemployment. Opportunity in this country, not only for Aftrican-Americans but for everyone is far less than it should be. Wages for those who are working are deflated and their value 23% less than they were just 6 years ago. For millions of Americans it makes more economic sense to stay at home and collect benefits than to get a part time job.
Government policy has made subsistence living (living on government programs) more profitable than employment. It has also reduced the incentives for small employers to grow by penalizing their success with higher taxes, higher insurance costs (Obamacare), and more regulation. Why should a business expand when the cost of hiring a new employee exceeds the added value that employee can contribute to the business.
A recent study of the influence of the general population on governmental policy found that average individuals, those that make up the vast majority of the American electorate have essentially no influence on the policies that have made so many lives difficult. It is big business and high net worth folks that are controlling these policies. These policies are designed to strengthen the profits of large companies and to shied these same companies from competition.
The most egregious example of this is the push by large employers to open our southern border to illegals. They want cheap labor and are willing to hang everyone else out to dry to get this. Cheap labor means those working lower end jobs are out of work and on government benefits. Cheap labor means higher corporate profits, and less benefits to pay. Illegal labor means no social security taxes on the workers, or worker’s comp. This creates big profits at the expense of poorer Americans across the board.
Higher coal regulation protects energy companies and the Saudis. Laws against fracking protect the Saudis and foreign oil. Laws protecting territories protect the cable companies from competition. The result of these, Obamacare and 1000s of other laws is a depressed economy devoid of opportunity and upward mobility. These same laws mean that companies don’t really need to compete for the best talent. This depresses wages and enhances profits.
My only contention with Mr. Abdul-Jabbar’s article is that stopping the flow of food stamps makes people seek a less dependent method of survival. Big money likes food stamps because it keeps people from demanding opportunity. When food stamps becomes a way of life it deprives the recipients of dignity and the desire to be more. It is those that are currently disenfranchised who if the structure of governmental dependence and control were dismantled would benefit the most. Remove the influence of industry and the wealthy on policy and free people to seek their own best interest. This would reverse the trend toward increasing poverty by opening up opportunity, not just for African-Americans but for everyone.
This country has lost sight of what freedom is all about. Since when did the Federal Government become out economic master?