This returns us to Mr. Nutter, a large percentage of his mayoral colleagues around the country, the leftists who control most urban areas, and Washington’s Democratic Party establishment. It is all too telling that one of the pet excuses for high black teen unemployment this summer, as seen in a Cleveland Plain Dealer item back in June, is that the stimulus programs which funded some teen summer jobs in 2009 and 2010 with money that we as a country didn’t have weren’t available this year.
That copout doesn’t cut it, not after decades of liberal government policies and negative cultural influences which have betrayed the hopes and dreams of millions of young blacks, and which are largely responsible for creating the dangerous conditions underlying this summer’s flash mob outbreak. Here are just a few of the financial and economic factors, besides the aforementioned Democrat-driven recession and “Rebound? What Rebound?” recovery:
• Minimum wage laws. Total employment in all age groups dropped less than 4% from July 2006 to July 2011. Meanwhile, the minimum wage went from $5.15 in 2006 to its current $7.25, and black teen employment dropped by 38%. That’s not a coincidence.
• Taxes and regulation. Urban property, income, and other taxes are generally higher than in surrounding communities. Additionally, the larger the city, the more likely it is that there will be dedicated groups of environmental zealots and other corporate harassers, some with city government and others in “advocacy groups,” whose mission is to make life miserable for job providers, and who seem to consider it a victory when businesses leave or fail. Because of these unnecessary burdens, companies have been voting with their feet and taking their jobs to lower-tax instate and out-of-state suburbs and exurbs for decades. Surprise, surprise (not): As a result, fewer low-skilled and summer-job opportunities are available for urban teens.
• Entitlement dependency. Sadly, blacks make up a disproportionate percentage of the food stamp, Section 8 housing, and traditional welfare rolls. Teens who get jobs can cause their families to lose partial or full eligibility for these programs. Gainful employment can also reduce the amount of available federal college aid. It’s a lot easier to just stay at home, hang out, and potentially get in trouble.
While Mayor Nutter deserves some credit for calling out the teen hoodlums in his midst, it’s hard to take him seriously as someone who really wants to go after the black teen unemployment problem. You see, he has a lot in common with this country’s chief executive.
While Barack Obama was on a three-state bus tour this week in “Greyhound One,” shattering all previous presidential records for whining and excuse-making, Nutter, a deputy mayor, and the city’s water commissioner were on a junket in Rio de Janeiro accompanying Lisa Jackson, who heads Obama’s job-killing Environmental Protection Agency. Their objective: “to listen, learn, and lend their expertise on green development.” Nutter’s ultimate goal: “to make Philadelphia the greenest city in the country.”
Any manufacturer who hasn’t yet left the City of Brotherly Love will likely be giving it serious consideration shortly. What will that do for the job prospects of the city’s black teens, or for that matter its other unskilled or unemployed residents?