Col. Allen West, former GOP U.S. Congressman from Florida, said at a Thursday morning panel focused on the devastating economic impacts of amnesty that economic policies that displace black youths from jobs–like President Barack Obama’s immigration policies–have led to fads like the “knockout game.”
The panel, hosted by the nonpartisan pro-jobs group Americans4Work and featuring West and other leaders on immigration policy, focused intensely on how the economy has not gotten better around the country for many groups of Americans, including the black community. They noted how the immigration policies proposed by the president and some in Congress would not help the situation.
West and fellow panelist Professor Jan Ting of Temple University were discussing what they called the “new normal” in America–how Americans are not succeeding independent of the government in record numbers.
“What we don’t want to see happening in the United States of America is this second and third generation of welfare,” West said. “That becomes the new normal. When you look and see your mother and your father or your grandmother or your aunt or uncle, whoever is raising you, that they were born in Section Eight housing, their kids were in Section Eight housing. And therefore, you think there is no place else for me to go but Section Eight housing.”
West said such levels of dependency on the government “affects your level of self-esteem.”
“That affects your ability to, to be a part of an American dream,” he said. “And, I think, the big problem that you see if this, a, situation continues to exacerbate itself, then the safety net is no longer a safety net. The safety net becomes a hammock. And therefore, you have to have an increase of government spending because you’re going to expand and grow this welfare nanny-state.”
Wets noted that the “exorbitant amount of spending” from the federal government on means-tested welfare programs, and what he describes as a diversion of the food stamps program from what it was originally intended to accomplish, leads America “in the wrong direction.”
“And, again, it comes to the fundamental question, are we going to promote an opportunity society or are we going to promote a dependency society?” West asked. “What is the problem if we head down this road? You’re going to have more Detroits. And think about what Detroit used to be. Think about what Detroit used to look like. And guess what? You have this–and this is something that is absolutely driving me crazy, this knockout game.”
West noted that many of those teens involved in the knockout game would have, in his day, had jobs in their towns and would not be engaged in this behavior. But since the economic and education systems created by the left–including immigration policy which allows foreign workers into the country to compete with them for jobs–they have nothing to do but engage in violence.
“Well, guess what? If you have all of these inner-city black teenagers that have nothing to do, their education system is failing them. Well, in the summertime, I knew I could go down to McDonald’s or Burger King, you know, Baskin Robbins, somewhere,” he recalled. “I would go and get my little part-time summer job. They don’t even have those options now. So, what are they doing? They’re going out and they’re beating on people. For what? For fun.”
“This is what happens when the policies are creating more dependence,” West explained. “They’re creating more despair. It’s creating more despondency. And it’s only going to get worse if we don’t turn it around.”
West also addressed amnesty’s devastating impact on the black community’s employment opportunities. When West was asked why the Congressional Black Caucus has been silent on the matter, he responded that “it just goes back to who is your master.”
“I think that they [the Congressional Black Caucus] are more so interested in the interests of the Democratic Party and their agenda rather than the people that they were sent here to Washington, D.C. to serve,” West said. “I’ll go back to a statement that the former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Emanuel Cleaver, made, and I asked him about this. But he said that if there was anyone other than President Obama sitting in the White House that we would be marching on the White House when you look at the numbers as far as unemployment in the black community.”
West added that Cleaver said: “We give deference to President Obama for that.”
“So, you know, there is something wrong here,” West said. “And you’re right. When you look at our inner cities, America cannot recover economically unless we do something about our inner cities. If that continues to be the, the weak part of our economy, it will continue to drag the rest of this country down. Because there will be more resources poured into the welfare and nanny state instead of the economic opportunity.”
West said lawmakers and leaders need to be “very careful” with regard to the “trust and confidence that the American people have right now in government.”
“In 1986, let’s remember, we went down the path,” West said. “We had an amnesty program. But there were certain requirements that the federal government were supposed to undertake and they never did. And so, this problem has been exacerbated.”
The failures of Obamacare, West said, have also played into Americans’ mistrust of government, another reason why an amnesty program would not be a good thing.
“Right now, if anyone goes out before the American people and they say ‘comprehensive,’ everyone is running the other way because we have a comprehensive health care plan that we’re dealing with right now,” West said. “So, again, I think, that you need to look at this in multiple ways.”
“I mean, it affects your national security. It affects your economy. It affects your education. It affects your health care. It affects your local criminality,” he stated. “We can get to the point where we have some type of guest worker program. There’s no doubt about that especially in the agricultural industry.”
But before any type of immigration legislation adds to the amount of workers in the country, West said there must be “an economy that is growing”; compared to 1986, he said the economy now is in much worse shape.
“We need to have manufacturing coming back to the United States of America,” West said. “And, Senator [Jeff] Sessions talked about the GDP [Gross Domestic Product] numbers being up. Because on average 0.9 percent GDP growth over each year over the past five or six years. This time in Ronald Reagan’s economy, we were 7.2 percent GDP growth, big difference.”
“So, why are we talking about flooding more people into a workforce where the GDP that is barely, you know, making it, it cannot sustain itself really, a debt to GDP ration which is upside down where we are owing more than we’re, we’re producing, we cannot take more people coming to this workforce,” he explained.