Friday, May 07, 2004

Republican Contract With Black America?

Last September, Thomas Sowell proposed a GOP Contract with Black America, but without a ten-point plan. I tried building upon his idea -- I'm a libertarian independent, but want to see more competitiveness for black votes -- and even sent it to a three high-level Republican operatives back in mid-March. The goal was a vision to attract black voters in battleground states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Missouri, where a few percentage points can decide who wins the state. I never heard back from these individuals. I recently read a Zogby Poll which shows that only 6% of blacks support President Bush vs. 89% for Sen. John Kerry. I understand that the GOP wants to deploy its resources where there will be more effectiveness, but how about voter education in-between elections? Why aren't black Republicans doing this work?

Here's a piece of what I sent to the operatives. Now, I personally don't even agree with every point. However, most black Americans vote on economic issues so that was my focus:

1. Voting Rights Act reauthorization

The right to vote is enshrined in the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which never expires. The Voting Rights Act serves as an extralegal measure to further boost the 15th Amendment, to prohibit poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses, etc. This expires in 2007. In honor of the contributions that black Americans have made to U.S. democracy, we Republicans will reauthorize the Act by its 40th anniversary in 2005. Meanwhile, Democrats are so out of touch that they haven't even brought up this critical issue.

2. Job retraining for outsourced U.S. workers

Pass President Bush's $250 million proposal to fund job retraining in community colleges, to help outsourced workers prep for career shifts.

3. School vouchers to escape bad schools

A 2002 Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies survey shows that 57% of blacks (70% of those with kids) support school vouchers, where parents can choose public, private, or parochial schools for their kids. Reform rarely reaches promising low-income students trapped in failing schools, and vouchers offer a chance for a safer and higher quality school environment. Meanwhile, Democrats have held a school vouchers bill hostage in Congress, ignoring black parents' concerns.

4. Reduce red tape on small businesses

Black-owned small businesses are growing at a higher rate than U.S. small businesses in general. Small businesses employ the majority of Americans, and more specifically are critical to revitalizing black communities.

5. Tax credits to low-income U.S. workers for health care

Refundable tax credits will enable uninsured Americans to buy medical coverage.

6. Expand faith-based community initiatives

Religious groups increasingly provide social services once provided by state and federal agencies. Churches are among the strongest institutions in black communities. While Democrats mock religious faith, we Republicans recognize this theology of social action and the role of religion in restoring America's moral compass in all its communities. President Bush aims to expand faith-based initiatives to include drug treatment, aid to the homeless, and prison reentry to go to religious organizations.

7. Further oppose slavery of black Christians by Arab and black Muslims in Sudan

Slavery is a violation of fundamental human rights, not to mention to lack of religious freedom in Sudan. Democrats have consistently ignored this issue, and many have even refused to work with groups seeking to end slavery. Yet Republicans in both the federal government and Republican groups have led the way on the issue in the U.S. As the political party that freed America's slaves and is at the forefront of opposing Sudan's practices, we Republicans will further work with the United Nations to eliminate this horror.

8. Personal reemployment grants for unemployed U.S. workers

President Bush proposes a pilot program to crease employment accounts of up to $3,000 grants to unemployed U.S. workers to pay for retraining, moving, and health care.

9. Tax-free lifetime savings accounts

Almost 50% of black Americans are middle class, and 76% live above the poverty line. We Republicans recognize blacks' $649.5 billion combined GDP and blacks' desire to channel their growing incomes into more wealth, through savings and investment. In building the ownership society, we Republicans support tax-free savings accounts so Americans of all backgrounds can use their money as they see fit without the current penalties that discourage savings.

10. Social Security privatization commission

This allows any American worker to invest monies in stocks or bonds. Social Security's return on investment is a meager 2%, the market 8%. Many blacks enter the workforce earlier and die sooner than other Americans. 1 in 3 black men doesn't live to age 65. Under privatization, his heirs can start a business, pay for college, or buy a home. 2/3 of blacks rely on Social Security for 2/3 of their retirement income, so more privatization means more financial security.