Now, there’s real evidence to begin to resolve national controversy surrounding two critical issues, policing and jobs.
Eric Adams’ apparent victory in the Democrat primary election in the New York City mayoral race reveals what people of color think about the police. According to an article in The New York Times, they do not want to “defund the police” as progressives demand. Adams “rejected calls to defund the Police Department and pledged to expand its reach in the city.” “Black and brown voters flocked to his candidacy…”
On the economic front, President Biden seems to think he is riding to the nation’s rescue with his multi-trillion-dollar programs. Yet the central feature of his first initiative, the American Rescue Plan, is backfiring. By extending the very generous supplemental $300 weekly unemployment insurance benefit to early September, he is hindering a jobs recovery.
According to a study, whose findings were reported in The Wall Street Journal, twenty-one states have already stopped paying the supplement, and their unemployment rolls are dropping twice as fast as the rolls in the 24 states still planning to pay the supplement until its expiration under the ARP in September. Five states are ending the benefit in July and early August.
Surprise, real people – actual voters and potential workers – make decisions in their practical self-interest, not according to progressive dogma. Blacks voting for Adams prefer more cops to keep the streets safe rather than more social workers to do more social work. As reported by The Times, “Eric Adams, who emerged as the leading Democrat, focused much of his message on denouncing progressive slogans and policies that he said threatened the lives of ‘Black and brown babies’ and were being pushed by ‘a lot of young, white, affluent people.’”
Surprise, unemployed workers are good old “profit maximizers” – at least, in the short term. It only makes sense, if you can make more on the unemployment rolls than in the workplace, to stay home and collect unemployment. However, the long-term consequences are negative for both businesses and workers.
The tragedy is that Blacks living in dangerous neighborhoods are paying the price now and, likely, will pay in the long term, as will unemployed workers who may be profit-maximizing now.
Violent crime in urban centers, where a disproportionate percentage of Blacks live, has skyrocketed – particularly homicides. The murderers and their victims are overwhelmingly Black. This is the damage wrought so far by progressives’ anti-police policies.
It can only get worse. Police officers are retiring and quitting in record numbers as reported recently in The New York Times, In 2020, retirements from the New York City Police Department jumped to 2,600 from 1,500 the prior year. It is not just big cities. In Ashville, North Carolina, the police chief told The Times “We have lost about one-third of our staff to resignation and retirement.” The article reports that police departments around the country are having trouble recruiting new officers.
Fewer cops will mean more violent crime, particularly in Black neighborhoods. Evidently, Adams and Black voters in New York City understand this simple reality.
On the economic front, the adverse consequences of persistently high unemployment rolls are both definitive and somewhat speculative. Continuing to pay unemployment benefits is costly, first, to states, and, ultimately, to businesses, which face higher future taxes to replenish states’ unemployment trust funds.
While the higher future taxes are a virtual certainty, other impacts are only probable, but, nevertheless, logical and likely. Businesses are having difficulty finding workers and are having to pay higher wages to lure them off the unemployment rolls. At the margin, some additional businesses will fail under these pressures. If mobile, others may relocate to a more business friendly state.
The impact on unemployed workers is also negative: relatively fewer jobs will be available when they do come off the unemployment rolls. Moreover, long-term unemployment leads inevitably to diminished skills. Finally, those who linger on unemployment rolls become, by definition, those “last hired.” As such, they are vulnerable in the next downturn: “Last hired, first fired.”
This adds up to a toxic economic mix for states continuing to pay the $300 weekly supplement and for those receiving it.
Connecticut cannot afford such poison. Yet Governor Lamont plans to pay the supplement through September in slavish loyalty to President Biden.
The Nutmeg State has the worst jobs crisis in the nation by far. The latest jobs statistics show that Connecticut has sustained the worst shrinkage in its employment rolls of the 50 states, with the civilian workforce down almost 10 percent from February 2020 and current unemployment at 7.7 percent, the sixth highest level in the nation.
Current employment in Connecticut (about 1.62 million) is 16 percent below the pre-pandemic full employment level (1.93 million). The next biggest decline is 11 percent in Hawaii. Thirteen states have grown their workforces and have lower current unemployment rates.