I must tell you that I laughed aloud when I heard that President-elect Donald Trump planned to give African-Americans a “New Deal.” I instantaneously thought that Trump’s use of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (FDR) iconic campaign slogan to be yet another occurrence of the implementation of the non-specific language that invariably betrayed the original initiatives spirit. However, on second thought it appears that President-elect Trump if he remains true to the spirit of FDR’s “New Deal” may very well be on to something.
When the “New Deal” was created America was in the throes of an unprecedented ‘Great Depression’ that affected the entire globe. It was into this economic mess that FDR stepped and offered the American people a “New Deal.” Most hoped that FDR’s economic policies would both extricate them from their current troubles and put measures in place to prevent its reoccurrence. FDR’s “New Deal” restrained American Capitalists via regulations that significantly curtailed their often risky business dealings and protected American workers via ‘social security’ initiatives that were designed to buttress their confidence in the American economy.
Although FDR’s “New Deal” never pulled the nation out of the Great Depression, it did sway Black voters toward the Democratic Party, a migration that has only strengthened since the tumultuous 1930’s.
For the vast majority of African-Americans, particularly those residing in this nation’s urban centers, economic struggles have been a consistent issue. Most agree that a modern-day Marshall Plan will only eradicate the vast and far-reaching socioeconomic problems found in this country’s cities. Make no mistake about it, America’s urban poor need jobs, housing, health care, better education, and employment training.
The above problems are a formidable opponent to President-elect Trump. To his credit, Trump has publicly vowed to address this situation via an urban renewal program that has taken many of its cues from FDR’s New Deal.
Although African-Americans have been quick to rebuff, if not ignore, Trump’s overtures toward them, even the most stubborn African-American has to agree with him on the following point,
“In election after election, Democratic party leaders take African-American voters for granted, and year after year the condition of Black America gets worse. The conditions in our inner cities today are unacceptable. Too many African-Americans have been left behind.”
Trump’s “New Deal” hinges upon the following key points:
- Voucher programs for African-American Schoolchildren.
- Increased law enforcement presence to reduce crime in Urban America.
- Tax cuts for business within blighted urban areas, a move to encourage investment in central city areas.
- Financial reforms aimed at enriching African-American entrepreneurs.
- Ceasing “trade deficits” that encourage the relocation of jobs from inner-city areas.
- An abrupt end to illegal immigration — would lessen competition for African-American laborers.
- Doubling-down on infrastructure investment, a reliable means of employing African-American workers.
- Increasing protections for “the African American church.”
- Adoption of an “America First” foreign policy that places American economic interests, including those of Black workers, first.
Trump plans to revitalize American urban centers by offering “…tax holidays for inner-city investment and new tax incentives to get foreign companies to relocate in blighted American neighborhoods…empower cities and states to seek a federal disaster designation for blighted communities to initiate the rebuilding of vital infrastructure, the demolition of abandoned properties, and the increased presence of law enforcement.”
On the surface, Trump’s proposals appear to be significant steps in the correct direction. However, this path of revitalization fails to provide a path toward economic independence for the African-American community. Put simply; it fails to provide a reasonable way to African-Americans controlling the politics, economics, and education within their community.
In fact, Trump’s plan appears to be little more than the positioning of African-American laborers for exploitation from manufacturing companies seeking domestic labor. It is this failure of Trump and his entire administration to realize that it is not merely a job that African-Americans desperately need, it is the harvesting of a sense of community that results from them controlling the areas mentioned above within their community. Anything less than the black man and woman controlling the economics, politics, and education within their community is a continuation of historical economic subjugation and political exploitation.
If there is one thing that I hope that we still agree upon, it is that we must focus on independence in every area of our collective existence. Anything other that that is not even worth pursuing.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III