Friday, May 8, 2015

Dollars Down The Crapper

By now you're probably heard the liberal spin on the Baltimore riots.
In a speech on Monday at Lehman College in the Bronx, President Obama blasted the media for focusing on “looters and rioters” in the recent race riots in Baltimore and Ferguson before it, and said that they should instead be focusing on “those who are trying to solve the complex problems plaguing America’s cities.”

It’s not the “looters and rioters” destroying businesses that we should be focusing on ... what we should be considering is how we can improve the lives of “blacks and Latinos” who suffer a deficit of opportunity and are “trapped in failing schools.”  More investment in these communities is what is needed.

It’s important to provide the social support that can end the cycle of hopelessness.  Simply living in a wealthy country doesn’t give young people the opportunity they need to feel optimistic about their futures.  If we want to end the perpetual uprisings in our urban communities, we must stop turning a blind eye to the injustice right in front of us.
As usual, the progressives' arguments are long on emotion and short on facts. Here's a few doses of reality for them to chew on.
Federal and state money has been pouring into the city for decades. From fiscal years 2003 to 2013 (the last year for which these reports are available), Baltimore received at least $2.4 billion in federal assistance and another $1.8 billion in state aid. The city also received roughly $1.8 billion in federal stimulus money, of which more than $1.4 billion has been spent so far. And this doesn’t count the billions of dollars received directly by the people who live in Baltimore through various social welfare programs.

Yet nearly a quarter of the people in the city still live in poverty, 65 percent above the national level. We’ve clearly been throwing a lot of money at poverty in Baltimore without much result.

Part of the problem, unsurprisingly, is that the city does not make very good use of the money it receives.

In 2012, for example, Baltimore received $9.5 million in federal funds to deal with the city’s growing homeless problem. But according to an audit by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city did not properly monitor the homelessness funds, paid providers according to a preset formula rather than actual expenditures, lost track of money in several instances, and paid city staffers based on estimates, not the actual time they spent on grant activities. 

The city ended up having to repay nearly a third of the money. Not to worry, though: Baltimore expects to receive another $21.8 million in homelessness assistance this year.

Similarly, the city may end up having to repay a federal education grantdesigned to help the city’s poorest schools, after an audit by the Department of Education found that much of the money was actually used for dinner cruises, makeovers and meals.

And a new audit of a city program to help low-income families with heating and energy bills found that nearly 20 percent of payments were unsupported by paperwork, and others had missing or incorrect information. Some bills were paid multiple times, while still other payments were made to families that didn’t live in the city.

But it’s not just a question of waste, fraud and abuse. Even when the money was spent as intended, it has done little good.

Remember that $1.4 billion in federal stimulus spending? According to the government’s official website, that spending generated just 64 jobs (excluding jobs not started) as of the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2013, the latest quarter tracked. (emphasis added)

The Washington Post reports how the federal and state governments spent more than $130 million rejuvenating the Sandtown area in Baltimore where Freddie Gray was arrested. Barely half of the working-age population is employed, according to a recent report from the Justice Policy Institute and the Prison Policy Initiative. 

The neighborhood lacks a supermarket or a single restaurant, not even a fast food outlet. More than 60 percent of people over 25 have less than a high school diploma, and almost half of current high school students are chronically absent. Life expectancy is 10 years lower than the national average.

Baltimore spends $16,578 a year per pupil in schools, roughly 52 percent above the national average, and the fourth most of any major city. The majority of that money comes not from the city itself but from the state and federal governments. 

Yet 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.

There are few better routes out of poverty than a job. Fewer than 3 percent of those working full time live in poverty. Yet Maryland has one of the most anti-business tax and regulatory climates in the nation. And Baltimore adds its own layer of excessive taxes and regulatory bureaucracy.

And any effective anti-poverty program will try to reduce out-of-wedlock birth and single parenting. Households headed by a single mother are more than five times more likely to be poor compared with married-couple families, but in Baltimore two-thirds of the births in the city are to unmarried mothers, and almost 60 percent of households are headed by single parents. Yet our welfare system continues to discourage family formation.
Keep in mind that Baltimore has been ruled by democrats exclusively since 1967 - almost half a century. And yet their only solution is to throw more money at it.

That's tantamount to throwing money away.


Bag Blog said...

Down the toilet is right.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Tsk, tsk. All those dollars support drones collecting paychecks and thieves posing as politicians. Cure problems? No, no. Ever see someone on the social services trade wanting to cure problems and work themselves out of a job?

Old NFO said...

Actually they're throwing that money in THEIR pockets as fast as they can...

CenTexTim said...

BB - a total waste of $$$

WSF and NFO - and of course, no one will be held accountable for the mismanagement/graft