Although by expert estimation over fifteen trillion dollars have been spent since 1965 in the “war on poverty”, black poverty rates have been virtually unchanged (at twice the national rate) and deep damage has been caused to black families. While progress and reform has been made, the United States alone still spends almost one trillion dollars a year on anti-poverty programs. Unfortunately, most of these funds are spent inefficiently, and, rather than helping, cause damage by encouraging dependence and undermining the very values of personal responsibility that define individual development and advancement.

CURE supports work as the first pillar of welfare and urges that all basic support structures be revisited before unlimited support be given unwisely. Unconditional welfare should only be provided to the unconditionally disabled, for all can make a positive impact and meaningful contribution, no matter how small it may be.

Small business development is another factor in revitalizing urban communities. There is a 9.4% ratio of business ownership for black citizens, and it has great potential to increase. Policies could be enacted which remove barriers to black business ownership and encourage entrepreneurship. For instance, enterprise zones could designate areas within low-income communities that qualify for a reduced or tax-free business or regulatory environment.

Making the tax-code a user-friendly supporter of efforts to restore financial and social health is much needed in urban and minority at-risk communities. Zip-code identification of these communities and dollar-for-dollar tax credits for all charitable contributions could be used to enhance their social and economic conditions.

CURE supports Housing Vouchers because they allow low-income individuals greater choice and closer connections to opportunities for development. Previous voucher programs have been limited by heavy government control over which housing qualifies; instead, there must be free market terms and little government influence over location and type of residence.
When it comes to retirement security, often times black households are making so little that they are ignored and their future security is made unavailable. According to Pew Research Center, median black household wealth in 2013 was $11,200 compared to a $144,200 median white household wealth, even lower than where black household wealth was in 1983! However, the key to wealth is saving and investment, not income. Therefore, CURE supports advancement and increasing black incomes to encourage saving and investment.

 Even if earnings are small, opportunities can also be made available to low-income individuals. For example, they could use their payroll tax for social security to invest in their own private and secure retirement account. Research shows that this is the most stable source of long-term returns on savings because it diversifies their equity portfolio. In addition to higher returns, this method provides real ownership and valuable independence.

The social and economic problems that plague black communities in particular (and urban areas in general) largely derive from the breakdown of family. Poverty exists disproportionately within broken black families and single-parent homes; the incidence of single-parent households in black communities grew from 20% in 1960 to 70% in 2016. The belief that the family structure is vital to preserving society must be restored within black communities if any progress is to be hoped for.


The Center for Urban Renewal and Education IS a 501(c)3 non-profit think-and-do tank based in Washington, D.C. 

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