City Journal Summer 2014

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Summer 2014
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Heather Mac Donald
Back to the Future on Poverty Policy « Back to Story

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Good stuff. Too often I see incomplete statistics which point out proportions of certain behaviors witin selected groups, but fail to boucne them against the population. It takes poitical courage to confront abhorrent behavior in one's electorate. Not sure why though. Parents, especially fathers, do this all the time.
Excellent article. But,I do have a question. With all the studies out there on how important a father is in the home, a mature, responsible, father, what keeps the mayor, etc. from pointing to the elephant in the room...lack of moral fiber in the affected communities? Does government really want these communities to raise moral individuals and intact families or do they want victims so it can create more bureaucrats running the programs?
Unfortunately, there is another issue in the news, and it is being ignored. It is called Flash Mob Violence.

The great healer and unifier (as his minions on the Left see him) should be out IN FRONT of this issue -- not because he’s black, or black and white, or any color -- but because he’s the “leader” of this country. But where is Obama?!? Campaigning (allegedly) in middle America to curry favor with rural white middle class voters who are fleeing him in droves because his policies destroy America. And now he’s off to Martha’s Vineyard -- talk about an abdication of leadership.

Our self-proclaimed “post-racial” prez needs to come out from under his campaign and vacation umbrellas -- it‘s raining cold hard violence out here. Let’s just hope Obama isn’t allowing this issue to fester because he drinks “from the cup of bitterness and hatred” Dr. King warned us about...
Great interview on Bill Bennett's Morning in America!

Here are some stories now in the news that are related to yours...

This story and link was mentioned on Rush yesterday…
What is the difference between slaves on plantations and blacks who blindly vote for Democrats?
http://hillbuzz.org/2011/08/18/what-is-the-difference-between-slaves-on-plantations-and-blacks-who-blindly-vote-for-democrats/

Leadership from the newest member of the Congressional Black Caucus -- this man has courage!
GOP Rep. West Urges Black Voters To Follow 'Underground Railroad' Away From Democrats -- FoxNews.com
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/08/18/gop-rep-west-urges-black-voters-to-follow-underground-railroad-away-from/
Well, there you have it, friends. This wonderful human being, Heather MacDonald, an employee for a Right Wing think tank and with no real work experience whatsoever has figured out the solution. It isn't education or training. It's those unwed moms.
MSNBC: 1 in 5 US moms have kids with multiple dads, study says

"One in five of all American moms have kids who have different birth fathers, a new study shows. And when researchers look only at moms with two or more kids, that figure is even higher: 28 percent have kids with at least two different men...

...The new data, pulled from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, shows that this kind of family structure is found at all levels of income and education. And it’s frequently tied to divorce and remarriage, not just to single motherhood, Dorius says. Forty-three percent of the women with kids with multiple dads were married when their first babies were born. Dorius found that a multiple-father type of family structure was more common among minority women, with 59 percent of African-American mothers, 35 percent of Hispanic mothers and 22 percent of white mothers reporting children with more than one father."

While Ms. McDonald focuses on the following unsubstantiated observation - "But men who have fathered several children by several different women—the dominant pattern of inner-city 'multipartner fertility' today" - as study after study (such as the one cited at the beginning of this post...) consistently bears out, the "dominant pattern of inner-city 'multipartner fertility'" is driven not by male choices in these areas, but by female choices.

What of the family planning choices in ghetto households headed by unmarried mothers, grandmothers and aunts, Ms. MacDonald? Why do you choose to ignore them?
"The breakdown of the family lies behind all other urban dysfunction."

Well, not really.... I am all for "bourgeois" values, mind you, but there is a lot more at work here than cultural norms. Even before the breakdown of black families caused by The Great Society (et seq.), blacks were known for their anti-social (e.g., violent) proclivities. No social revolution will change the underlying constraints upon black social behavior. The same is true, albeit to a lesser extent, among Hispanics (et al.). Whether the likes of Bloomberg and Soros actually believe the nonsense that they are preaching, or are merely pitching pocket change (from their shared perspective, as plutocrats) to underscore their "street cred" as allies in the anti-majority cause, I cannot say with certainty. An underlying psychiatric condition that they share in common is certainly not something that may be ruled out, out of hand....
The issue that is continually missed is the correlation between low marriage rates and low employment rates of minority men in the "inner city" (I hate that term, but oh well...). As long as there is an economy that does not engage black and latino men out, the marriage rates of these men will continue to be low.

Commenter Sidney Raphael also made a fantastic point. We live in a society where these men are not seen as equal partners in family rearing. Instead, these men are treated solely as a source of income for a single mother. Poor women are encouraged to take the father of their children to family court, not to establish a good relationship with him. Marriage will also not be a priority unless the dynamics between poor minority men and women are improved.

In his speech, Bloomberg almost parodically presented family breakdown
as a “health” issue rather than a moral one.

Editor please...

If I acknoledge the right for you bigots to call me a nigger, will that make
you feel better?

I doubt it. On most days, I'd probably take it like Jackie Robinson, like I
always have, however, there might be an occasional day wherin I might be
inclined to knock the teeth out of your head*, thus demonstrating that I don't
know my place and I can see how that might be problematic.

If it will make any of your agrieved selves feel better, call me a nigger,
to my face, 99 times out of a hundred, you will walk away with a full
compliment of teeth as I have demonstrated time and time again an ability
to take one for the team.

After you get that out of your system, we can have a discussion about the
real causes of our problems.

*It has yet to happen by the way.
Read or re-read "The Bell Curve". Permanent membership in the Underclass is a lot more than just the absence of a paycheck or the absence of a male parent.
No amount of money will change that. I can sell my house and take the half million dollars I will get for it and send my dog off to Harvard. He may come back with a diploma (ok, so make that Columbia instead of Harvard), but he'll still come back a dog.
"To think that a governmental program can cure a social dysfunction is like saying a first aid kit can cure cancer."

I know, Ms. Mac Donald's idea of having the government promote marriage is completely ludicrous.
In the old days, cultures encouraged or even required a man to marry and be responsible for his family. While it'd be draconian today to force at the end of a shotgun a marriage, some extremely strict measures may be necessary. It's hard to get the father to pay child support when he has no visible means of income.

The easiest way to encourage marriage would be to stop paying women (in the form of Welfare benefits) for having kids out of wedlock. Then it's in the woman's own best interests to avoid pregnancy until after the wedding.
too true

Heather, can't wait to hear what you have to say on the riots and looting in London and elsewhere in the UK.
I agree with the author. As a native New Yorker, I watched as one hare-brained liberal scheme after another failed to work. The problem was that these programs were concoted by wealthy limousine liberals who had no understanding of how the underclass lives or how basic human nature works. Fom their high falutin' ivory towers and doorman-protected buildings, they thought that throwing money at the ghetto would solve every problem.
These idiots need to review their past failures first. Then they need advice and suggestions from people who are from or been in these neighborhoods. Otherwise they are just throwing away more taxpayer dollars. And last I checked the tax-paying middle class had completely abandoned NY.
After 30 years in and around govt social programs, the only ones that work are those that the staff has cared about the clients. Where no personal careing is offered there is only failure. That careing relationship must also instill self-discipline and a new set of values to be permenant. Of course, not every client will accept the careing and will not change.

what is being talked about is brokeness -- broken families, broken relationships and broken lives. Another program that does not address the brokeness will fail. JP
The abject devotion of liberals to failed ideas from the past may be, looking at Bloomie and Soros as people, may have something to do with their sense of ego and desire for applause than whether an idea has merit. After all, things are different this time (because it's me doing it). Just wait unitl you see my wonderful creations!

The creation of dependence certainly is a handy way to ensure office and a role. The worst thing that could happen to a liberal is for some lower class person to take charge of their lives and no longer need the attentions and supervision of their betters.
The baby-mama/baby-daddy lifestyle has to be made into a financial hardship. Cease the gravy train of benefits, cash, subsidized housing, etc ...

Once it becomes extremely uncomfortable, it will stop.

The anodyne language (interact, engage, welcoming) used in these government pronouncements should embarass every taxpayer. Such is feel-good mush for city agency employees, while hiding in plain sight the failure to deal with the plain facts of urban dysfunction. Like addicts, the first step to solving the problem is to admit you have one. If the City believes it is responsible for solving social dysfunction, then it must admit to the problem it is setting out to tackle.
or else they'll riot like in Newark '67 or London today?
Note: In 1967 Mayor Tom Dunn of Elizabeth,NJ issued a "shoot the rioters" order. Result: There were NO riots in Elizabeth while neighboring Neward continued to burn.
What an incredibly stupid essay. I particularly like the the part about every city agency coming up with a plan for promoting marriage. That should work really well.
To think that a governmental program can cure a social dysfunction is like saying a first aid kit can cure cancer. It is the height of hubris to think that much impact can come of this. I question how it is permissable that a governmental program is aimed at benefitting a defined group of citizens (not all citizens) and be seen as constitutional. Why shouldn't there be a program aimed at poor Bengali or Albanian imigrants?
Bloomberg and his ilk have to turn to this because they cannot turn to God. Devout religious practitioners have lower rates of all the bad stats and higher rates of all the good stats. We've known this for generations. Take Utah: They have the lowest level of out of wedlock pregnancy - in the US. Not a coincidence. Utah has the lowest drunk driving rate in the US. Utah has one of the highest marriage rates, and one of the highest educational attainment rates in US. And it IS a result of the belief system of the majority of it's citizens.
Thank you for this excellent article.

Unless Bloomberg gets Family Court to listen to his message and relent its terrorism toward fathers, there's no chance men will sign into any of his programs. I'm a white guy whose wife dragged us through family court during our child's youth. Each visit was a reminder of how fathers are devalued, demeaned and stomped on by Family Court. One day I visited a large hanger where fathers were processed to allow the Court to extort more money from them. Maybe 95% of the fathers were black and Hispanic. Can you imagine how favorably black and Hispanic fathers view the City's efforts to recruit them after they've visited Family Court?
There are "blessings" or significant advantages to being married. Living a life absent those blessing is living a "cursed" lifestyle. Who will be brave enough to use the "c" word.
I'm not clear why Heather hates job training programs. ("Of course it doesn't help to train people for jobs! Because if they don't know what they're doing NOW, how can it help to train them for something in the future?")

Regardless, though, I really like the one amazingly redundant point she makes, though.

"But men who have fathered several children by several different women—the dominant pattern of inner-city 'multipartner fertility' today"

Well, let's start with the obvious question: Do you have a study that shows this? Because I think you're just pulling that out of your butt.

But, in fact, I'm willing to concede the point. Because it's easier for a man to have multiple children by several women, because unless the woman gives up every child for adoption, she has less time to spend having more babies if she's taking care of the first one.

So, in the end, what she's saying is essentially the same as "But cars that actually run—the dominant cause of traffic jams today" - sure, it's a point, but somewhat blindingly obvious, isn't it?
No government program is going to solve the problems of poverty or other social ills. Its impossible! It just cannot work. It doesn't matter how well meaning the program may think its providing to people.

Social work should never be done by the government. It's only made things worse since the government took over many things from private charities. Only private charity has a chance of working.

We are not only wasting another $60 million of tax money (and the private money as well), but it still doesn't serve the poor.

Too be honest, helping the poor is too important to society to be left to the government. If Soros and Bloomberg want to help the poor they should do it without the city. The private money alone, spent privately, would likely be more effective then the combined private and public money spent publicly.
A small army of discontented citizens, which will be fed more garbage about the evil capitalistic society, that has cheated them all their lives.Many of them have watched their parents living off the welfare programs for year and are very happy to stay in system.Perhaps you should order brown shirts for new camp meetings.Maybe you should start with parents, find their fathers.
Just when I was seriously contemplating moving to New York! Glad to see that the Mayor will contribute some of his own funds to those of unwilling taxpayers.
Bloomburg's plan will not work, just as the Great Society programs did not work, the anti-poverty programs did not work, the welfare giveaways did not work, and the pay-them-to-succeed programs do not work. After school programs did not work, pregnancy prevention programs did not work, enrichment programs did not work and family counseling did not work.
Despite all these efforts to help, black communities continue to fail. Black family life continues to fall apart. Black students continue to underperform. Black school districts and black cities go bankrupt. And black businesses are few and far between. Why does the black community continue to fail and lag behind newer ethnic arrivals to America?
Other immigrant groups manage to get up into the Amerian middle class in three generations but the black community is now more than ten generations post-slavery. And they didn't even have to learn a foreign language.
A small army of discontented citizens, which will be fed more garbage about the evil capitalistic society, that has cheated them all their lives.Many of them have watched their parents living off the welfare programs for year and are very happy to stay in system.Perhaps you should order brown shirts for new camp meetings.Maybe you should start with parents, find their fathers.
A small army of discontented citizens, which will be fed more garbage about the evil capitalistic society, that has cheated them all their lives.Many of them have watched their parents living off the welfare programs for year and are very happy to stay in system.Perhaps you should order brown shirts for new camp meetings.Maybe you should start with parents, find their fathers.
Strange that Bloomberg would be so smart in business and so breathtakingly ignorant in this area. Could his marital status be affecting his thinking? I know that's a wild surmise but I can't think of any additional reason other than massive misuse of controlled substances.
Well Heather - I believe you nailed the YMI effort right out of the gate.