Monday, July 20, 2015

Class Issues in America Masquerading as Race Issues

As usual I'm gonna start off by attacking leftists, socialists, and statists for their stupidity by claiming the issues in the ghetto are race issues. The issues in the poor neighborhoods of America (whether white or black) are not race issues, but class issues. The problem is that we've created a permanent underclass with no class mobility or a mechanism of class mobility that's illegal. In my estimation, there are three key factors in the poor communities of America that MUST be dealt with in order to fix these problems:
1. The drug war and drug sentencing laws.
2. The incentives structures that discourage honest work or entrepreneurial behavior.
3. The lack of a family structure among the poorest communities.

Problem #1: Drug War and Drug Sentencing Laws:
I've previously spoken about the retarded nature of the drug war and how the drug war is the biggest national security threat to the US, but in this post, I'll be sticking to the discussion of its social impacts on the lower classes. First off, those charged of drug use tend to heavily skew towards the lower classes even if we do adjust for income. Basically, those in the lower classes get charged for drugs more often than those in the upper classes even though people in both classes still have similar issues with drug use.

Secondly, those of higher classes who do get charged using drugs can afford better lawyers, live in better areas, and can find/afford ways to avoid jail time and other excessive charges. Those in the poor communities without a proper family structure that either grow up with dead-beat fathers, single-parent households where there's no one to look after them, or those who don't have the ability to afford good lawyers due to monetary issues face the brunt of the damage. Keep in mind that almost all American prisoners are in jail for non-violent crimes.

Selling marijuana or cocaine on the street may be wrong, but if there's no violence involved, there's absolutely no reason why a 20 year old kid deserves jail time. It's not only wrong, but it's an active destruction of a person's life/future that doesn't benefit society in any way. If someone has real issues with drugs, throwing them in jail won't solve the problem because once they're out of jail, you're stuck with the same problem except they've spent more time in jail and lost a real portion of their lives wherein they could've been bettering themselves.

Problem #2: Incentive Structures Discouraging Education, Honest Work, or Entrepreneurial Behavior:
Under current incentive structures, many of those under welfare would actually lose income if they worked more for reasons including the taxation of new income and the elimination of previous benefits from new income. Of course, those who're currently on welfare tend to be the poor and those from poor families. If some kid in the family decides he's gonna start working for income, sure enough the family's income drops because of welfare cuts. So what does the kid do: not work, sit on his ass, and end up doing things that may not be productive (ex. drugs, gangs, violence).

So what if some kid has an idea that he could make and sell something on the street corner by setting up his own shop? Well, of course we need "regulation" and he'd need authority from a "regulatory body" to do that, so his shop gets taken down in the name of the "law". Of course, some leftist would claim "profit is evil and makes people worse" or some other nonsense to justify it, but such arguments only help eggheads hellbent on maintaining power in the name of "safety".

Of course, not only do these incentive structures affect the poor disproportionately from a first-order perspective, but they also prevent businesses and investors from investing in large areas with heavy poor populations. They discourage genuine investment that could actually provide the people in these communities with skills to improve not just themselves, but their entire communities in a self-organizing manner AND they eliminate profit opportunities for businesses.

In the case of education, the public schools in poor neighborhoods are absolutely awful. Private schools cost money that the poor simply do not have and due to the monopoly of schooling as per the way school districts are drawn up, there is simply no other option for poor kids other than to go to shitty schools with other kids that have similar backgrounds as them. Sure enough, a disproportionate amount of these children end up in crime, drugs, violent backgrounds, and end up in the same family issues as the ones they come from.

Problem #3: The Lack of a Family/Support Structure:
In areas with a heavy poor population, there tends to be a lacking family support structure. Of course, the middle and wealthy classes tend to have are less children, intact families, and a better support structure in general while the poor do not. The one stability in my life has always been my family and when we have troubles, those closest to us are the ones who're most likely to help.

In the poor communities, there's not much of a family structure so there's not much support if something goes wrong. When you have a father who's not at home alongside an uneducated mother on welfare who keeps popping out kids and has no clue of family planning, each and every child ends up being strained for resources (not only material, but also personal). Sure enough, this causes issues in a child's education, in a child's future ability to accumulate assets, and in future income potential.

In the end, the poor kids end up having no way out, get stuck where they are, and opportunities rapidly disappear as these children get older. Those who're in situations like this are far more likely to end up in drugs or crime simply because there is no real way out.

The lack of a family structure IS THE BIGGEST problem facing the lower classes. Improper leadership available for boys/young men and girls/young women stacks the barriers for these kids so high that there really is no way out.

Leftist Solutions Provide No Real Solutions:
Again, I'm gonna attack leftists, socialists, and statists for having no real solutions to this problem. Leftists always claim (correctly) that a lack of basic education is a major problem for those in poor communities. However, their solutions for education involve more direction from the federal government and centralization of education. Clearly, if the parents or families aren't involved in the kid's life, how can we ensure the kid gets a good education? This isn't just an issue for the poor, but for others. Leftists have also vehemently been against school choice with regards to issues like school vouchers. Naturally, the solutions of giving more power to those in power and relying on "trust" or "democracy" or "equality" while telling people mindlessly what to do is not gonna work, but this is what leftists, socialists, and statists rely on.

Secondly, there's the issue of "regulation" and incentive structures. Very few ideas proposed by leftists, socialists, and statists do anything to fix the real problems regarding incentive structures. Instead, on issues like education the first response of leftists is to throw more money at it, which solves none of the underlying problems. On issues regarding entrepreneurial or business activity in these areas, leftists actively want to discourage entrepreneurial or business activity that could actually lift entire poor regions out of poverty and provide some semblance of class mobility.

Thirdly, leftists do nothing at all to try and fix the problems of a lack of a basic family structure. Instead, the solutions usually involve increasing welfare and government handouts, which exacerbate the underlying problem. Leftists, socialists, and statists also attack religious organizations who actually provide/help community connections across a community. They're often against charter schools because of "religion" and a "state establishment of religion", which is just blatantly false. In many poor communities, it's the churches, temples, etc. that're the only organizations working for communal good and justice. They're the only things keeping kids off the streets and into community building projects. Discouraging these types of activities is foolish.

Another issue in regards to solutions provided by leftists involves labor issues like labor unions or high wage policies. Naturally, those that get screwed the most by high wage policies are gonna be those who don't provide businesses the productivity to pay for the higher wages necessary. Sure enough, these are going to be the poor.
Note: The effects of minimum wage and high wage policies depend on the capital structure of the businesses involved, which means capital intensive businesses won't be affected very much. Needless to say, smaller scale businesses tend to be more labor intensive, particularly those in very poor areas.
Note #2: I'm NOT arguing against high wage or a minimum wage policy. I'm just saying we need to be careful WHERE and HOW these policies are implemented. I'm also VEHEMENTLY arguing against one size fits all policies in this regard.

In the case of labor unions (mainly public sector unions), teachers unions have consistently been opposed to support for charter schools and school vouchers. Other public sector unions (ex. police unions) have consistently been against for drug sentencing laws, the drug war, and opposed to sensible ways to deal with drugs. Clearly, the actual solutions force us to break public sector unions like teachers and police unions, but leftists consistently trump how important unions actually are.

Although I've attacked leftist solutions to fixing class issues, the actual solutions aren't that complicated. Simply put, the solutions are:
1. End the drug war
2. Shift incentive structures for businesses to encourage opportunities in poor communities (ex. removing income taxes, remove structures discouraging honest work)
3. Shift incentive structures for entrepreneurial activities and wealth accumulated via honest work by the poor (don't require senseless "regulations" to prevent the "evils of profit" or other nonsense)
4. Break the unions actively trying to destroy these communities (ex. police unions, teachers unions) and ruin their power
5. Break regulatory structures discouraging genuine investment in poor communities (ex. placing "regulations" on hiring some kid on welfare)

Sure enough, leftists and socialists would only argue to solution (1), but strongly fight against all of the others while statists would fight all five. The solutions to fixing the real problems are relatively simple, but most are vehemently fought by certain groups that mostly support the left.

The real problems--as I've diagnosed above--aren't really race issues, but class issues. They affect those that're white, black, hispanic, or whatever given that those children are from poor communities. To say that these are race issues takes us further away from fixing the real issues while we end up fighting about complete and useless nonsense.


  1. Although I lean to the left, I do agree with you that people are more divided by class than race. Was this post inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement showing up at the 2015 Netroots Nation event, where they disrupted a session involving ex-Governor Martin O'Malley and Senator Bernard Sanders?

    Anyway - there was a book recommended by Daniel Kuehn not too long ago called Sharing the Prize: The Economics of the Civil Rights Revolution by Gavin Wright. I've yet to read it myself, but from what I've gathered from excerpts, it seems that the reforms of the 1960ies did help both black and white Americans. Where did the Great Society go wrong?

    1. This post wasn't motivated by the Netroots Nation event.

      I think the Great Society really screwed a lot of things up in the way they handled Social Security and Medicare. They really fucked up incentive structures.