Florida Republican Rep. Allen West held the second in a series of his “Conservative Black Forum” discussions on Monday where he led a bipartisan discussion on what’s ailing America’s black communities. Local and state government Democrats and Republicans, Black Entertainment Television founder Robert L. Johnson, a Democrat, Fox Business’ Charles Payne and several black business community leaders joined West on Capitol Hill to discuss the issues.
West opened the event citing a book he often consults – “Rediscovering Black Conservatism” by Lee Walker – and the message it contains.
“In the beginning, in chapter one, it talks about over the past 30 years, billions of dollars have been poured into black communities across the country in hopes of curing well-documented socio-economic problems including failing schools and adequate housing, rampant crime and drug abuse, black on black killings, unemployment and more,” West said. “Despite the courageous efforts of many local institutions, agencies, school leaders, grassroots organizations and community residents, the problems remain.”
“In many instances, these problems have grown worse,” he continued. “I believe it will take new ideas and new voices to find solutions, and that is exactly why we’re here. We’re here today to talk about economic freedom as opposed to economic dependency. We’re here today to talk about four basic conservative principles and how they can apply to economic revitalization for the black community: That’s limited government, being fiscally responsible, individual industrialism that leads to self-sufficiency and the free market that grows business, and lastly and most importantly, it’s about equality of opportunity which comes from a good education.”
West points to the black community’s 14 percent unemployment rate as an indicator that the current economic policies aimed at helping minorities aren’t working, adding that “if you understand actual unemployment, it’s probably closer to 18 or 20 percent.”
On top of that, West pulled out statistics showing how blacks aren’t proportionally represented population-wise in the percentage of new start-up businesses around the country.
“60 percent of new startups are in the white community, 23 percent of new startups [are] in the Hispanic community, 5 percent [of] new startups [are] in the Asian community and, with 13 percent of the population, you’re only seeing nine percent of new startups coming out of the black community,” West said.
Over the more than two-hour-long discussion about issues facing these communities and possible solutions, President Barack Obama hardly came up. After the event, West told The Daily Caller that’s because Obama “doesn’t have a vision for the black community and economic development.”
“He doesn’t have a vision for America,” West told TheDC. “So, I think that’s why we see all of these horrible economic indicators turning in the way that they are. His vision is just to get re-elected and that’s not what I’m here talking about.”
To back his claim that Obama doesn’t care for black communities, West points to Obama’s new immigration policy. By granting de facto amnesty to 800,000 illegal immigrant foreigners, Obama effectively took opportunities away from all those Americans in the black communities nationwide looking for jobs.