Why is it that so many efforts by liberals to lift the black underclass not only fail, but often harm the intended beneficiaries?
In Please Stop Helping Us, Jason L. Riley examines how well-intentioned welfare programs are in fact holding black Americans back. Minimum-wage laws may lift earnings for people who are already employed, but they price a disproportionate number of blacks out of the labor force. Affirmative action in higher education is intended to address past discrimination, but the result is fewer black college graduates than would otherwise exist. And so it goes with everything from soft-on-crime laws, which make black neighborhoods more dangerous, to policies that limit school choice out of a mistaken belief that charter schools and voucher programs harm the traditional public schools that most low-income students attend.
In theory these efforts are intended to help the poor—and poor minorities in particular. In practice they become massive barriers to moving forward.
Please Stop Helping Us lays bare these counterproductive results. People of goodwill want to see more black socioeconomic advancement, but in too many instances the current methods and approaches aren’t working. Acknowledging this is an important first step.
About the Author
Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He lives in suburban New York City with his wife and three children.