It happened again. Another American city went up in flames due to rioting. The riots in Baltimore shocked the country, just like the riots in Ferguson did late last year.
Let’s face a hard fact, our major and not so major urban areas are dying. Instead of being our nation’s crown jewels, our major cities are national embarrassments. They’re decaying monuments to the failed big government policies of the Democrat Party. We all know the problems: high unemployment, high crime, terrible schools, crumbling infrastructure, and policing policies that seems to alienate the community.
Here’s an opportunity for conservatives to lead. Jon Gabriel wrote a post that dealt largely with welfare reform and I urge you to read it, but it will take more than fixing welfare to save our cities. We must address all the problems dealing with our cities.
- We need more free markets in the cities. Most crumbling cities have a couple things in common: high taxes and lots of red tape. We need to cut taxes so companies can come in and set up shop. We also need to cut out red tape in everything from idiotic licensing requirements that strangle entrepreneurship to absurd nanny state regulations. The red tape doesn’t strangle big corporations or the politically connect, instead it suffocates the small business owner trying to lift themselves out of poverty.
- We need more school choice, now. The goal of conservatives needs to be to push for a universal voucher program. The old model of government run public schools is obsolete. Everything from government funded charter schools to private schools of various models can accomplish the goal of educating our children for a lot less money. Plus governments don’t have to deal with the legacy costs of teacher pensions and teacher tenure which keeps terrible teachers employed.
- We need 21st century solutions for transit and infrastructure. Bus lines in major cities are obsolete relics of the 2oth century. There are two solutions to mass transit. The first for larger cities is a light rail system. But for cities that aren’t quite that big, how about more ridesharing like Uber or Lyft, plus a deregulated taxi industry. Instead of waiting on bus service that isn’t efficient, how about a ride coming to you. The trick is how do we subsidize it for those who can’t afford to pay the full price of a ride? Plus this may pull cars off the road, helping traffic problems and improving air quality. Or better yet, combine both.
- Instead of using police as ATMs for local government, let’s focus on fighting property and violent crime. One problem in Ferguson was that its police force was a revenue generating machine for the city. This happens everyday in many cities across the country. It’s no coincidence that the police departments used as ATMs also have habitual problems with excessive force and poor recruiting and training standards. Instead of worrying about the guy drinking a beer on the front porch or smoking a joint, go after the guy burglarizing properties and robbing people. Finally, there are too many laws on the books; we need to repeal some of these laws that have nothing to do with protecting lives and property.
- Finally, we cannot ignore the destruction of the family. Welfare programs and loose morals have contributed to the decline of the family. We need to reexamine the government policies that have contributed to this. We also need to build a culture of personal responsibility and accountability which is lacking in modern America.