American Elephants


The Number of Children in Poverty Have Increased Dramatically under Obama by The Elephant's Child

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In 2008, about 18% of children lived in poverty. Today, under the Obama ‘Recovery’ that number has increased to 22%, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation report released Tuesday. The expectation is that the ‘improving’ economy will improve those numbers. However, figures on employment show that most of the new jobs have gone to immigrants. Census numbers don’t distinguish between legal and illegal.

Everyone knows that the best anti-poverty program is not a hand-out, but a job. President Obama admits this, but insists that the poor work just as hard as the rich do, and many poor people work very hard at low wages to support their families. Economist Stephen Moore points out that statistically, the average poor family does not work nearly as much as rich families do.

The Census sorts households by income quintiles: we call the highest one “the rich” and the lowest “the poor.” In the top 20 percent of income, the average household has two full-time workers. The average poor family (bottom 20 percent of income) household has just 0.4 workers. Basic math: for every hour worked by those in a poor household, those in a rich household work five hours. But six out of ten poor households have no one working at all. With no income from work, it is not surprising that they are poor.

For rich households, 75 percent have two or more workers, for the poor households that percentage is less than 5 percent. Out of wedlock births and divorce have a lot to do with income inequality. Budget expert Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institute found that if marriage rates were as high today as they were in 1970, about 20 percent of child poverty would disappear.

The best way to help low-income families is with jobs, ideally 40 hours a week. When welfare takes the place of work, it contributes to long-term poverty. Strict work requirements for welfare programs are actually a help, every step towards becoming a worker is a step out of poverty. Raising the minimum wage destroys jobs at the bottom of the skills ladder, and leaves beginners nowhere to start.

Getting married before having children, and having a father in the home are great ways to avoid the trap of falling into poverty. The earned-income tax credit supplements low income wages. The left wants to increase the benefits of being dependent on the government. People who are dependent are apt to vote reliably for those who give them benefits. That’s how the Left made people poor in the first place, and the rules for those who are dependent make it increasingly hard to escape.

 



Obama Is Creating A Massive Database of Personal Information for the Purpose of Racial and Economic Justice by The Elephant's Child

A key part of President Obama’s legacy will, according to the New York Post, be the unprecedented massive collection by the federal government of sensitive data on the American people by race. It’s personal information at the most local levels, all for the purpose of “racial and economic justice.”

Unbeknown to most Americans, Obama’s racial bean counters are furiously mining data on their health, home loans, credit cards, places of work, neighborhoods, even how their kids are disciplined in school — all to document “inequalities” between minorities and whites.

This Orwellian-style stockpile of statistics includes a vast and permanent network of discrimination databases, which Obama already is using to make “disparate impact” cases against: banks that don’t make enough prime loans to minorities; schools that suspend too many blacks; cities that don’t offer enough Section 8 and other low-income housing for minorities; and employers who turn down African-Americans for jobs due to criminal backgrounds.

The Housing Database

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) will attempt to racially balance the nation, ZIP code by ZIP code, and will include distance to supermarkets, good schools, public transportation, parks. HUD’s maps will be used to select affordable-housing sites. Civil rights groups will have access to the agency’s sophisticated mapping software and will participate in city plans to re-engineer neighborhoods under new “community outreach requirements.”

The Mortgage Database

The FHA will build a database for racially balancing home loans, including 16 years of lending data by race, all credit lines, credit cards, student loans, car loans, anything reported to credit bureaus. Personal assets, debts, any bankruptcy. Square footage and lot size of your home as well as your interest rates. This will all be shared with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for “research” and “policy-making”. CFPB Director Richard Cordray said “We will be better able to identify possible discriminatory lending patterns.

The Credit Database

CFPB will monitor all citizens credit-card transactions — some 900 million of them — looking for “disparities” in interest rates, collections.

The Employment Database

CFPB rule requires all regulated banks to report on minority hiring to an office of Minority and Women inclusion. Policing diversity on Wall Street will be another fishing expedition.

The School Database

The Education Dept is gathering information on student suspensions and expulsions by race from every public school district in the country. Districts that show disparities will be targeted for reform. See how silly this gets? There are no badly behaved kids, it is only about race. They also want to know how many blacks are enrolled in gifted-and-talented and advanced placement classes.

There need be no claims of discrimination, it’s all based on the numbers which will prove “disparity.”

Sound a little more like North Korea than America? Well, yes it does.

Based on the theory that it is self-evident that high black incarceration rates result from discrimination, President Obama has commuted the sentences of 46 “non-violent drug offenders.” Obama is doing his bit to lead and otherwise contribute to the race-based assault on law enforcement, which seems to be based on the idea that less law enforcement will somehow improve lives in the inner city. But then the assumption is that if troublemakers cannot be expelled, then school outcomes for all will improve.

See Heather MacDonald: “Is the Criminal-Justice System Racist?



Learning Early About the Perils of the Modern Marketplace by The Elephant's Child

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From The Economist:

ZOEY and Andria Green, who are seven and eight respectively, only look innocent. With their baby faces and cunning, they managed to lure patrons to their illicit enterprise: a lemonade stand outside their home in Overton, Texas. The girls were in business for about an hour in June, selling popcorn and lemonade to raise money for a Father’s Day gift, before local police shut the operation down. Not only were they hawking without a $150 “peddler’s permit”, but also the state requires a formal kitchen inspection and a permit to sell anything that might spoil if stored at the wrong temperature. As authorities are meant “to act to prevent an immediate and serious threat to human life or health”, the officers understandably moved swiftly in.

They took away the teeter-totters, and the merry-go-rounds, and park playgrounds have become so boring kids don’t want to be bothered. Farmers’ markets proliferate, but who qualifies as a farmer? Goods made in home kitchens are a ‘grey area’. Some states have passed “cottage-food laws” allowing people to sell ‘Non-potentially hazardous food such as baked goods, sometimes permitted, but the rules are odd and fussy, and different locations have different rules. Rhode Island allows farmers to peddle their goods, but bans everyone else. Oklahoma rules apply only to bakers who may sell up to $20,000 worth of breads and cakes as long as the sales take place in their homes but not in a market. Minnesota allows the annual cap at $18,000 for sellers who register with the state and take a safety course. Across state lines, you run into federal law.

Health authorities worry about the risk of unlicensed kitchens, though just what the dangers of lemonade are is unknown. There are lots more cottage food laws, and no increase in botulism.

Alas for the Green girls, lemonade is not covered by Texas’s cottage-food law, as it might spoil if it is not properly stored. But the pair have learned a valuable lesson about commerce and regulation. They discovered that if they gave the lemonade away free, but put a box on the table for tips, they could still make money because the “payments” thus became donations. Their father must be proud.

Powerline outlines the perils of the Administrative State. It’s going to take a lot of unraveling.



HUD’s Own Study Demolishes The Hope of Improving Inner-City Lives By Moving Them Into Better Neighborhoods by The Elephant's Child

President Obama’s new suburban integration plan, where he will move poor black families from the projects into higher-quality homes in safer neighborhoods  in the suburbs is not something new. HUD tried just such an experiment resettling urban poor in the suburbs beginning in 1994 under President Clinton.

The 15-year experiment called “Moving to Opportunity Initiative” (MTO) moved thousands of mostly African-American families from government projects to better homes in less racially segregated neighborhoods. The project was based on the notion that relocating inner-city minorities to better neighborhoods would boost their education and employment prospects.

Adults, however, for the most part, did not get better jobs or get off welfare. More actually went on food stamps. And their children did not do better in their new schools. In a 287 page study HUD found that adults who relocated outside the inner city using Section 8 housing vouchers did not avail themselves of better job opportunities, and saw a “sizeable negative impact on annual earnings.”

“Moving to lower poverty neighborhoods does not appear to improve education outcomes, employment or earnings,” the study found.

Even worse, crime simply followed them to their new safer neighborhoods. “Males…were arrested more often than those in the control group, primarily for property crimes.”

The same failed program now being pushed by the Obama officials, that moving inner-city blacks closer to good jobs and good schools will close “racial disparities” in employment and education — is just what Clinton officials were saying back in 1994.

The authors of the study doubt any better results will come from a larger or more aggressive relocation program. The original program relocated 4,600 families from several major cities. But there are few things as eternal as a Liberal “good idea.” No program ever fails, it only requires a more expansive program and more money invested.

The Obama people want to nationalize the experiment by relocating millions of people in more than 1,250 cities and towns until social engineers “eliminate racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty.”

The problem, Mr. President, is not the neighborhoods, nor race, nor ethnicity. Talk to Dr. Ben Carson, or Walter Williams, or Thomas Sowell.

“We’re giving every person an equal chance to access quality housing near good schools, transportation and jobs no matter who they are or what they look like,” HUD director Julian Castro said, unveiling sweeping new rules forcing cities to diversify suburbs by rezoning.

Expect exactly the same results, but on a national scale. I wouldn’t expect Congress to offer the money, but that would be even better in the progressive playbook. Then Republicans can be accused of refusing to allow inner-city blacks the opportunity to move to better neighborhoods with better schools for their children.

This is the president who vacations in the most exclusive homes on Martha’s Vineyard, and who keeps trying to shut down the Opportunity Scholarships that are awarded by lottery to poor black kids in Washington DC, that have proved so successful for the children.



“Diversity” Is Not All It’s Cracked-Up To Be! by The Elephant's Child
July 8, 2015, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Education, Immigration, Intelligence, Progressives | Tags: , ,

Harvard-history7On the other side of diversity, Harvard University is, according to the Wall Street Journal, looking for legal cover to justify discriminating against Asian-Americans, Sixty-four organizations have alleged that Harvard uses de facto quotas to limit Asian-Americans on campus.

The percentage of Asian-American students at elite universities like Harvard have held steady at around 18% for two decades. But the number of college-age Asian-Americans has increased rapidly. In May the coalition of sixty-four organizations asked the civil-rights arms of the Education and Justice Departments why Asian-Americans, who make up about 5% of the population — but earn an estimated 30% of National Merit semifinalist honors, aren’t accepted to Harvard in numbers that reflect those qualifications.

The Department cited pending litigation as grounds for dismissal, and the only such suit is one against Harvard and the University of North Carolina filed in November by Students for Fair Admissions. This sounds reasonable, but wait. Harvard and UNC’s lawyers this week filed motions to halt the lawsuit until the Supreme Court reconsiders race-based admissions next term in Fisher v. University of Texas. That ruling won’t surface until 2016, and Harvard’s strategy is to drag out inquiries in hopes the Court blesses race-based admissions.

Asian Americans need to score 140 points higher on the SAT than white students to be considered “equal applicants” on paper, and 450 points higher than African-Americans, according to independent research.

The coalition says they will continue to push back against the quota-like conditions at the elite schools. Liberal ideas of diversity have nothing to do with intelligence or accomplishment — only with… but you know the rest.

Interestingly enough, Canada and Australia admit immigrants based on the same kind of qualifications that Harvard and other elite universities use. They want immigrants who can bring some talent or qualifications to the country. Seems like a good idea, We might want to try it.

Diversity points are not about diversity, The issue is never the issue. It’s about voting groups and power for the Left.



Obama Doesn’t Think Your Neighborhood is “Diverse” Enough. by The Elephant's Child

Today, HUD Secretary Julian Castro  announced the finalization of the Obama Administration’s “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released a final rule to equip communities that receive HUD funding with the data and tools that will help them to meet long-standing fair housing obligations in their use of HUD funds. HUD will provide publicly open data for grantees to use to assess the state of fair housing within their communities and to set locally-determined priorities and goals.

Translation: Just preventing anyone from refusing to rent or sell homes to those of different color, sex, ethnicity etc. etc. has not succeeded in ending ghettos or neighborhoods with bad schools and high incidence of crime and drugs, and that’s just not fair. We need to integrate wealthy neighborhoods.

HUD will determine what the proper ethnic makeup of a given neighborhood should be, and communities must build fair housing goals into their existing community development and housing planning. It is called “a balanced approach to fair housing.”

Observing neighborhoods in lots of different cities, you notice that people of a particular ethnic heritage are often likely to group together. Seattle has a Norwegian founded neighborhood, and an International District that is mostly Asian, for example.

HUD says “no child’s ZIP code should determine her opportunity to achieve.” Typical Leftist bullshit. A child’s opportunity to achieve is determined by whether their mother is married, graduated from high school, and cares about how her child turns out, not whether their neighborhood has the correct distribution of blacks and Hispanics.

“Diversity”remains the shining goal of most Leftist programs, and like all such programs, nobody ever checks up to see if the goal has achieved anything beyond a correct mixture of ethnicities, sexual preferences, or races. Are the people involved happier, more successful, better educated?

No leftist program ever is judged by whether its results are successful. Head Start, for example, has been shown by study after study to have no benefits as its participants proceed through their school years. According to HHS, Head Start “positively influenced children’s school readiness” — but only if you tested them after they finished Head Start but before they started Kindergarten. Leftist programs make their proponents feel good because they have done something. They never die because they don’t work. “Diversity” is one of those sacred words.

You will no longer get to buy a home in a highly desired school district, or near a desirable park, or even where there are lots of people who speak your language and celebrate the same holidays.  Because diversity.



You Voted for Republicans in 2014? The Community Organizer Strikes Back! by The Elephant's Child
June 22, 2015, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Economy, Education, Progressivism, Regulation | Tags: , , ,

According to the Obama administration, in too many neighborhoods “housing choices continue to be constrained through housing discrimination, the operation of housing markets,[and] investment choices by holders of capital,” information directly from the Housing and Urban Development  — “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) proposed rule.

Obama apparently believes that your neighborhood may not be inclusive enough, so he has instructed HUD to issue a new rule to force communities to diversify.

Under Obama’s proposed rule, the federal government will collect massive amounts of data on the racial, ethnic and socioeconomic makeup of thousands of local communities, looking for signs of “disparities by race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability in access to community assets.” Then the government will target communities with results it doesn’t like and use billions of dollars in federal grant money to bribe or blackmail them into changing their zoning and housing policies.

Don’t misunderstand, this is not about housing discrimination, which has been illegal since 1968. It is unlawful to deny you a loan or prevent you from buying a home because of your race, creed or color. Socioeconomic status is another matter, and should be. If you want to buy a nice house in the suburbs, you have to be able to afford it. Obama apparently believes that this is unfair discrimination by the “holders of capital.” Remember that Obama’s previous chosen occupation was as a “community organizer,” a job heavily invested in claims of “red-lining” and banks’ loan policies.

The effort calls for HUD to set aside taxpayer funds to upgrade poorer communities with amenities such as better schools, parks, libraries, grocery stores and transportation routes as a means of gentrifying those communities. It also calls for using grant money to build affordable housing in wealthy neighborhoods.

The Left is deeply engaged in the pursuit of “equality.” Their goal of a future utopia where everyone is equal and lives together in perfect harmony dominates their dreams and motivates their political aims. Communitarian ideals, though it doesn’t seem to penetrate that it has been tried and failed over and over from Lenin to Venezuela and the communes of the Sixties. Those people just didn’t do it right. The Progressives would.

There is clearly a natural urge for “community.” How often do you hear the term “the Black Community?” But many cities have a Chinatown, Seattle has a Norwegian community, and it was true from the beginning — up-country South Carolina was heavily settled by the Scots-Irish. My German immigrant ancestors settled in Germantown, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania itself was settled by Quakers, New England by Puritans. People who can afford it buy around a favored golf club, or buy waterfront around a lake. Are the rest of us harmed by that? Or does it drive a better economy that benefits everyone, with more people striving to succeed?

There is a human instinct for associating with like-minded people. Consider the retirement communities, where golf-carts are the usual transportation, and escape from loud rock music is welcomed. and homes for senior citizens where health care is part of the deal. Does low-income housing fit into the gated community in the name of diversity? Is a massive influx of immigrants or welfare recipients into a highly regarded school district called for in the name of correcting good schools in the name of discrimination?

The final regulations are due out this month and HUD is pitching them as a plan to “diversify” America. “HUD is working with communities across the country to fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all,” a spokeswoman for the agency explained.

The House has passed an amendment to the Transportation Housing and Urban Development Bill that prevents HUD from implementing their AFFH regulation, which has been issued in preliminary but not yet final form by the Obama administration. “AFFH repudiates the core principles of our constitutional system by allowing the federal government to usurp the zoning powers of local governments. Over time it would transform the way Americans live urbanizing suburbs and Manhattanizing cities,” according to Stanley Kurtz. This may well become a campaign issue. Anything to get the Iran deal off the airwaves. This represents the death of the neighborhood.

Obama wants to reengineer your neighborhood.” by Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post

“Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out: The Death of the Neighborhood” by Arnold Ahlert, Front Page Magazine

“Ultimate White House trolling: Obama to “diversify” wealthy neighborhoods” by Jazz Shaw, Hot Air




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