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Star Parker

We will always have the poor because there will always be somebody at a starting point, but what is often overlooked is that the poor which exist today aren’t the same poor which existed yesterday. The more education one receives, the harder one works and the more that one’s family remains in tact, the more likely that a poor person will leave poverty behind.

In the United States in particular, poverty is not a permanent class status, it’s simply a stage of life, which is what makes America so exceptional. The reason being that America built an environment in which anyone could become wealthy. Wealth wasn’t determined by a person’s parents or a child’s social climate, rather the individual was afforded the incentive and opportunity to prosper because of low taxes, the rule of law and the protection of private pursuits. This is a major difference between this country and other countries, including European countries, where the tendency is that if a person is born poor he will likely remain that way for generations.

One of the threats to this, however, is the tendency of government to create policies which undermine these pillars of prosperity. For example, when the government prevents tax payer money from following a child to any school that the parent chooses, in the form of a school voucher, it creates a government run education monopoly particularly in poorer communities and this always results in lower quality schools and education, from which these children can not escape. And when children receive a poor education it limits their options and ability to break free of poverty.

President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, Star Parker

Star Parker

The economy is not a machine, rather, it’s human beings producing and exchanging goods and services. So when people are able and willing to do this freely and creatively, an economy will prosper. What impedes this ability and willingness to do so is burdensome regulations and high taxes. In other words, if the time and effort required by a person or group of people to produce or sell a product or service isn’t worth the amount of money that they make by doing so, they simply won’t.

For instance, if I was thinking about entering the property rental business, the sheer volume of paperwork, the excessive insurance requirements and regulations like price controls likely would discourage it. In this case, if, in my estimation, the return on my investment doesn’t adequately compensate for the time and effort that is required, then I will simply discard the idea.

President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, Star Parker

Star Parker

A minimum wage requirement increases unemployment because it simply means that people whose employment value isn’t worth the minimum wage won’t be employed. If a certain job isn’t worth the going minimum wage rate, then an established business simply won’t hire somebody to work. Unfortunately, those who most need low paying, low skilled jobs and are able and willing to work for less than the minimum wage - the young, uneducated and poor - are those who suffer the most.

The unemployment rate for those aged 16 to 21 years, especially in the African American community, is extremely high and when these young men who won’t go to school and hang out on street corners, are not able to walk into an established business and earn a decent wage and learn valuable skills which they were never taught in their broken homes, it increases their chances not only of a future of poverty, but a future in prison.

President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, Star Parker

Star Parker

Workers’ unions reduce job opportunities and economic growth by distorting labor markets. What this means is that union policies tend to increase the cost of employing people and reduce the productivity of employees, which reduces the natural demand for employees and the supply of jobs. When employers are forced to pay higher wages, to provide more expensive benefits and to comply with burdensome regulations, they discourage employers from employing more people. And when the union sets the wages for employees and conditions under which an employee can be fired, rather than the employer making these decisions, it removes the employee’s incentive to work harder because his pay rate and employment aren’t tied to his effort.

Although unions tend to be detrimental, their policies are consistent with their founding. The best way to determine the nature and intentions of an organization is to look at their founding documents which articulates the reason it exists. As unsavory as it sounds, they were established in the United States to prevent African Americans from working. After the American Civil War when four million slaves were released, one million of them immediately left the south and started moving north looking to work in coaling and on docks, and because they were willing to work for less money, they undercut the wages of established workers. In order to prevent this, workers’ unions set about establishing a minimum wage requirement which effectively priced African Americans out of the market in order to protect their own jobs.

President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, Star Parker

Star Parker

The wealthy don’t simply horde their money, or bury it in the ground, they invest it in such a way that all of society benefits, by producing products and services that people want which then creates jobs which people need. An obvious example of this is Apple Inc.’s Steve Jobs who started with a single idea which lead to more ideas which have now produced directly and indirectly not just money for himself, but countless jobs and technology for the entire world.

Although it may not be presented or perceived as such, taxes on the wealthy act to punish and disincentivize this kind of innovation. And instead of using their money to innovate, they will be forced to use it to avoid paying higher taxes.

It’s the nature of money to grow and the problem is that when people decide to punish this growth through taxation or regulation, then businesses will simply stop production in one place and move it to another, whether it be to another state or country.

Quite apart from this, confiscating a person’s wealth is a violation of his or her right to be responsible for their own money. For he who has much, much is required.

President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, Star Parker

Star Parker

The purpose of taxation is to fund the activities of government, so defining the proper role of government will naturally determine the amount of money required to fund these activities and the kind of tax system necessary to generate it. Under the United States constitution, the role of the federal government is to act as an impartial, neutral broker whose responsibilities are to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which means administering justice, enforcing contracts and ensuring national and individual security.

Because government is run by people, money creates power and power tends to corrupt, the government’s ability to tax should be limited and the tax system impartial, something like a flat rate income or sales tax. The more power that the government wields, the more corruptible and corrupt it becomes, communism and socialism being the obvious examples. So the problem with a progressive tax system is that the government becomes a tool of social engineering by rewarding groups and behaviors which it favors with tax breaks and subsidies and punishing those it disfavors with high taxes and penalties.

President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, Star Parker

Star Parker

No single individual possesses absolute truth so the best way to find the truth is to allow the open, free exchange of ideas. This freedom must also be coupled with a limited role of government because when government compensates for the failure of man to take individual responsibility then people will look to government rather than to God, who I believe is the author of truth.

Adversity should not be seen as an enemy but as a friend because it causes people to explore deeper truths, to look for greater understanding and to think about eternity. When God seems hidden, we reach deeper for Him and in homes where people are unemployed, contemplating losing their house and grappling with tough decisions, I guarantee that a whole lot more prayer is going on.

Unfortunately, in our harder hit communities people are not being asked to do this because the government makes decisions for them so that they depend on the government rather than their own ingenuity.

President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, Star Parker