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February 28, 2024

The State of Black Progress

Government activism and expansion designed to help low-income Americans has hurt rather than helped.

As part of Black History Month 2024, my organization, CURE, Center for Urban Renewal and Education, has announced the release of “The State of Black Progress,” published by Encounter Books.

This is a follow-up to “The State of Black America,” published by CURE in 2022.

The objective of these tomes is to showcase first-class scholarship to paint a comprehensive picture for thinking much differently about the reality facing Black Americans than what has been the norm for many years.

By “thinking much differently,” I mean to say that our case shows that Blacks may have some unique problems and challenges, but the principles for dealing with these challenges are not about race. The truths that govern human reality, the truths that enable human success, are not different between races but are the same for all.

Different ethnic groups or races may have unique problems, just as every individual human being has his or her own unique problems.

But the truths to which every human being must turn to solve their unique problems are the same for all.

In this spirit, we were very honored to be hosted by the American Enterprise institute in Washington, D.C., to do a joint event to publicize this tome.

Three of the 12 scholars who contributed essays for the book are American Enterprise Institute scholars.

AEI, whose stated mission is “expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise,” is the oldest Washington policy institute promoting these values, with a legacy reaching back to the 1930s.

Our excitement to be hosted by and work with AEI is that AEI is about the key principles that define America as a free country with a free economy.

At CURE, we focus on race and poverty exclusively — but we share the same American values with AEI regarding the principles needed for solving our problems.

Two issues that we deal with in this work are federal retirement policy — Social Security — and federal housing policy.

Both these areas saw major changes through expansion of government going back to the 1930s.

AEI’s roots go back to that time; the institute stepped up and opposed significant expansion of the role of government in the lives of Americans.

Our work in “The State of Black Progress” covers that gamut of where government has become majorly involved in the lives of Americans, particularly Black Americans.

Beyond Social Security and federal housing policy, we’re talking about education policy, health care, local community economic policies and the changing ways federal judges read and apply our constitution to justify expansion of government.

Our scholars show in all these areas that government activism and expansion designed to help low-income Americans has hurt rather than helped.

Sadly, thinking about race in America has widely meant government activism and expansion.

It not only has hurt the individuals these policies were meant to help, but it has hurt the whole country.

As our nation now is being crushed by spending and debt, all should consider that, compared to the 25% of the American economy that government now consumes, in the mid-1960s, when the Civil Rights Act passed, this stood at 17%. Back in the late 1930s, when key elements of this began, federal spending consumed less than 10% of the U.S. economy.

AEI’s Ian Rowe shows that when the data for race is corrected for family structure, when we look at Black households with intact families, with a married husband and wife heading the household, Black Americans are as healthy as any healthy part of our nation.

It is unfortunate that the success of the Civil Rights Movement was parlayed into a new birth of government rather than into a new birth of freedom.

CURE is working to change that, in the interest of Black Americans and all Americans.


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