The Left’s Betrayal of Our Inner Cities

By Newt Gingrich

The Left’s Betrayal of Our Inner Cities
The Left’s Betrayal of Our Inner Cities
Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich

USA – -( The riots that occurred in Milwaukee last week followed a disastrous pattern that has played out across the country in the past few years.

In a poor African American neighborhood with few job opportunities and even less hope, a young black male was killed by police. Locals, joined by professional agitators, began to riot, causing even more violence, bloodshed, and destruction of the neighborhood.

Americans have watched a similar set of events play out in Ferguson, in Baltimore, in Baton Rouge, and now in Milwaukee. And as the violence continues, the anger has grown.

Yet the solutions we too often hear from our political leaders remain inadequate and superficial: Gun control, body cameras, disarming the police, decriminalizing drugs. These are the kinds of policy proposals our elites are discussing. And yet none of the proposals has much to do with the underlying causes of violence, poverty and despair.

Thankfully, there has been at least one voice of clarity and reason about the urgent challenge. Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke

Speaking after the riots this week, Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke offered one of the most thoughtful analyses of what has led to the “frustration, anger and resentment” that Americans in many poor communities feel.

“Here's what causes riots,” Sheriff Clarke said:

“We have inescapable poverty in the city of Milwaukee. Milwaukee's like the sixth poorest city in America. You have massive black unemployment. I think it's at 32%. You have a failing K-12 public education system. It's one of the worst in the nation. You have questionable lifestyle choices…All of these kids with no fathers around, father-absent homes. When fathers aren't around to shape the behavior of young men, they oftentimes grow up to be unmanageable misfits. Those are the ingredients. Milwaukee has all of them.”

“Stop trying to fix the police,” Sheriff Clarke said at the press conference. “Fix the ghetto.”

Certainly, most Americans share the goal of extending opportunity to our inner cities. But the Sheriff is right that many don’t want to talk about the real problems. The police are catching the brunt of the criticism. But they are not the real cause of the despair.

Instead, the problem is more fundamental. When people are trapped in poverty–when they see no chance of getting out, when they are told to take food stamps, to live in public housing, and to stagger along as best they can–they lose hope, and they despair.

When people despair, anger and resentment can follow.

Millions of Americans have been left behind in poverty. In the inner cities, their neighborhoods aren’t safe, and the schools have failed them. For many, the path of college and a four-year degree–the middle class route to a good job–is not even an option.

America’s inner cities urgently need a bridge to the Middle Class for those the system has left behind. Above all, that means a learnable skill that pays good money and offers a chance at a good career. Providing a system to train poor Americans for good jobs is one of our most urgent social challenges.

Indeed, opportunities for skills training and career-focused education programs are a far more serious and practical response to the problems of the inner city than the calls for “national conversations” we hear time and again on cable news networks.

And yet, as Sheriff Clarke noted in his comments after the Milwaukee riots, instead of strengthening the bridge to the middle class–a good job to help support a family–government is doing everything it can to weaken it.

We have a welfare system that too often punishes work and rewards choices which destroy lives.

We have a tax and regulatory system that makes it harder for small businesses to hire people, even when they’re willing to take the risk of setting up shop in a dangerous neighborhood.

And as recently as this month, we were reminded that bureaucrats in Washington are trying to kill the very job training and career education programs that help people learn the skills they need.

In fact, in the same month that Milwaukee was rioting and the problems of the inner-city were dominating headlines, the bureaucrats at the Department of Education were sifting through comments submitted on their proposed “defense-to-repayment” regulation, which would require all schools to set aside funds to forgive student loan debts for those who claim there were “misrepresentations” made to them about their programs.

Because the proposed rule requires schools to set aside vast funds each time a lawsuit is filed–even before the claims are subject to the scrutiny of a court of law–merely the threat of lawsuits would likely drive many small, independent career schools out of business.

Of course, that is precisely the point. Ideologically driven bureaucrats are pushing burdensome regulations that will bankrupt private career education schools and certificate programs.

And yet the programs they’re trying to put out of business are the very ones that focus on training people in the skills they need to have careers as welders, nurse practitioners, and IT professionals. In other words, the kind of practical skills that can help people in our poorest neighborhoods get the jobs they need to enter the middle class.

Both Republicans and Democrats should be for accountability in higher education. But a regulation that leaves the schools serving poor Americans vulnerable to being put out of business by trial lawyers and meritless lawsuits? That’s not accountability. That’s extremism. It’s an assault.

Even the Washington Post editorial board has labeled the latest proposed regulation an “overreach,” and the Post understands exactly who it’s targeted at. “The Obama administration has made no secret of its dislike” for private sector schools, the Post notes, before going on to criticize the administration’s “zeal to disable” these institutions.

“A cottage industry already is forming with law firms and loan-consolidation companies trolling for students with borrower defense claims,” the Post editors write. The result would be to put taxpayers “on the hook for billions of dollars in student loan discharges.”

In their war against private-sector education, the bureaucrats should be honest about who they’re fighting for–the trial lawyers and the ideologues–and who they’re fighting against. They aren’t just attacking the schools, but also their students–the millions of Americans, many from the inner cities, who lack the skills they need to get a good job, and who’ve taken the responsibility to learn those skills at a program of their choice.

Your Friend,

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About Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich is well-known as the architect of the “Contract with America” that led the Republican Party to victory in 1994 by capturing the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in forty years. After he was elected Speaker, he disrupted the status quo by moving power out of Washington and back to the American people.

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  • 9 thoughts on “The Left’s Betrayal of Our Inner Cities

    1. The importance of children, especially young boys, being raised without fathers, as noted by Sheriff Clarke, must not be underestimated. There is now at least one, and probably two, generations of inner city black males (I won’t use the term Men for them) who grew up without the socializing effect of responsible Men in their families (or their environment generally). They have consequently never learned what successful societies should, and typically do, expect from their Men (as pre-Feminist American society used to). They never learned that they are responsible not only for where they spread their seed, but for nurturing it, and for taking care of their offspring, raising them and training them to be responsible members of society (monthly child support payments, if even paid, are nowhere near enough). They never learned that they have an inherent responsibility to their whole society (as opposed to a small number in their local gang or ‘hood), that the females of the species are not here solely to gratify fleeting sexual urges (that’s what God gave them hands for), that physical violence is NOT the way to gain respect (which they too often seem to equate with fear), or that altruism is a high social and moral virtue (not merely the creed of those “chumps” who don’t know how to “look out for Number 1”). They have never learned that respect comes from character, not money. Growing up without adult supervision, they have truly evolved into a “Lord of the Flies” society. And virtually ALL of this, comes from the absence of a respected father in their lives. And yes, I said a “respected” father, one who rates the term “Man” and would have taught them those values, not one who was unable or unwilling to earn their respect or teach them their proper role. The Feminist meme that “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” may or may not be true (not being a woman, I won’t comment), but a SOCIETY absolutely needs its Men, like a fish needs water. If you want to see WHY that is true, you need only look at those parts of our society that don’t have Men present, like the fatherless ‘Hoods. I am not advocating any lack of respect for women; however, at the risk of upsetting many female readers, I would point out that, while there have been successful societies that did not respect women (look in the dictionary under “Muslim”), I am aware of none that did not respect their men. If the feminist movement refuses to value and respect Men, then they are going to have to raise their children without fathers – and now we have all seen where THAT leads!

    2. Back in the mid-1960s, a popular novel by William Golding entitled, “Lord of the Flies” was made into a movie, which also became popular at the time. The storyline involved a group of adolescent school children who were stranded on a small island with no adults. The had to learn to survive on their own for a few months, and, in the process, developed a rather savage little society of their own – all done naturally, without any adult supervision or knowledge, no real knowledge of history, law, etc was available to them. The social situation that evolved was hellish (hence the title), but what I find most remarkable, is how closely the society they developed on their little island is mirrored by the current social structure (such as it is) in inner city black neighborhoods today. Go rent the movie (get the original black and whit eversion-I hear it was remade) – You’ll be shocked at the resemblance.

    3. “Fix the ghetto”. We could, but the Democrats don’t want to do that, as the people in it usually vote for them. It was the Democrat controlled HUD that created the ghettos in the first place, way back in the 50’s. But nobody wants facts. We want to create feel good laws and programs that only enforce dependence on the state.

      Want to fix it? Make parents responsible for their children. Make them stand in court if their child disrupts or misses class. You can’t teach a kid if he isn’t there and willing to learn, and only a parent can do that.

      Want to curb crime? Ratify the 8th Amendment to state that executing someone after conviction of their third violent felony is not cruel and unusual punishment. No need to build new prisons after that, as we’ll free up lots of bed space.

    4. As long as there is something to be had for free, there will be those chomping at the bit to pounce on it. Those who prefer to live off the fat of the land will do so without concern for the expense to the working class. And now that the ‘takers’, employed and unemployed, have found that they can riot and loot with little or no consequence, there are more and more opportunities to get something for ‘free’.

      However, there are many, many unemployed, willing workers, (citizens and otherwise) of all races, colors and creeds living in these great United States, legally and illegally, who would jump at the chance to be gainfully employed. But as long as the Dems are heading up the show, the show is going to be less and less attractive to those who care. But even with all that, The United States Of America will continue to be The Greatest Show On Earth.

    5. As History has shown, Dems have altered the perception of reality ,
      to the Black voter. Dems. continue to lie about what they will do. (nothing)
      But as long as they hand-out something for free (no matter what it is).
      They will get the black vote.

    6. What’s that definition of insanity? Something like doing the same thing over and over and over expecting a different result? Kinda like voting for democrats to improve things for the ghetto dwellers, over and over and over. Surprise! It still isn’t working, even when you elected the corrupt, lying, thieving Obama. More welfare, not incentives to get an education, learn to perform a valuable job business would like to hire. You get from democrats “free fish” instead of learning how to fish and feed yourselves. And you wonder why things aren’t just great.

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