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Unexpected Consequences Can Hurt Black America

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(NNPA) As the saying goes, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”. This has been the plight of Black America since our emancipation from slavery. Big policy is decided without adequate consideration of our situation or positive inclusiveness of the outcomes. Allow me to journey back into history and also current activity to explain my point.

Social Security Program: It sounded so good. An employee will have a part of his income deducted and put into a retirement investment program and the employer would put up a portion also. The money would be there at the time of retirement (age 65) and disbursed monthly to the retiree. The very big problem is this: Blacks’ life spans are much shorter than Whites. This means that Blacks will receive much less of the money they put in and Whites will receive a disproportionately greater amount. A great amount of Blacks will not receive any benefits at all as they will die before they are eligible to retire. Much of this sinister formula was known to the architects of the Social Security program and most Blacks were void of the knowledge. It was a major transfer of wealth in a very subtle manner. A very big hustle indeed!

The Interstate Infrastructure Program: During World War II, General Eisenhower marveled at the German Autobahn (their freeway system). He emulated it with the interstate freeway system for the United States. When the freeways came to urban areas they went to the line of least resistance – the Black neighborhoods. Black retail establishments everywhere were subject to eminent domain and bulldozed over for infrastructure improvement. From the Fillmore in San Francisco to Black Bottom in Detroit they were done in forever in the name of freeways and new development. Some of our greatest neighborhoods and cultural centers were lost forever.

The Great Society: There was nothing “great” about this. In fact, our deficit and annual budgets are suffering from the largesse of charity. It was a great narcotic to our victims of poverty rather than a solution. It told the masses to sit down and be taken care of rather than rising up and empowering themselves. The end result has been a trans-generational dependency on welfare and public housing living rather than a positive transition from poverty to self sufficiency. African Americans as a people are burdened by the weight of helplessness and dependency to the point of distinction. Somehow we must throw this “yolk” from our “neck” and begin to stand tall and strong.

Ethanol Promotion: They should have done their historical perspective on this. Henry Ford commissioned George Washington Carver to develop ethanol from peanuts to relieve our dependence on oil (manipulated by John D. Rockefeller) for our cars. The great scientist Carver worked diligently on it at Tuskegee University but went to his grave without successfully mass producing it. Yet, here we are in the 21st century trying it again. It just doesn’t work and what is worse it adversely impacts the rest of our economy. The subsidies (billions of dollars) given for ethanol production has caused a great shortage in corn production for the rest of our agricultural markets. The end result is that groceries, fuel and energy prices are going through the roof and there is no significant improvement on our carbon emission footprint. This is a supreme mistake and failure that causes Black families/consumers more harm than others in that we have fewer dollars to waste and to be exploited. When they catch a cold we will get pneumonia. Ethanol has been a direct assault on Black families.

Higher Energy Costs / Less Energy Consumption: This assumption by environmentalists and progressive politicians is very flawed. It does not take into account that staying warm, air conditioned, cooking, and traveling to essential places is necessary and basic to common living. There are many who feel that if we skyrocket energy prices, i.e. $8.00 per gallon gasoline and triple the average household energy bill people will lower their consumption levels. They don’t take into account that you must travel to work, eat every day and protect your family from ill health. While Whites may sell their summer cabins, Blacks cannot afford a home at all and move into shelters or the streets. While Whites may sell one of the family cars, Blacks will not be able to buy a car at all. This strategy is totally out of touch but yet it exists. That is why they have the oil moratorium in the Gulf Coast while the world cost of oil is rapidly increasing. That is why they have onerous EPA regulations without justification. That is why they are proposing to cut energy assistance (LIHEAP) in the new budget.

This is why the National Black Chamber of Commerce is forming a new division to be a watchdog on such policy and measure the impact on Black America.

Mr. Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce ®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: halford@nationalbcc.org

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