Monday, November 17, 2008

Link Between Poverty and Politics

Several years ago I served on a panel in a televised debate in which three conservatives faced off against three liberals on how to solve poverty problems. The only person I remember on the other side was Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Over the years I have participated in a huge number of debates and other forums, but this was one of my favorites. I got to call one of the most liberal Members of Congress that she was a "poverty pimp" to her face. I doubt I will ever forget the look on her face.

Sheila Jackson Lee is one of many liberal politicians who survive off of poverty. If her constituents some how became affluent -- in spite of her best efforts to fight such -- they would throw her out of office at their earliest opportunity. This is because her high tax and big government worldview is opposed to the idea of wealth creation.

Lee is not the only one. The United States Census Bureau creates an annual list of the poorest cities in the country. It is pretty easy to notice the link between the cities economies and their politics. The following list is in their proper order and includes the percentage who are in poverty:

1. Detroit, 32.5. Detroit has consistently been one of the most Democratic cities in the country for almost four decades and during that time, one of the most poor.

2. Buffalo, 29.9. This city has not elected a Republican mayor since the 1950s.

3. Cincinnati, 27.8. This poor city actually had Jerry Springer as a mayor and has not had a Republican mayor since the early 80s.

4. Cleveland, 27.0. This city has not had a Republican mayor since 1989,'

5. Miami, 26.9. This city has never had a Republican mayor.

6. St. Louis, 26.8. This gateway to the west hasn't had a GOP mayor since the 1940s.

7. El Paso, 26.4. This town has never had a Republican mayor.

8. Milwaukee, 26.2. You have to go to the turn of the last century to find a time this city has elected a Republican mayor.

9. Philadelphia, 25.1. Not since the 1970s has this town been able to produce a Republican mayor.

10. Newark, 24.2. Like Milwaukee, you have to go back to the beginning of the last century to find a GOP chief executive for this city.

Democrats consistently promote policies that are hostile to business, gives incentives for people to be poor, and punishes success. They simply don't understand that the behaviors that people promote on the micro level -- rewarding good behavior, discouraging sloth, and encouraging achievement -- work equally well on the macro level.

This may be why so many businesses are concerned by the rise of a Barack Obama. He grew up as a "community organizer" (which is a politically correct euphemism for "poverty pimp") and made his money helping people be comfortable in their economic condition rather than encouraging them to get out of such. This unique background and his stated economic policies may be the exact reason why we are seeing the massive layoffs today. Yes Mr. Obama, business gets the message and so are millions of other Americans facing poverty.

Kevin Price articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media.

Kevin Price is Host of the
Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at PriceofBusiness.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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