Sunday, September 10, 2017

Progressive Urban Economics Has Driven Community Activists to Demand A Cashless Society

"I hope this business comes to the area. and you better tell us later what type of business this is? I swear some people would even mess up a wet dream." 
~~Yvonne Z. Smith 

Messing it all up.  Dramatic prose that is written for less than prosperous times.  However, it is the essence of desperation that sums up nearly a half-century pursuit of the urban progressive economics promises of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels that were sincerely exalted by community advocates and political activists.  The more government owned the economic development processes then, the more likely the poor will benefit and the "working class" will thrive.  This is what we were told.  Yet, the bureaucratic elite, having imposed their theories upon the hungry masses of Washington, DC, left many East of the River citizens exasperated with the overall economic deficiencies.  While cranes silhouette the western suburbs of Anacostia and Congress Heights, Wards Seven and Eight community advocates and political activists are left to wonder what could be.  The wonderment is so great that some are even considering a "cashless society" to draw businesses--any businesses--to the area that Frederick Douglass once called home.

The Leftists have done well to doom East of the River to the bottom of the prosperity bucket.  Rather than the DC Health Regulation and Licensing Administration loosening regulations and eliminating local hospital approval requirements to site urgent care and birthing centers throughout neighborhoods where impoverished populations need them most, the DC government limits such healthcare developments and, now, wants to build a non-essential hospital on the grounds of St. Elizabeth's.  Rather than deeming East of the River an Empowerment Zone, eliminating taxes on small businesses and implementing free market strategies to boost economic development, the Mayor and City Council feverishly labor to install the Vladimir Lenin enterprise development plan.  The corporate income tax rate is 9.2 percent.  The DC Sales Tax is 5.75% overall and hotel stays will cost you an additional 14%.  Can you imagine if there was no corporate or sales tax East of the River?  Imagine if regulations were cut East of the River?  Health Care would improve.  Small businesses would be incubated into major regional business entities.  Jobs would be created.  Home values would increase spurring construction and renovations.  Would the Leftists really want this kind of growth?  I doubt it.

The is what the average poli-bureaucrat expects of East of the River.  The Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development (DMPED) Economic Intelligence Dashboard (EID) reports that the District has produced over 785,000 jobs, possesses an unemployment rate of 5.7%, and produces a gross domestic product (GDP) of $128 billion.  In Ward 1, one of the city's wealthiest areas, EID reports an unemployment rate of 4.1% with 288 affordable units delivered.  In Ward 2, the unemployment rate is 3.9% and 169 affordable housing units have been delivered.  Ward 7 has an unemployment rate of 9% with 396 affordable housing units delivered.  Ward 8 has an unemployment rate of 11.6% with 583 affordable housing units delivered.  While DC Tax Revenue has grown from $3 Billion in 2000 to nearly $7 Billion in 2015, the prosperity opportunities for East of the River have not improved.  For nearly two decades, East of the River community advocates and political activists have been demanding a commitment from elected socialists.  The response from the City: "We have plans to help."  Desperation spills over and out.  How can the East of the River Leftists, that must force their Ward 7 Councilmember to inspect the neighborhood's major grocers to secure fresh meat, convince people for another decade that the doctrines of Engels and Marx will work?  Please, just give us another decade!  Yes, Wards Seven and Eight are seen as the last chick at the bar hoping to get a ride home from the guy that fell asleep on his stool two hours ago or the blind guy with the dog who said to her earlier that he would prefer to jump rope than take her home.

After years of East of the River economic failure by DC socialists, many business patrons can sense that there is blood in the water.   Some advocates and activists are sincerely desperate.  Many are demanding economic development at the expense of those that they civilly advocate.  For the sake of a revitalization project victory, they are willing to take a "see no evil, hear no evil, talk no evil" approach.  All of the co-op farms, not for profit funding schemes, and housing for the poor and elderly projects have not netted a grocery store or, even, a modern manufacturing park.  I mean it is really easy to convince the religious left to sell their churches to the government and rebuild them as elder residences.  Fat cat preachers make out like bandits selling their church properties in  District government real estate deals, buying huge homes on multiple acres in Mitchellville, MD or Waldorf, MD with the proceeds, and then, carpooling into the city twice a week to deliver liberation theology messages to the poor and hungry.  Maybe it was the "Jesus for Sale" sign on the front lawn that gave it away.

How do you know that the City is desperate to profit from East of the River, Mr. Probably Married to a White Woman, Living on an Expensive Estate, and Sending Your Children to a Private Academy Urban Conservative?

"D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) detailed her plans for a Wizards practice complex and 5,000-seat events venue at the former St. Elizabeths hospital Tuesday, asking taxpayers to foot about 90 percent of the construction costs but pledging to create hundreds of jobs, attract $90 million in new tax revenue and draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to a section of the District starved for economic activity."

Jeffrey Preston Bezos is the owner of the Washington Post.  He also happens to be the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Amazon.com, the world's largest online shopping retailer.  Amazon is looking to build a second headquarters in North America.  The online retailer plans to spend $5 billion in construction and to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.  Amazon estimates its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy – every dollar invested by Amazon in Seattle generated an additional $1.40 for the city’s economy overall.  Yes, the Wizards are magically getting 90% of their construction costs paid for by people that will rarely see a WNBA game and Amazon is paying for its construction costs.  Imagine what St. Elizabeth's would look like with the Amazon HQ sited there.

The desperation is duly noted.

This "Make Government First Again" strategy has not proven successful in the Real Economies of East of the River.  Our Mayor and City Council members run on platforms of "hope and change".  They assure that things will be different, although, you voted for a different person from the same progressive political party.  Everyone will be employed because the District government will make certain that everyone is.  Heck, the commitment is so intense that the District will raise the age limit of youth from 18 to 24 for summer jobs to lower unemployment stats.  Doing so certifies that government paychecks roll out for six weeks, overall employment stats improve, and assured votes for politicians in exchange for their compassion.

What do the "youth" get?  Real skills and a transition to higher paying employment opportunities?  No.  They have the opportunity to listen to more promises.  More money will flow into the Wards and the poor will not be displaced.  More scaffolding will drape the skies.  More capital will be invested.  Businesses will come.  Stores will open.  Fewer people will be poor.  In fact, poor people can remain comfortable in their poverty because more affordable housing will be built.  The best part is that it won't cost East of the River anything.  All of this will be paid for by persons living West of the River where scaffolding drapes the skies, more luxury housing is built for persons that can afford it, and inexhaustible amounts of capital is pouring in for businesses and stores.  The wealthy people across the bridge through government confiscation--taxes--will cover the anemic results of the expensive promises.  Betcha feel kinda cheap that you give up a vote for a kid's summer job while others give up a vote for a tax break on their luxury condo development deal.

Well, guess what, the nail in the coffin has been hammered.  Community advocates and political activists are now recruiting a "not for profit business committed to healthy food" to the Wards.  Yes, this is like a torrential rain in the middle of the Sahara desert.  Get the Ballou Marching Band together, since it could not march in the Inauguration.  After a major siting of Little Caesars Pizza in SE DC, which required a Mayoral visit, certainly, a parade is in right order.  After a significant drought, a new business is coming.  Hold your horses, however.  This new business seeks to serve only persons with credit, debit, and EBT cards.  Really?!  Grappling for a pyrhic economic victory, the Anti-Capitalists wish the poor and disenfranchised to embrace a "cashless society".  You know, do it for the kids.

The desperation is duly noted.
If you would like to re-create the Venezuelan economy, encourage the East of the River community to embrace the gift of totalitarianism--a "cashless society".  According to Bhaskar Chakravorti and Benjamin Mazzotta's The Cost of Cash in the United States, "A cashless society describes an economic state whereby financial transactions are not conducted with money in the form of physical bank notes or coins, but rather through the transfer of digital information (usually an electronic representation of money) between the transacting parties."  Many with the latest Apple phone and great credit scoring find this quite an attraction.  They are already acquainted with spending their monies in West of the River establishments that cater to the upwardly mobile.  However, for those that won't have their mani or pedi done at a K Street establishment, they may be limited to monetary options.  With Equifax admitting recently to a cyber attack that put at risk the credit information of over 143 million Americans, I really do not believe this is the most agreeable time to influence the poor and needy to subject themselves to a "cashless society".

I believe that there are at least three reasons more: liberty, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness.  In an area where many grandparents are taking responsibility for raising their children's children due to illicit and prescription drug addictions, they need the liberty to purchase what they need without the constraints or limitations of a society or corporation regarding the use of legal tender.  For the individual recovering from dismal financial planning, credit cards are not the best choice for transactions.  The ability to use money helps individuals better manage their monetary expenses and balance their budgets.  For the woman experiencing domestic violence, sometimes the only access to funds is with cash.  Hence, the society would become the punisher of the woman that seeks to be free because she only has one legal way to pay for products or services.  In fact, we all need to be free from restriction or control of the use of legal tender.

Secondly, we have fought in this country, as cultural abolitionists, for the freedom of every man, woman, and child, especially those in their mother's womb.  Our commitment to liberty means that we must fight against those that would misuse the Constitution to enslave, to detain illegally, or oppress.  I have no problem with a store demanding a digital payment option.  However, we must remember that digital information gives access to two entities that can become major culprits: hostile bandits and the government.  Cyber attackers have no appreciation for the desperation that you face in recruiting businesses to site in your neighborhood.  They are borderless adversaries and if the corporation, for example, Target, is not vigilant then, you are left to the piracy of malicious persons.  All you wanted was a Mocoa Lattee and the next thing that you know, Abdullah in Nigeria is using your identity to purchase a new car and new clothes.  Americans have a material right to protect their well-being by using the legal tender.  Finally, digital information may be kept by governments.  I know that the District of Columbia is never subject to corrupt intents by employees or contractors.  They are certainly the best and most innocent public servants in all of the world.  However, that assurance is not offered by other governments, domestic or foreign.  As an American, you have the natural right to purchase property, goods, and services without unnecessary government intervention.  A tap of the button can change your world.  I do not want a public servant to possess the power to do so, even if there are potential legal and judicial ramifications.

Lastly, we need to make certain that our pursuit of happiness is protected.  Have you ever stood behind a billionaire at the local grocery store?  You do not know that and neither do I.  Cash empowers you to purchase what you want when you want, and wherever you are able.  If that billionaire's wife has maxed out all of his credit cards, and you are both standing in line with a $100 bill then, you have the same amount of purchasing power.  As well, I do not need to know that your family is getting SNAP because you had to pull your EBT Card out at the local cafe.  Having cash or legal tender means that the business owner has the right to give me the property that I am willing to buy without any form of discrimination.  If Jacqueline is with her friends and wants to buy a sandwich at the convenience store before heading to the beach then, why must she experience "economic" bullying because you have an American Express Card and she has cash?  The sandwich in your mouth has equal value to the sandwich in hers.  You are both made happy because you can possess it without any form of status envy or discrimination.  It should and, I pray, always remain that way.

Often people that have experienced the plight of progressive economics become so desperate for salvation that they choose a process with much promise but a greater threat. I have no problem with a store choosing to discriminate based on your access to their apps or cards. However, remember that you are demanding discrimination based on a potential profit for your "community". It is not the white man making this choice but, the black man within his community. Your desperation for economic activity is not lost upon those that wish to take advantage of it. Pursue free market economics and collectively invest in small businesses that seek to compete against the Starbucks that you are willing to travel out of the Wards to enjoy. The greatest problem with Ward economics is customer service and capital access. Teach people to respect and revere others and begin to invest your little in the Wards and much will change.  Do not give others the right to make invalid what is legal for all.  Avoid the "cashless society" at all costs.

Kenneth McClenton 
is an Urban Conservative Whose Mission Is to Spread the Good News of Christianity, Conservatism, Capitalism, Constitutionalism, and Individual Sovereignty throughout the World.  
Devoted to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, He Believes that in 
Order to Save the United States, We Must Mutually Pledge Our Lives, Our Fortunes, 
and Our Sacred Honor to Save Urban America.

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