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Bill is Back! Whittle’s New Firewall Video: The Most Shameful Injustice
American cities with uninterrupted Democratic control:
Detroit 55 years:
Detroit’s current situation
Baltimore 49 years: No better example of failed Democratic policies. Maryland has one of the most generous welfare systems in the nation. A mother with two children participating in seven common welfare programs — Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), food stamps (SNAP), Medicaid, housing assistance, Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), energy assistance (LIHEAP), and free commodities — could receive benefits worth more than $35,000. Yet, nearly a quarter of the people in Baltimore still live in poverty. In 1960, Baltimore’s poverty rate was just 10 percent. While some of the increase since then is a result of demographic and other structural changes, we’ve clearly been throwing a lot of money at poverty in the city without much result. RELATED: Riot-Plagued Baltimore Is a Catastrophe Entirely of the Democratic Party’s Own Making And while Baltimore’s high welfare benefits haven’t reduced poverty, they may well have exacerbated other social problems. For example, some studies have long shown that high welfare benefits correlate with high out-of-wedlock birth rates. It should not come as a surprise, then, that two-thirds of births in the city are to unmarried mothers, and almost 60 percent of Baltimore households are headed by single parents. The unemployment rate in Baltimore in February was 8.4 percent, compared with just 5.5 percent nationally. In the Sandtown–Winchester/Harlem Park area, which is near the center of the unrest, more than half of the people did not have jobs, according to a February 2015 report from the Justice Policy Institute and the Prison Policy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that only seven states and the District of Columbia have a worse business climate than Maryland. The state’s tax burden is huge and growing. According to the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, Maryland ranks a dismal 40th in terms of business taxes, and an even worse 45th in terms of personal-income taxes. According to this report, Maryland is one of just a few states where the personal-income tax creates “an unnecessary drag on economic activity.” The state’s small businesses face the nation’s seventh-highest marginal tax rates. As if that were not bad enough, the city of Baltimore adds one of the highest property taxes among comparable cities. Despite a recent modest reduction in property-tax rates, Baltimore still has a tax rate more than twice the rate of most of the rest of the state. A recent study by the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy ranked Baltimore twelfth out of 53 major cities in terms of high property taxes. When the city taxes are combined with state taxes, Baltimore ends up with the ninth worst tax burden out of 50 major American cities.
EDITORIAL: To the People of Baltimore: Stop Making Things Worse The city’s economic stagnation has driven out much of the middle class, black as well as white. The result is tiny pockets of affluence surrounded by large concentrations of poverty. The city’s schools represent another failure of government. Teachers’ unions are among the most powerful special interests in Maryland. To cite just one example, even as other states were enacting right-to-work laws for public employees, Maryland passed a law mandating that all teachers pay fees to the Maryland State Education Association. RELATED: Obama: That Rioting in Baltimore? It’s All Our Fault Although Baltimore ranks fourth among major cities in per-pupil expenditures for districts with more than 40,000 students and spends $16,578 a year per pupil — roughly 52 percent above the national average — more than a quarter of Baltimore students fail to graduate from high school. Fewer than half of Baltimore high-school students passed the last Maryland High School Assessment test. SAT scores for Baltimore students are more than 100 points below the national average. Yet Maryland has one of the nation’s most restrictive charter-school laws. There are just 52 charter schools statewide. In neighboring Washington, D.C., 44 percent of the city’s public-school students are educated in the District’s 112 charter schools, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Even within the public schools, choice is extremely limited in Maryland; parents are not generally allowed to send their children to schools outside their assigned district. Needless to say, any larger efforts to give parents more control over their children’s schooling — such as vouchers or tax credits — have gone nowhere.
Baltimore Riots Crime remains a major problem in Baltimore. Despite some of the nation’s toughest gun laws, there were 99 murders in Baltimore in the first six months of 2014 (the most recent FBI data available), making the city the fifth-most-deadly in America. But, while the city remained violent and crime-ridden, the police have pursued a policy of random stops and arrests for minor offenses that has alienated residents. If you are looking for an example of the failure of the War on Drugs, Baltimore would be a showcase. Martin O’Malley, in particular, both as mayor of Baltimore and as governor of Maryland (he is now a Democratic presidential candidate), pushed a “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in the arrest of thousands of young black men for minor drug offenses. This approach to policing has inevitably led to widespread abuses. Baltimore paid out more than $5.7 million in settlements for police-brutality complaints from 2011 to 2014, and spent another $5.8 million on legal fees defending
St.Louis 65 years: St. Louis’s poverty rate is 26 percent overall, and four-in-ten children live in poverty. Like Detroit, the city has experienced a major population decline, from 850,000 in the mid-20th century to 318,000 in 2013. Last year’s Annual Performance Report gave the city’s public schools a rating of 24.6 percent on a scale of zero to 100 percent. The city, which is also reeling from $640 million in unfunded pension liabilities, is currently rated the third most dangerous large city in the nation. St. Louis’s current mayor is Francis G. Slay, who has served since 2001. There hasn’t been a Republican mayor in St. Louis since 1949.
Newark 81 years: Newark, New Jersey’s poverty rate is 26.1 percent. Its former mayor, Cory Booker, who was recently elected to the United States Senate, was the latest in a long, unbroken line of Democratic mayors dating back 106 years to 1907. Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James was convicted of five counts of fraud in 2008. Yet he is hardly an anomaly: with the exception of Booker, every Mayor of Newark since 1962 has been indicted for crimes committed during their tenure in office. Between 2005 and 2012, the city’s population declined from 281,063 to 278,906, while violent crime totals increased from 2,821 to 3,219.
Chicago 85 years: The city of Chicago, Illinois has been led exclusively by Democratic mayors since 1931. Under the “progressive” policies of such notables as Richard J. Daley, Michael Bilandic, Jane Byrne, and Harold Washington, the city’s economic and social fabric decayed markedly during the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. These trends were accompanied by a steep decline in Chicago’s population, which fell from 3.62 million in 1950 to 2.78 million by 1990.
Under Mayor Richard M. Daley (1989-2011), Chicago rebounded a bit in the 1990s when it added some 560,000 new jobs and gained more than 100,000 residents. But in the first decade of the 21st century, these successes faded. Fiscal mismanagement by the Daley administration began to manifest itself in Chicago’s economy, causing 7.1% of the city’s jobs to dry up and disappear—more than any other large metropolitan area.
Meanwhile, the city government was running an annual budget deficit of approximately $650 million. Contributing heavily to these shortfalls were ever-escalating expenditures on the lavish benefits of Chicago’s many public-sector union employees, whose pensions were, by mandate of the Illinois state constitution, permanently immune to cutbacks. By early 2012, each household in the city owed, on average, more than $63,000 in local government liabilities.
Chicago’s Democratic leaders sought to address the budget deficit by raising local property and sales taxes. This, coupled with Illinois’ already-high state-tax rates, became a recipe for severe financial hardship in the Windy City. According to a March 2013 Wall Street Journal report, the state and local taxes currently paid by Chicagoans are higher than those paid by their counterparts in all but four other American cities. This oppressive tax climate has dealt a painful blow to Chicago’s small businesses.
Another factor harming small businesses in Chicago is the system of “aldermanic privilege” that dominates the city’s politics and serves as a fertile breeding ground for corruption. As urban-affairs analyst Aaron Renn explains, Chicago’s aldermen—i.e., city council members—have “nearly dictatorial control over what happens in their wards, from zoning changes to sidewalk café permits.” “This,” says Renn, “dumps political risk onto the shoulders of every would-be entrepreneur, who knows that he must stay on the alderman’s good side to be in business. It’s also a recipe for sleaze: 31 aldermen have been convicted of corruption since 1970.” According to a University of Illinois report issued in 2012, Chicago is the most politically corrupt city in the United States, having averaged 51 public corruption convictions annually since 1976. In such a political climate, failure to adhere dutifully to the demands of the mayor and his power structure typically spells doom for any business enterprise
The state’s job-creation rate ranks a lowly 48th in the U.S., and its $9,624 public debt per capita is second only to New York’s. Largely as a consequence of this runaway debt, two of the nation’s major credit-rating corporations, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, currently give Illinois the lowest credit rating of any state in the Union.
Since the mid-1970s, the annual homicide tally within the city has ranged between 435 and 970, with the trends and fluctuations more-or-less mirroring those observable nationwide. Today Chicago ranks among the most dangerous cities in the U.S. Blacks, who constitute roughly 35% of Chicago’s population, commit 76% of all homicides in the city. By contrast, whites, who are 28% of the population, commit 4% of the homicides. Driving the trend of high crime rates in Chicago’s black community is a high incidence of single motherhood; between 75% and 80% of the city’s black children are born out-of-wedlock. Sociological research has demonstrated conclusively that growing up without a father is a far better forecaster of a boy’s future criminality than either race or poverty. As Heritage Foundation scholar Robert Rector notes, “Illegitimacy is a major factor in America’s crime problem. Lack of married parents, rather than race or poverty, is the principal factor in the crime rate.”
In recent years, Chicago has been the scene of at least 50 incidents of black-on-white “flash mob” violence, as documented by the intrepid author Colin Flaherty. One of the most recent cases occurred at the end of March, when some 500 blacks stormed the so-called Magnificent Mile, an upscale shopping area, assaulting innocent people and destroying property.
Milwaukee 106 years: Milwaukee, Wisconsin sports a poverty rate of 29.9 percent overall, including 42.6 percent of children under 18. Like Camden, Milwaukee boasts a track record of non-Republican mayors going back 105 years to 1908. But they weren’t all Democrats. In 2011, the city marked the 101st anniversary of the election of Emil Seidel, the first of three Socialist Party mayors of Milwaukee. Current Mayor Tom Barrett claims the poverty experienced in his city is a “regional problem,” but 71 percent of those who live in poverty in a four-county area were concentrated in Milwaukee.
In Buffalo, New York: In Buffalo, New York, 29.9 percent of residents overall are living below the poverty level, with children enduring a poverty rate of 46.8 percent, third highest in the nation behind Detroit and Camden. Mayor Byron Brown presides over a city that has lost 11 percent of its population over the last dozen years, due in large part to a stagnating economy. Buffalo’s last Republican mayor served until 1965.
Atlanta 137 years: News, education, entertainment – TruthRevolt is here to take the fight to the Left in those arenas. We’re here to push back against the totalitarianism of political correctness. And we’re here to loosen the Progressive death grip on American politics and culture. A major weapon in TruthRevolt’s arsenal in the past has been the regularly featured Firewall political commentary videos from Bill Whittle. Now, after a nine-month hiatus, Bill is back!
Honorable mention: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 28 percent of city residents overall live in poverty, a number that balloons to 40 percent in terms of child poverty. Democratic voter registration outnumbers Republican registration by a six-to-one margin in a city where the last Republican mayor to hold office, Bernard Samuel, was voted out in 1952. Current mayor Michael Nutter is presiding over a city with the lowest credit rating of the country’s five most populous cities ($8.75 billion in outstanding debt) and a pension system that is only funded at a level of 47.6 percent. Last March, city officials voted to close 9 percent of the city’s public schools due to a five-year $1.35 billion spending gap.
Cleveland, Ohio, 36 percent of its residents live in poverty. In 1978, when current U.S. House of Representatives Democrat Dennis Kucinich was mayor, the city became the first one since the Great Depression to default on its debt. It remained in default until 1987. In 2011, the city’s credit rating was downgraded by Fitch, due to concerns about the city’s struggling economy and shrinking population. Cleveland, whose current mayor is Frank G. Jackson, hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1989. During Jackson’s tenure, the police, fire and sanitation departments have been cited for excessive use of force, payroll abuse, and chronic billing problems, respectively.