Some time back, liberal Thomas Frank wrote the book What's the Matter With Kansas, arguing that ignorant rubes in Kansas had been bamboozled by those evil Republicans into voting against their own economic interests. Why should moderate-income Kansas voters support low taxes and reduced regulation when they would supposedly benefit from government programs which would be funded by these new taxes?
We believe that Kansas voters don't trust government program to actually benefit them - they have enough horse sense to realize that the only way big government benefits individual citizens is by selling shortcuts around the rules in return for campaign contributions. Kansas voters would rather make their own decisions, thank you very much, and don't have the cash to compete with Wall Street crony capitalists.
We also think that Kansas voters would rather go through life believing that they have a chance at becoming wealthy, which requires low taxes and looser regulations. We think we understand why Kansas voters often vote against Democrats, at least at the Federal level.
What we have a very hard time understanding is, why do black voters pull the lever for Democrats? Since at least the 1960s, virtually every major Democrat policy has wrought destruction across the board, but the damage has been far worse for black Americans than for anyone else.
Although liberals proclaim far and wide that the minimum wage has to be large enough to support a family on a 40-hour work week, the truth is that very few people attempt to do that. Most people who get minimum wage are just starting out in the work force; they don't have a family yet, and anyone with a lick of common sense knows they can't afford one.
Anybody who gets a minimum wage job and who has enough gumption to marry and start a family probably also has enough gumption to get promoted pretty soon. Minimum-wage jobs are not intended to be careers and never have been; they're simply the first step on the ladder, not a seat to sit on your entire life.
We don't want people to be satisfied with a minimum-wage job. Isn't the American dream all about bettering yourself? At one time, 2/3 of Americans had their first job experience flipping fries at McDonald's, mostly at minimum wage; how many of those youthful fry-flippers are still there? Basically none, and that's as it should be.
Aside from the inherent incentives of a low minimum wage, there's overwhelming evidence that raising the minimum wage reduces the number of jobs available at the low end of the labor market. The Wall Street Journal reported on a study by the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth:
One of the striking findings was that most adults who worked at the minimum wage did so for a relatively short time: Over 70% of them had no further minimum-wage job after two years. Almost all them held higher-paying jobs at some point, including ones they held while working at another that paid a minimum wage.
The problem with a high minimum wage is that anyone who isn't worth that much per hour can't get any job at all. By boosting the minimum wage, liberals saw off the bottommost rungs of the economic ladder and condemn many to permanent unemployment.
Blacks ought to recognize that part of the reason for the very high unemployment among young blacks is that they can't get started because they aren't worth minimum wage. Who wants to take a chance on hiring a half-illiterate gangbanger whose pants hang below his underwear?
Many of these kids, though disadvantaged and badly raised, are not yet hardened criminals; there is hope for them. If minimum wage were lower, at least some of them could find some sort of work, develop good employee habits and a new wardrobe, and start climbing.
Liberals' policies trap many blacks in a permanent underclass utterly dependent on government hand-outs. This straightforward economic fact is so obvious that there are times when we think they're doing this on purpose.
Whenever businesses asks Congress let them recruit more skilled foreigners to work in the United States on H1-B visas, liberals scream that businesses want to take jobs away from American workers. It's obvious that importing foreign workers lowers wages for Americans who might otherwise get those jobs, but businessmen point out that when they can't bring workers to the US to work, companies ship the work overseas to them. It's not just factories anymore, either: Snopes reports that GE is moving its X-ray division headquarters from Wisconsin to China.
Nonprofits are on the move, too. When colleges can't bring students to the US to study, colleges open overseas branches to educate their customers in their native lands. To name one example, the New York Times reported that Abu Dhabi gave New York University a $50 million grant to open a campus in their country. Not only did American faculty move away to start this foreign campus, supporting jobs such as administrators and janitorial positions will be created in other countries instead of here.
The effects will be felt for years to come: income taxes of faculty, workers, and students will be paid to foreign governments instead of the US government. Students end up building networks which will help them start businesses in other countries instead of in the US.
In spite of the huge number of jobs created by businesses founded by immigrants, liberals continue to argue that letting talented foreigners into the country harms American workers. This is rank hypocrisy.
Liberal hypocrisy gets far worse with respect to illegal workers. To whatever extent skilled immigrants take American jobs, they take jobs which are pretty far up the economic ladder. It costs so much to get a visa that companies don't bother for low-paying jobs; restricting H1-B visas doesn't do anything for unemployed blacks at the bottom of the ladder.
Illegal immigrants wipe out the low end of the economic ladder. Illegals can be deported if anyone reports them to the US government which makes them reluctant to give their employers any trouble. We suspect that in addition to scarfing up free emergency room medical care, immigrants often work for less than minimum wage. This saves employers a bundle, so supposedly-conservative politicians accept campaign contributions in return for letting them stay.
Liberals think of illegals as "undocumented Democrats" and let them stay without campaign contributions, despite polls showing that most Americans want the illegals sent home. Both of our political parties have a vested interest in ignoring the law, despite the massive harm that illegals do to blacks most of all. It's well known that blacks often don't get on well with Hispanics when they move into their neighborhoods; why haven't they made the connection and reacted at the polls? Why do black voters put up with their politicians tolerating illegal competition that hurts them so badly and upsets their neighborhoods?
Some time back, liberals decided that many of our inner cities were "blighted." The federal government started a program of condemning "blighted" neighborhoods, taking private properly through the power of government, and giving the property to politically-connected developers, often at knock-down prices.
The problem was that all the residents of the "blighted" neighborhoods had to be driven out before demolition could start. Most small businesses which were relocated failed and neighborhood cohesion was destroyed.
Because so many blighted neighborhoods were home to minorities, James Baldwin dubbed Urban Renewal "Negro Removal" in the 1960s. Modern-day "urban renewal" is perhaps less overt, but the power of the government is still used primarily against blacks and other minorities. We've never understood why blacks keep voting for politicians who destroy their neighborhoods.
It's become clear that union opposition to reform is the major reason inner city schools keep failing black children. The Republican-driven school voucher system in Washington DC demonstrated that private schools could teach extremely disadvantaged kids far more effectively for far less money than the unionized DC public schools. Nevertheless, Mr. Obama's Democrats canceled the program shortly after he took office.
The Republicans restored it when they regained their majority, but DC's reforming mayor was ousted by an old-school union machine politician whose goal is to reverse all the progress that had been made under the former mayor. We've never understood why black voters keep electing and re-electing politicians who permit school unions to trash black kids so badly.
We can understand why Kansas voters might vote Republican - they don't trust government programs to benefit them and they hope to get rich from their labors, which requires lower taxes.
We simply can't understand why black voters keep voting for Democratic politicians who ignore their interests by pandering to special interests at home and abroad while keeping them locked into the welfare system through a high minimum wage and onerous regulation.
Perhaps Herman Cain can explain things to them?