Walter E. Williams on welfare: As gov’t plays ‘father,’ ‘black males have become dispensable’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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It’s perhaps not the most politically correct take on welfare in America’s black community, but an interesting one nonetheless.

Walter E. Williams, a George Mason economist and author of “Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?” is not a fan of the welfare state that exists in the country. In an appearance on Thursday night’s “Stossel” on the Fox Business Network, Williams argued that welfare has done more damage to black society than slavery or Jim Crow.

“[T]he welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery could not have done, the harshest Jim Crow laws and racism could not have done, namely break up the black family,” Williams said. “That is, today, just slightly over 30 percent of black kids live in two parent families. Historically, from 1870s on up to about 1940s, and depending on the city, 75 to 90 percent of black kids lived in two parent families. Illegitimacy rate is 70 percent among blacks where that is unprecedented in our history.”

But this isn’t just relegated to the American welfare state, but is seen in European welfare states as well.

“Now, it’s not just a matter of a racial thing. Sweden is the mother of the welfare state and illegitimacy in Sweden is 54 percent,” he said.

Williams explained to host John Stossel that this is a natural effect of welfare policies.

“Well, because, look, if you subsidize anything, you’re going to get surpluses of it, and if you tax something you’re going to get less of it,” he said. “If you did not get welfare, then people would decide, I’m going to go out and get a job, I’m going to live more responsibly.”

And with these policies, they have taken a toll on the black family, specifically the black father.

“The government has said to many young women, I am the father. And so the father, black males, have become dispensable,” he said. “[A]nd that’s a heck of a start in life, that is, to be born — you don’t know who or where your father is, that’s not really great start in life.”


Jeff Poor