Originally Posted by QBNCGAR
Hahahahahaha...almost fell for that one.
Seriously though, it's plainly fair to say that the "experiment" with liberal social programs has failed, citing East St. Louis, IL (and north St. Louis, MO) as case studies.
Conservatives are generally in favor of 'meritocracies', which is to say that "the system" should provide incentives for people to provide for themselves. It should NOT provide incentives (intentionally or otherwise) for people to do nothing for themselves.
No true conservative opposes providing someone a hand-up when they are down. No true conservative opposes providing aid to those who, in those rare cases, can never provide for themselves (children, mentally/physically handicapped, or those otherwise medically incapacitated). That said, if the perception is that you could provide for yourself if you wanted to, you'd fuck-an-a better.
I'll attempt to remove politics and philosophy from this "utopian" description.
Any state-aid program should be paid for by both the poor and non-poor alike. The non-poor will pay with their taxes; the poor can pay with their time. There is a LOT of work to do in ANY state...in so far as we have people who are able-bodied/able-minded, collecting state benefits, and NOT working, we should be finding things for them to do. If that means additional child care assistance is required, so be it. If that means public transportation resources are needed, so be it. You will work it off until you have found other employment or no longer need it...stop working, stop getting your checks. There would be fair expectations, measurements, and consequences for failure. I'm not talking about making babies starve - DCFS can ensure that the children will be taken care of, in spite of their parents failures, if properly governed and funded. I'm also not talking about a return to slavery - there are lots of jobs that can be done that would help to build resumes...perhaps not full time, but part-time in concert with job skills training, etc. You can see where I'm going, despite my lack of a detailed "n-Point Plan" since I'm not running for office.
Ultimately, however, nothing that we in the middle-class can wish for will make any difference. The fact that, as in East St. Louis, the culture in these areas is permissive of self-destructive behavior is ultimately what must change. The people in these areas must not only realize they're in an endless loop of despair, they need to demand more of themselves and each other than to tolerate street crimes, drug use, absentee fathers, unwed/teenage mothers, and third-world living conditions. I've not yet EVER seen an all non-black community of nearly 100,000 maintain and permit such low social and quality of life standards for themselves as in East St. Louis, IL. I think treating them in such a way that it's clear America has high expectations of them - their capabilities, talents, and potential - is a step in the right direction. Such efforts should be laser focused on every child younger than the age of 12, and should be so intense as to border on brainwashing...literally, brainwash the children into believing that they can make something of themselves despite their upbringing to-date or their living conditions. Show them the real examples of the men and women who have started in the same neighborhoods, and with great success, found their way to a new standard of life. Constantly reinforce that not only is it possible, it's probable that they can live such a life if they avoid the common pitfalls that are known to drag a person down.
It's obviously uncertain as to whether or not any of this would ever prove out. What IS certain is that the system as it exists HAS been proven out, and it's been found wanting.
YOU and I are singing on the EXACT same page of the hymnal. The model that you just wrote about is just about how it is being done [or at least tried] in Appalachia. It is a generational mission. It is not going to be finished by the time I am dead but we keep plugging away.
We don't have many of the drug issues that East St. Louis has by far but they are creeping in daily. That is being fought on many levels. Some even legally. What you write about regarding getting to the kids early [you say younger than 12] I think has to start at kindergarten. You need role models for those kids to look up to from that point. Otherwise they look to the street and you know that answer.
Is there a joint task force between MO and IL to handle the cross river problems? I know a bit of that area and know that it is very hard on the east side of the Mississippi.
One model that we have had very good luck with in both an urban and rural environment is Habitat for Humanity. It has many of the "sweat equity" ideas that you listed and that has been a boon for neighborhoods that have been on the cusp of turning. Now once they have gone bad, that is a completely different animal. It is very hard to bring in spots of new housing to that kind of environment.
More in a bit.