A Question for BLM

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal asks a probing question of the Black Lives Matter movement (not to mention those who want to inflate the minimum wage again), after noting that it seems headed towards the same fate as other "black power" movements:

A new National Bureau of Economic Research report looked at the consequences of Seattle's decision to raise its minimum wage to $13 last year from $9.47 in 2015. The researchers concluded that the increase "reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by around 9 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent. Consequently, total payroll fell for such jobs, implying that the minimum wage ordinance lowered low-wage employees' earnings by an average of $125 per month in 2016." When are BLM activists going to take the Democrats to task for promoting policies that harm minority workers disproportionately? When the unemployment rate for black teens reaches 100%?

Or course, improving educational and employment prospects for the black underclass would lower black crime rates and thus go a long way toward reducing encounters with police, the goal that is so near and dear to the Black Lives Matter movement. It's a win-win, but first the activists have to decide whether the real goal is to help black people or help themselves. [link omitted, bold added]
The cultural headlock of altruism, even among many who genuinely wish to help the black underclass, necessitates that I quibble with the wording, but not the sentiment here: The goals of helping oneself and helping the black underclass are not only not mutually exclusive, they both entail greater freedom for everyone to help themselves -- in the form of stronger property rights and fewer government dictates for all. Altruism causes too many people to imagine that self-interest and taking advantage of other people are one and the same. Its short-range, myopic focus on how much one person has compared to another fosters both covetousness and poor self-confidence so thoroughly that many (if not most) people today see material wealth as being of a fixed quantity and life as being a zero-sum game. Helping the black underclass is a win-win, but what BLM has been promoting isn't help. Furthermore, the short-term prestige of its leaders is a sorry pyschological substitute for the happiness that would come from the genuine heroism such change would require.

Having put in my two cents, I thank this columnist for raising a long overdue question.

-- CAV

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