By Star Parker
Decades ago, Winston Churchill observed that “the inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” His words apply well to the choice in the 2012 presidential election.
Note, for example, how the young black Democratic mayor of Newark, N.J., Cory Booker, was strongly repudiated by the Obama campaign, including the president himself, when he insolently suggested that Bain Capital, the investment firm once headed by Mitt Romney, might actually do positive things.
Booker, an Obama campaign surrogate, went off script on “Meet the Press” when he refused to justify a campaign attack ad depicting the evils of Bain. “I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity. … Especially that I know I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people are investing in companies like Bain Capital.”
This was more than insubordination to Booker’s campaign handlers. It was unmitigated heresy, driving to the core of the Obama campaign message. The narrative, telescoping the theme of four years of this presidency, is that the American economy collapsed because of unbridled capitalism. To recover, the narrative continues, we must allow all-knowing, all-powerful, compassionate political leadership in Washington to rearrange the American economy and make sure businessmen never steamroller Americans again.
But Booker, educated at Stanford, Oxford and Yale Law School, is a new breed of young black politician — the kind who is actually trying to make a difference. And he is too close to realities on the ground to deny the truth he sees.
As mayor of Newark, Booker governs a city that is more than 50 percent black with a 25 percent poverty rate. It’s clear what Newark needs is more business and investment, not more government.
George Mason University economist Walter Williams recently noted America’s poorest cities with populations greater than 250,000 – Detroit, Buffalo, N.Y., Cincinnati, Cleveland, Miami, St. Louis, El Paso, Texas, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Newark – have one common characteristic. For decades, they have been run by liberal, Democratic administrations. The mayors of six of them have been black.
The big government, high taxation, overreaching regulation model of governing has been a saga of failure in America’s cities. And it certainly has not served well the black populations that disproportionately populate them.
Last week, I wrote on the stark contrast between the values blacks embrace in church on Sundays and those they embrace on Election Day on Tuesdays. Another paradox is that blacks vote with their feet against the same political regimes they support in the voting booth.
The New York Times reported last March that, according to new census data, blacks are departing our failed northern cities and heading south. Blacks may be pulling the lever for “blue” candidates, but they’re leaving the blue states and moving to the red ones.
Michigan, Illinois, New York and other major Northern black population centers have shown net black population decreases over the last decade, and “among the 25 counties with the biggest increase in black population, three quarters are in the South.”
Professor of history Clement Price at Rutgers University in Cory Booker’s Newark says, “The black urban experience has essentially lost its appeal with blacks in America.”
These black Americans on the move are young and educated — 40 percent are between 21 and 40, and one in four have college degrees — and they are looking for opportunity.
The places in America today with the growth and opportunity they seek are those areas that embrace freedom and entrepreneurship.
Cory Booker knows this. And he knows that fixing America’s blighted urban areas means pushing back against the smothering government that caused this decay, and inviting creative and courageous business minds to come in with their investment capital.
So Booker’s defense of Bain and capitalism should come as no surprise.
Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. She can be reached at urbancure.org.