Ideas to solve for racial tension in America.
Updated: Feb 24, 2021
These ideas are decidedly not Libertarian. I'd categorize them as emergency measures implemented to protect against the continued loss of life, liberty and property within the Black community.
There is a fair argument to be made that government intervention only makes situations worse, it's generally one of the base tenants of Libertarianism, and that's a valid argument. These policies below fall into the bucket of, "we have to do something to stop the bleeding, and if we're going to do something this is what I think would have the greatest impact."
President [insert your preferred name here] addresses the nation:
My fellow Americans...
We hear you and understand that the issues being raised related to criminal justice and policing in the Black community are not new. These problems were designed and implemented along racial lines, and that’s where we have to address them. We are going to come together as a country and focus on solving these issues with the same national resolve it took to put a man on the moon and win two world wars.
To accomplish substantive and lasting change we must address the underlying problems that perpetuate our current situation; community, poverty, education and opportunity. Desperation is a breeding ground for violent crime, and the Black community has been kept in a desperate and deadly cycle for far too long.
We’re going to put forth a series of new policy recommendations to congress that they can debate, refine, and write into law.
1. Rebuild the Black Family & Community Act
This will be a series of laws aimed at rebuilding the Black family by encouraging marriage and community involvement.
The culture of the Black family unit was destroyed over decades by mass incarceration and welfare policy. ~74% of white children live in a home with married parents, while only ~36% of black children live in a home with married parents. This has a significant impact on crime rates.
This series of policies will encourage marriage within the Black community through tax incentives for married couples, waving of marriage license fees for attendance in free pre-martial counseling, and free marital counseling.
It would remove penalties in the welfare system for women who get married, while also creating new avenues for Black families to raise themselves out of the welfare system by providing additional job training and career placement services for married men and women.
These policies will remain in place until the marital rates for the Black community come to within 5% of the national average, at which point they will be retired.
This act will also include incentives for individuals to get involved in positive, character-building activities in their local community. Policies that encourage parents to coach/participate in youth programs including tax incentives for their employers that allow them more flexible schedules to do so. Policies that pay dues for poor children wanting to participate in activities and provide transportation to get them to practice, games, meetings, camp outs, etc. if their parents are unable.
These policies will remain in place until violent crime rates for the Black community come within 5% of the national average, at which point they will be retired.
These policies will help small businesses that cater to youth programs. They will also create jobs in counseling/therapy, career services, grounds-keeping, administration, transportation, etc.
2. Desegregation Act of 2020
This law will be aimed at breaking America’s racial segregation based on economic influences.
The first element will be instituting a means for poor families to move out of low-income communities by providing affordable housing opportunities in prosperous neighborhoods. This affordable housing would have a curb appeal requirement to ensure that home values in the surrounding areas were not affected, and assistance would be provided to maintain it.
Couples with young children that have been married and living together longer than a year would be prioritized for these opportunities.
The second element would be an effort to physically clean up and repair dilapidated neighborhoods. In targeted areas work crews would be granted contracts to make repairs to homes, businesses, and streets. These efforts would encourage new business investment and raise home value in previously forgotten places.
The sum of these efforts will generate a more integrated society over time.
3. The Black Education & Opportunity Act
This will implement programs aimed at physically cleaning up and repairing schools in poor neighborhoods. Updating technology and making it available to students.
This will implement programs aimed at providing safe spaces for kids to participate in extracurricular learning. Funding school programs at low income schools giving kids the opportunity to learn and participate in activities related to topics that they’ve chosen, topics that interest them (examples would include things like the “robotics club," “photography club, ” etc).
This will implement programs aimed at bringing in subject matter experts and tutors to help kids who are falling behind. Additional pay for teachers willing to work in low income schools who show positive results.
Provide scholarships for Black students for apprenticeship programs, community colleges, trade skill programs, universities, post graduate degrees, etc. More funding for HBCUs.
Tax incentives for businesses that hire individuals from local apprenticeship programs, community colleges, and trade skill programs.
4. The Low-Income Small Business Act
Policies aimed at supporting small businesses in low-income areas including; major tax incentives for small business owners with a storefront in a low-income community they've spent 10+ years living in, tax incentives for any small business owner that hires any employee who currently lives in a low-income community, and 2% sales tax relief for anyone who buys from any storefront in a low-income community.
5. The Policing & Criminal Justice Reform Act
Significantly increased pay for police officers. Officers would spend more time in a variety of training programs regularly, and more officers would be hired to compensate for this additional training time. Officers would also be provided with the best possible protective equipment available.
These efforts are aimed at bringing in the highest possible quality candidates and keeping them well prepared for the wide variety of situations they face.
Law enforcement officers will be paid for their time if they choose to participate in activities in low income communities not related to policing (i.e. if they coach, tutored, taught a class, etc.). This would encourage positive interactions within the community they're policing.
Law enforcement would always be required to wear body cameras, and federal funding would be provided to state and local agencies that couldn’t afford it.
Universally kept statistics on law enforcement interactions with the black community would be collected at the federal level, and after being normalized for population % in a given area outlier departments would trigger a 3rd party investigation into police practices.
Qualified immunity reform to prevent police unions from using minor, inconsequential variances to get officers who have broken the law acquitted.
Would make settlement payouts negatively affect the income of all officers in at-fault departments, encouraging officers to weed out poor policing within their own department.
A new class is required for every High School Sophomore in America, “Law Enforcement 101,” where they would learn what their responsibility is, and how to act, during a police interaction. This would be taught jointly by a local member of law enforcement and an educator at the school. This class could also be used as a recruitment tool in low income areas encouraging members of the community to become law enforcement officers themselves.
Marijuana would be removed from the DEA’s schedule 1 drug categorization. All non-violent offenders in prison on marijuana charges alone would be released and offered job training, career services, therapy, and housing assistance for 1 year to help get them back on their feet.
Cash-bail reform. 7 out of every 10 people in jail on a given day in America are there because they don’t have the bail money. Being incarcerated for extended periods of time before ever being convicted of anything at trial shouldn’t be dependent on your income status. Find cash-bail alternatives that work.
Universally kept statistics on sentencing would be collected at the federal level, and where a substantial imbalance was detected 3rd party investigations into sentencing practices would trigger.
How do I plan on paying for all this?
I don’t think this was the pressing question during WWII when people looked at the bomber assembly lines, the mentality was “whatever it takes to get the job done.” I don’t think this was the pressing question at NASA when we were preparing to put a man on the moon, the mentality was “whatever it takes to get the job done.” The racial division we face now is going to require this same type of resolve.
That being said, I don’t think this is going to drive up the US debt. Here is how I believe the costs will be offset:
- Reduction in expenditure on incarceration
- Reduction in expenditure on the war on drugs
- Reduction in expenditure on welfare
- Reduction in expenditure on unemployment
- Gains in tax revenue from increased economic activity
Most importantly however, whatever the additional spend might be, it’s worth it. There’s a moral imperative that we fix these issues to protect Police lives, Black lives, everyone. This is how we form a more perfect union. This is how we shed the chains of our tainted history and overcome our differences to come together as a nation.
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