The poor wretches, trying to piece their lives back together after such massive destruction and upheaval. Won’t you spare them just a few dollars of your money?
Nepal? I mean Baltimore!
President Obama claimed last Tuesday that if the Republican-controlled Congress would implement his policies to make “massive investments in urban communities,” they could “make a difference right now” in the city, currently in upheaval following the death of Freddie Gray.
However, a Washington Free Beacon analysis found that the Obama administration and Democratically-controlled Congress did make a “massive” investment into Baltimore, appropriating $1,831,768,487 though the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), commonly known as the stimulus.
Yeah, but $1,643,559,223 went to the contract for those nifty green signs advertising ARRA “shovel-ready” projects.
Oops! Wrong sign.
The projects included $26.5 million from the Justice Department (DOJ) to combat gang activity and provide community support for at-risk juveniles.
Among the listed goals are “to curb the growth of criminal gangs in Maryland, and to effectively dismantle existing gangs.”
Funding also went to “Operation Safe Kids,” which sought to “develop and implement an effective community-based supervision model for at-risk juveniles to minimize residential placements without compromising public safety.”
The project also included criminal justice reform, to “identify non-violent substance abusing offenders who may be amenable to treatment, and place them under community-based supervision with intensive drug treatment combined with strong judicial oversight and support.”
The stimulus also gave the city $26 million for the “Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc. Neighborhood Stabilization Program,” to “redevelop residential foreclosed, abandoned, or vacant properties in designated neighborhoods in Baltimore, Maryland.”
Roughly $9.5 million went towards homelessness prevention.
A total of $5,644,792 of Community Services Block Grants went to Baltimore meant to “promote the economic and social well-being of children, youth, families and communities.”
The only shovels busy in Baltimore were those pitching $100 bills into the storm drains to “promote the economic and social well-being of children, youth, families and communities”. If each shovel can handle 100 bills a throw, that’s 180,000 chucks of $10,000 each. Say you throw 10 shovelfuls a minute, and work 35 hours a week, that would run to eight-and-a-half weeks—two months—of steady employment flushing money down the sewer. Nice work if you can get it.
I haven’t paid any attention to Baltimore before, except for its baseball and football teams, and one of my favorite TV series ever, aptly set in Baltimore, “Homicide: Life on the Street”. But I’m thankful to the anarchists and agitators for opening my eyes. Baltimore is Little Detroit. Like Detroit, its population peaked in 1950 (when it was the nation’s sixth-largest city, right behind Detroit; today it is 26th; in 1950, no city in Texas was larger; today six are); like Detroit, it has been a slough of Democrat politics and politicians for decades. Like Detroit, it is on life support, not expected to survive.
Like Detroit, it is also majority African American.
I can’t tell you which factor is paramount in Baltimore’s decline, but I can confidently guarantee that if all factors continue unchanged, so will the decline. Obama’s talk of “massive investments in urban communities” is palaver—palaver and shovels full of Benjamins—unless people address the real root causes.
Until then, I sadly but sincerely believe that Nepal is a better investment of your charitable dollars.
PS: I meant to work this point into the body of the piece, but it’ll have to do here: didn’t CVS invest “massively” in this urban community? And the other shop owners in the neighborhood—those Latino and Asian owned businesses that were specifically targeted by the gangs, sparing the black-owned shops? Private enterprise, not government, is the only hope of urban communities. The former built businesses and created jobs; the latter said “stand down” and let it burn.