Policies to Help Poor and Minority Families in Inner Cities


Reading Joel Kotkin’s summary of how one-party rule has been disastrous for the poor and minorities in America’s cities, I thought of Rhode Island activist Mike Araujo’s racist insistence that it is “white supremacy” to move out of the inner city and send one’s children to suburban schools.  Through most of Kotkin’s essay, one imagines the Araujos of the world periodically uttering “exactly” or “that’s what I’ve been saying”… until, that is, Kotkin gets to some solutions and suggests opportunity for the Trump Administration.

On housing policy dictated by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development:

… the new HUD should abandon its agenda of redirecting populations, or forcing high density on reluctant communities, whether in the poorer urban neighborhoods or the more comfortable suburbs.

On jobs:

[Reform] might include such things deregulating some businesses, like in cosmetology, and making it easier for new restaurants and shops.  [Including, I’d add, reduction or elimination of the sales tax.]

On policing:

Perhaps most critical will be addressing the escalating crime rate in many cities, where by far the vast majority of victims are minorities, as Trump himself pointed out.

On transportation:

… a shift away from “one size fits all” transportation policies might allow communities to build public transit options, ranging from bus rapid transit to innovative dial-a-ride services. … a better focus on inner city needs might be actually helping working class people actually get to work as quickly and easily as possible, at reasonable cost rather than building dedicated lines that tend to push land prices up, and existing residents out.

And then, maybe most dreadfully for the left, on education:

Other parts of the potential Trumpian urban agenda, such as charter schools and vouchers, long supported by his Education Department nominee Kathy DeVos, could help address poor urban education, arguably the biggest reason why families don’t stay in cities like Chicago with their dysfunctional schools.

Whatever the specifics, the core of the matter that separates Kotkin from progressives is his inclination to look at the families in urban areas and begin by asking what is best for them as a priority over maintaining the advantages of government insiders or a reactionary desperation to preserve the ideology of the status quo.

Those activists who, like Araujo, are tied in with the ruling party and political insiders and who don’t, therefore, direct their withering attacks toward school districts, unions, and big-government meddlers are demagogic frauds.  Plain and simple.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    on HUD:
    At its inception HUD would deal with individuals. I recall that was the impetus that revived the South End of Boston. There were store front offices which would grant purchase money mortgages and renovation loans to individuals (probably now reviled as “gentrification”. It may have been rife with corruption, but I have no knowledge of it) There were programs to aid the elderly with loans to add “in law” apartments, and various other individuals. 20, or more, years ago the focus changed entirely. Now HUD will only deal with Non-profits. So far as I know, this produces large “projects” but I haven’t seen a lot of individual endeavors such as those that recovered the South End of Boston. I* think that might work again. (truthfully, the “families” that redid the South End fled as soon as children reached school age). Although PVD lacks the “brick” that Boston has, areas such as Elmwood might be salvaged.