Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Conservatives Agendas Are Pro-Crime?

The two absolute most favorite talking points from any conservative candidate, no matter what the office may be, are being tough on crime and cutting taxes. However, those two agendas are at an apparent conflict with each other.

Whenever a conservative politician decides what programs get cut when they reduce spending to pay for their tax cuts, their first choice, without fail, are social programs. Especially those that are meant for the poor, kids, or poor kids.

Conservative radio squawkers and their echo chamber blogging buddies follow that meme. They ridicule midnight basketball. They complain about MPS spending money on things like iPods, in an effort to get kids to school. They call these type of programs "feel good" wastes of tax dollars, that could be put to greater use, like building unneeded and unwanted freeways and shopping centers.

But now a new report on homicide rates show that this is not the case. The report shows that the rate of homicides among black teens and young adults is jumping at an alarming rate. The report goes on to examine why this is:

"In Milwaukee, you have a fairly substantial black underclass," [James Alan] Fox (coauthor of the report) said. "Milwaukee and other cities . . . like Baltimore and Houston are feeling the effects of a reduction in support programs for youth and also a reduction in some of the support for police from Washington."

The reallocation of federal resources toward combating terrorism after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has meant less money for fighting street crime, Fox said.

"The shift over to homeland security is leaving hometown security wanting in more high-crime neighborhoods," he said. "While we're protecting our economic centers and transportation hubs, we shouldn't be ignoring high-crime areas where gangs are active and at-risk youth are seduced by what gangs can offer them: the thrills, the status, the opportunity for advancement."

Even Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn agrees:

"Crime reduction isn't just smart tactics," Flynn said. "Crime reduction requires a stable, visible police presence, and it requires investments in young people.

"We had an effect this year, and we feel good about it, but we're not going to have a long-term effect on the crime rate if there are no options for young people."

Flynn was praised by conservatives when he was hired for his tough on crime attitude and felt that he would do a lot to help clean up crime in Milwaukee. How much do you want to bet that they will not hesitate to through him under the bus for that comment?

It really shouldn't be necessary to point this out, but I will. These programs that are aimed at the teens and young adults, with the goal of keeping them in school and to give them alternatives than running the streets and joining gangs, are a lot cheaper than incarcerating the same people for years or decades after they kills someone.

Mmmm. Saving money and preventing crime via social programs. That sounds good to me. Too bad that doesn't fit into the conservatives' fear and smear tactics, eh?


  1. It is also no accident that following the enactment of "welfare reform" poverty shot up in the inner city. Anybody knows generating more poverty generates more crime.

    Not saying we want people on welfare, but nothing substantive was done to make these people ready for work or for there to be meaningful work to fill the void from the disappearance of government support.

    For some, however, eliminating welfare was the ultimate feel good.

  2. I'm conservative, cos sometimes I wear panties to bed!

    Uh, yeah, that's all ;-)

  3. Umnnnhhhh.....

    "meaningful work" is generated by private industry.

    Private industry does not like high taxes and regulatory burdens.

    Like those found in the City of Milwaukee, for example.

  4. Funny, the taxes and regulations were always there in Milwaukee before welfare "reform". Hmmmm something else might have happened dad. Please feel to try again.

  5. When I was growing up in Tosa, I got a summer job in the County Parks. Not sure if they still do that now. It was a good experience except when I had to clean out the sewer.
    I have no problems with a limited LTE jobs government jobs so a person can learn some job, life and social skills for kids still in high school. The kids would have to meet certain requirements such as a minimum GPA and attendance record.
    With the economy the way it is, it will be hard to have the private sector do all the hiring. A potential employer will have to choose between a person who has been laid off, has experience and a family vs a kid who lives at home with no job experience.
    That is for the kids.
    I honestly don't very much sympathy for adults who have dropped out of school, committed crimes and/or abuse drugs and booze. I'd rather see money spent by the government spend money first on people with potential then the others.

  6. @Dad,

    I will overlook the slight to my career. However, businesses also don't like crime, and every good businessperson would prefer a wise investment over a wasteful one.


    Well said, sir.


    It only counts if they are made out of scratchy burlap. That would make you grouchy enough to be conservative.

  7. Keith, the burden of tax/reg has grown exponentially since 1975, although not exclusively at the local level. Look at, e.g., the requirement that one must create handicap-accessibility. Frankly, it's almost cheaper to buy a new building than to re-do the existing one. Add to that the fire-codes, modern manufacturing theory (one-story plants), etc., and THEN Milwaukee's own special brand of love (the sick-time tax), and it's kinda hopeless.

    The sad reality is that those burdens, nationally and locally, along with "globalization", have almost entirely obliterated entry-level manufacturing opportunities.

    Work on Obama. Get him to establish FAIR Trade policies.

    Get back to me after that.

  8. Dad, you are absolutely right on the issue of fair trade. It does the world no good helping other economies while crippling our own. There is a right way an a wrong way to do this.

    May I suggest as well that poverty and crime will continue to be a problem unless we come up with an effective mass transit system to link up people with jobs.