Public Policy Hurting African-Americans: NCPA

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New Report Highlights Government’s Failure

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The government must enact policies that promote economic opportunity for all, rather than attempting to legislate economic outcomes.

Black History Month is a time to reflect on the accomplishments of African Americans over the decades – often in spite of “helpful” government programs that backfire and fail, according to a new report from the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Many of the efforts designed to ensure economic opportunity for all “discourage wise choices, limit education opportunities and create burdensome regulations that hinder entrepreneurship,” report the experts.

Government programs have failed in many areas, including:

     -- Providing affordable and quality housing. “Smart growth” urban planning prices lower- and middle-income families out of the housing market. The loss of housing affordability disproportionately affects minority households.
     -- Providing quality education. Charter schools are typically found in urban areas and offer parents educational options where previously they may have had none, yet they face stark opposition from some policymakers. Yet charter schools students achieve the greatest gains in read and math among African-American, Hispanic and low-income students.
     -- Increasing employment opportunities. Advocates of higher minimum wages say they will help the working poor, yet they often price workers – and particularly black teenagers – out of the market so they are essentially earning nothing.
     -- Equalizing Social Security and taxes. The retirement benefits received by black retirees average less than those of whites. Moreover, marginal net tax rates for low-income families are high because the very generous package of welfare benefits available to those out of work decline at a steep rate as workers begin to earn a modest income.
     -- Building stable families. Out-of-wedlock births are the second key cause of poverty, yet the structure of welfare benefits encourages single parenthood and family breakups.

“I am proud not just this month, but every month of the accomplishments and achievements black Americans have contributed to these United States,” says NCPA President & CEO Allen B. West. “However the government must enact policies that promote economic opportunity for all, rather than attempting to legislate economic outcomes. A great example are the unintended consequences of the Great Society programs.”

Reflections During Black History Month: What Public Policies Are Hurting African-Americans?:

The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, established in 1983. We bring together the best and brightest minds to tackle the country's most difficult public policy problems — in health care, taxes, retirement, education, energy and the environment. Visit our website today for more information.

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Catherine Daniell
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