Commentary by Dr. Ben Carson
Actions speak louder than words, and the Trump Administration has bellowed its vision for Black America. For years, politicians have demonstrated reform and the advancement of our communities. The results are far from what you hear in a stump speech. President Trump has fundamentally altered the ways of Washington for the better, and Black Americans are reaping some of the biggest rewards. As we approach the 2020 Election, we should embrace conservative policies that are working and reject big government politicians whose policies have failed us. The era of false promises is over. Let’s vote using evidence versus rhetoric.
President Trump is the only politician in recent memory who has a record of making sure Black Americans are a priority. His pro-growth policies have brought everyone to the table. President Trump believes in equal rights, not extra rights. Rather than pander or treat any American as a special voting bloc, his view is that Americans are patriots and deserve a country that works on their behalf. That’s why I endorsed then-candidate Donald Trump in March 2016, pledged to help him get elected and have served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. I knew he would make Washington work for all Americans – including the Black community.
Chicago is America’s third most populous city and is where many Obama administration alumni began their careers. Chicago’s population is over one-third Black and Democratic party policies have done an incredible disservice for generations. The Cloverhill Bakery in Northwest Chicago was found guilty of employing over 800 illegal immigrants using false identification. After the investigation and action from ICE, the new employees were 90 percent Black and received a higher wage than the prior illegal immigrants. A harsh reality is that illegal immigration siphons wages, jobs, and housing from Black Americans. Yet, no pundit or political spinster will ever say that out loud. Instead, they insist that putting America First is somehow against our patriotic interests.
Over nine million black Americans live in poverty, yet Democrats continually put illegal immigrants first. Immigration is good when done legally and can be very advantageous when done in a thoughtful and compassionate way.
The Trump Administration is committed to reversing this trend by aggressively tackling some of the root issues causing generational poverty – access to education and reviving distressed communities. President Trump has given more money to Historically Black Colleges and Universities than any president ever elected and has waived an additional $322 million in HBCU federal debt. Moreover, $100 million for HBCU scholarships and research funding for land-grant institutions were allocated in the recent Farm Bill. This is a stark contrast to the previous administration, which drove a wedge between the government and HBCUs.
However, rather than throwing more money at the same problem and expecting different results, President Trump is taking action to ensure that Black Americans have unparalleled opportunity in the American economy. A major piece of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 were Opportunity Zones. The administration identified over 8,700 economically distressed communities and packaged tax incentives for anyone willing to invest time, resources, and capital to these underserved corners of America.
Opportunity Zones have long been deemed as a bipartisan policy goal that could help tackle the desperate need for capital in otherwise ignored parts of our country. The Trump Administration is expecting $100 billion in these communities and private sector money is beginning to pour in. Opportunity Zones can reawaken Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and cities long forgotten, but represented, by complacent and ineffective politicians. Rather than rely on the government for an answer, President Trump knows that American ingenuity, work ethic, and entrepreneurial spirit are how we improve our situations.
While the Trump Administration sets its eyes towards the future, we are also set on improving the lives of Black Americans today. Funding for public housing repairs is at the highest level in a decade since the one-time Recovery Act, thanks to President Trump. Last year, the city of Baltimore received billions of dollars in federal aid from this Administration, yet the troubled city remains in stagnant disrepair. The current funding bill in the senate, if signed by the President would provide a record level of homeless program funding from California to New York.
While Democrats – including a young Delaware Senator named Joe Biden – were the architects of the notorious “3 strikes rule” that the NAACP deems directly responsible for the disproportionate imprisonment of millions of minority men, President Trump has just passed the most comprehensive prison reform bill in over three decades – resulting in the immediate release of over 1200 non-violent minority offenders.
Under the Trump Administration, the African American poverty rate is at a record low and historic, bipartisan criminal justice reform was signed – giving non-violent offenders a second chance at life and the American Dream. We are not just getting people out of prison, we are concentrating on providing them with training, education and skills that will provide a great alternative to a life of crime. The results speak for themselves. President Trump has done more for Black Americans in his first two and a half years in office than Democrats have in decades.
That’s why the launch of Black Voices for Trump is so critical. This coalition will focus on highlighting those accomplishments and sharing stories of success. The status quo has been changed forever under President Trump, and Black America is better because of this.