Don: I was struck by a column published in the Sun-Times, a column written by Star Parker. Star Parker is the president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. She says that Representative Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, provoked angry push-back when he claimed not only is his proposed revamp of the US budget fiscally-sound, but morally-sound.
She goes on to say that Ryan said he drew inspiration from his Catholic faith: priority for caring for the poor should focus on helping folks move out of poverty and Ryan deserves credit for casting his proposed reforms in moral as well as economic terms.
Star Parker, good morning!
Star: Well good morning Don. It's good to be with you and Roma.
Roma: Delighted to have you, Star.
Don: I know you get a lot of people who disagree with you but could you explain why you said this was morally sound to have these reforms?
Star: Well, the people who attempt to disagree with me, try to argue that there is a separation between morality and the economy and that we should view these two areas of our lives in separate universes.
But we know they're not true. Our morality touches our economy and what Ryan points out, in my opinion, is that clarity. To say that we can fix our nation, whether it's our entitlement programs, whether we can reduce our size and scope of government, whether we can bring things more locally and depend on family and community without assessing how we're broken -- our major institutions are broken because of our morality has fallen -- is deception.
We're deceiving ourselves to think that we can recover economically if we don't look at the moral aspect of our lives.
Don: And the moral aspect that you're talking about is the cause of the problems.
Star: Well, it's part of the cause. When we think about family life, we've broken down. It's underappreciated how broken we are. When you think about out-of-wedlock birth rates, for instance, it's at 40 percent. Now 4-out-of-10 children in this country are being born outside of marriage. In the black community it's 72 percent. In the Latino community it's 48 percent, in the white community it's just under 30 percent.
When you have single-headed households or people not marring in the numbers that we've been used to in society, you have more dependency on government.
This is very clear when you look at what's happened in black communities. You know, it's under-appreciated that in the 60s when most of the social engineering started, 70 percent of black children were raised in married households. Today it's exactly the opposite ever since the war on poverty was declared.
So when we tried to separate how we depend on each other in the public square, our taxes and what we're going to spend them for, and we try to separate that from what has happened to the family, and where people become dependent, we're not going to the fundramentals of what has created the problem, so of course you can't fix it.
Roma: How do we ween ourselves from dependency. I mean, within Obama's tenure, more and more people are dependent on the government than they ever have been before.
Star: Well, the first thing you have to do is admit you have a problem. When I left welfare, I had to admit I had a problem. I lived the lie of the left and after seven years wandering in and out of dependency, three-and-a-half years consistently, living on welfare. Until a Christian conversion, I had to look at myself in the mirror and say 'wait a minute, what is the problem?'.
Once you determine that we have other things in our society and individually, we won't be able to get to any type of solution.
So yeah, first we have to say what has happened to us as a community of people in American society. How do we move from dependency on our lives, our families, our churches and other institutions in our society that keep us personally responsible, to now where we are now where we are more dependent on government.
You're absolutely right, Roma. When you think about it, when you have 70 percent of all government intake, outside of defense, is a transfer to an individual. This is a problem. We can't go on like this where half the country makes and have the country takes. Where almost half the country doesn't have any skin in the game when it comes to paying the federal coffers.
We have to admit there's something broken down moreso than "let's just increase taxes on the wealthy."
Roma: We see such a problem in the black community in Chicago. The crime rate in this city has been sky-rocketing, violent crime, and it's black-on-black crime. You talk time and time again in your literature, the Sunday/Tuesday gap in black America. What's going on there?
Star: Well, one of the things that's going on is we have a picture: a case-study of why liberalism will not work. Going back to the 60s when family life was intact in black America -- prior to the social engineering of the left that said 'you don't have to do it that way. Let's have these safety nets, if you engage in sexual activity outside of marriage.'
Over time as they broke down family, they broke down community.
When you talk about black-on-black crime or any crime in urban communities, when we start assessing how many of these households are marital households where the young men are losing track of their lives and getting involved in criminal activities, the number that are in marital households reduces significantly.
What we're seeing in crime, or many other areas whether it's low education aspirations, whether it's more dependency on government, where it's just reckless living, what we're seeing is these are the children of single-headed households, and it's one of the reasons that the nation should be concerned because what broke down in black America resulted from 1960s social engineering -- Barack Obama-type of policies -- is breaking down in the rest of America because more of America, more mainstream America, is getting engaged in this type of reckless living.
Roma: Unemployment, education, our education system is failing. Urban dwellers are ...
Star: They're all connected! I mean, let's face it, at the same time that we were starting to see our morality break down, in our most vulnerable communities, including the black community, we were starting to see more government control over education and over simple things.
The unions became very involved in what were going to do about educating children and so the focus left from what's best for the child in this particular household and became best for the teacher and the structure of the teacher's unions.
So yeah, it touches education as well. It's one of the reasons that I've been fighting for vouchers for years. I believe that money should follow children to the school that the parent decides, especially if that parent is single and living in a hard-hit community.
Don: Star Parker, I want to know if someone's interested in more information from the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, your website:
Star: urbancure.org or they can google my name at StarParker.com and come to my website and sign-up for my weekly column.
We have to have these discussions so I appreciate that you allowed me to talk to your audience about these this morning.
Roma: We love it.
Don: You're a great influence, thank you.
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