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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Legacy of the Welfare State

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In a recent column, Walter Williams questions the idea that the problems faced by black Americans are a "legacy of slavery," while at the same time raising another possibility that too many miss or ignore:

According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year 11 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers. Today about 75 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers.
LBJ_PovAct.jpg
LBJ signing the Poverty Act.
Is that supposed to be a delayed response to the legacy of slavery? The bottom line is that the black family was stronger the first 100 years after slavery than during what will be the second 100 years.

At one time, almost all black families were poor, regardless of whether one or both parents were present. Today roughly 30 percent of blacks are poor. However, two-parent black families are rarely poor. Only 8 percent of black married-couple families live in poverty. Among black families in which both the husband and wife work full time, the poverty rate is under 5 percent. Poverty in black families headed by single women is 37 percent. The undeniable truth is that neither slavery nor Jim Crow nor the harshest racism has decimated the black family the way the welfare state has.

The black family structure is not the only retrogression suffered by blacks in the age of racial enlightenment. In every census from 1890 to 1954, blacks were either just as active as or more so than whites in the labor market. During that earlier period, black teen unemployment was roughly equal to or less than white teen unemployment. As early as 1900, the duration of black unemployment was 15 percent shorter than that of whites; today it's about 30 percent longer. Would anyone suggest that during earlier periods, there was less racial discrimination? What goes a long way toward an explanation of yesteryear and today are the various labor laws and regulations promoted by liberals and their union allies that cut off the bottom rungs of the economic ladder and encourage racial discrimination. [bold added, format edits]
Williams goes on to note that most black politicians support the government programs that thwart initiative or enable idleness. I leave it to the reader to consider whether those politicians see this as a bug or a feature.

-- CAV

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