Blue State Blues: Trump Proves Growth, Not Redistribution, Helps Black Americans

Trump EO HBCUs Andrew HarnickAP
Andrew Harnick/AP

Black Americans are experiencing an economic renaissance under President Donald Trump.

Black unemployment hit a new low last week of 5.5% — the level once described in economics textbooks as “full employment” — and the gap between black and white unemployment shrank to its lowest margin ever.

This week, Census data showed that black poverty has dropped to its lowest level ever (18.8%). The reason: wages are climbing, even in low-wage jobs.

This is the Promised Land that left-wing activists have talked about for decades. Except they do not seem to have received the memo.

Listen to the Democratic presidential candidates debate, and you will still hear them complain that the economy is terrible, that the middle class is shrinking, that we need to redistribute income and wealth from the rich to the poor to over come the “white privilege” that is our country’s original sin, dating to slavery in 1619.

All of that is untrue. The economy continues to perform well, despite media-hyped fears of recession. Yes, the pace of hiring is slowing in some sectors, but that is partly because of the scarcity of labor — which is also driving wages up. Yes, the trade war is hurting some individual businesses, and China is retaliating against American agriculture — but the trade war has failed to drive up prices so far, as many people (including me) had expected.

Black America is the biggest winner in the Trump economy, and not because of government policies targeted at the black community, though Trump has many of those.

While funding for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) declined under President Barack Obama, for example, “under the Trump administration, federal funding for HBCUs has increased by more than $100 million over the last two years, a 17% increase since 2017.”

President Trump also championed the cause of criminal justice reform through the bipartisan First STEP Act — a bold initiative that required him to confront skeptical conservatives. (For his trouble, he receives almost no credit from the media or from the Democratic presidential candidates, whose criminal justice proposals largely treat the issue as if we were starting from scratch.) Far from being a racist, he has often done what Barack Obama would not.

Yet the real driver of black prosperity has been the growing economy, thanks to policies that benefit all Americans,

It is true that the economy began turning around under Obama, but it grew very slowly, buoyed in part by the Fed’s quantitative easing program, which shoveled dollars to Wall Street. President Trump accelerated the recovery and brought it down to Main Street through deregulation, tax cuts and — controversially — fighting illegal immigration.

The result is that the economy is growing, and that American citizens and legal immigrants are capturing the gains.

That is precisely what conservatives have been prescribing for decades, instead of socialist policies that promise to redistribute profits to the poor but in reality allow the political class to enrich itself at the expense of the rest of the country.

Limited government allows black Americans to do for themselves what government fails to do for anyone.

The Democrats do not get it. They are talking reparations — the brainchild of Al Sharpton, one of the worst racial demagogues in the country, whom Obama rehabilitated to provide political cover within the black community.

The frontrunners, including former vice president Joe Biden, promise to raise taxes, kill the energy industry, and bring back hyperregulation. They claim to be fighting racism. Trump has shown black Americans there is a better way.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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