President Obama’s Promise Zones: More false promises


WASHINGTON, January 15, 2014 — The Obama Administration has announced that it has added San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma to his “Promise Zone Initiative”.

This allegedly means that these “zones” will be given increased federal funding, tax incentives and grants to “improve education, access to housing, and “help reduce crime”.

Each of the Promise Zone regions are said to be “tied with a major employer.”

In the eastside of San Antonio is a partnership with St. Philip’s College. In west Philadelphia, the program includes Drexel University.

This is a good idea on paper. The problem is that it simply doesn’t work; it is not a true free-market solution and does nothing to develop and cultivate true economic independence.

Trying to improve economic conditions, improve public education and reduce crime via more Federal funding and increasing the role of the Federal government in local developments has never worked.

Furthermore, this is yet another means of government picking winners and losers. Most of the American people are losers in this deal, while some “zones” are slated to be “winners’, albeit there is no data to suggest this is applicable.

There are regulatory problems that are not addressed by the Promise Zone’s “incentives”, such as local Prevailing Wages, Project Labor Agreements and numerous other regulations which create harsh obstacles in gaining access to gainful employment and quality housing.

The Promise Zone Initiative does nothing to bolster entrepreneurship, which is the greatest need in urban centers. We need people creating industries rather than depending on government to be what it is not intended to be and has never been: A job creator.

What about the cultural barriers which cannot be addressed by the “Promise Zone”, such as the soft bigotry of low expectations which is very much prominent in the “zones” targeted by the Obama Administration?

Sorry, Mr. President, as well as you Republicans who support this false solution — America needs real reforms that will work for all of the Americans people, such as a flat tax, and reforming the U.S. corporate tax code.

Improve education? What about giving school vouchers to all American parents (for home schooling and private as well) , eliminating the Department of Education, and getting rid of teacher’s tenure.

Most crimes are tied to poverty. The number one indicator of poverty are broken homes. If the Obama administration is serious about reducing crime, it would roll back failed social policies, such as the Great Society and focus more on promoting traditional, strong families between one man and one woman.

Children raised in healthy, thriving domestic environments that place high expectations on them are much less likely to commit crimes.

America does not need more “promises”, whether through faulty Zone Initiatives or empty rhetoric from politicians, both Republican and Democrat.

We need true free market solutions that give every American an equal opportunity to compete and achieve American exceptionalism.

Stacy Swimp is the Chairman and National liaison for the Diversity Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Greater Michigan. Helping fulfill ABC’s commitment to being the leader of diversity in the construction industry, Stacy plays a key role in helping to develop the resources and tools to assist ABC members and chapters in working with an increasingly diverse workforce, client base and subcontractor/supplier base.

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