Incessant tax hikes and their compounding discouragement on individual entrepreneurships have depressed California's free market society, particularly in inner-city areas, where there is usually an affinity for free-market style economics. Naturally, the recession has hit all of us very hard, but a simple question is, how much more taxation can these inner city areas stand--especially in lieu of a 16% African-American unemployment rate.
Faithful taxpayers have been laid traps by the slew of social programs and government projects that promise three course meals but effectually leave their constituents without a crumb. The reality is, taxation produces dead weight on the economy--a universal truth--but the argument about taxation never starts there, rather, most of us are led to believe by some politicians, that higher taxes are the answers to all our problems.
Could you imagine for once, what you could possibly do with a little extra money in your pocket? For those who dismiss sales and income tax increases as modest, have you ever stopped and considered how many purchases you make throughout the course of a year? That's right, the African-American community spends money too, and because we have a regressive sales tax, it impacts us more. If two people are paying the same price for the same item, a high sales tax puts more of a burden on the person who makes less income. Simple.
Some of our supposed allies in the legislature do not see this simple logic however, and incessantly pursue tax increases, which may inexorably raise the prices of every day goods. The African-American community has always had a pension for seeing the horizon, so it isn't very hard for a lot of us to understand that the incremental changes are always the ones that are hardest to track, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't pay attention. If we miss the incremental negative impact it's having in our pocket books, at some point, we'll effectively be unable to take part in the American dream.
It's a good thing to encourage philanthropy and giving, from people of all income levels. However, all the money in the world wouldn't solve California's fiscal crisis. It is about time we tell the California government to buckle down, and really address the structural problems with government--after all, I believe as a people we've sacrificed quite a bit already, we lead the nation in unemployment.
Taxes, income and sales, have nearly cancelled the motivation and opportunity to facilitate a profitable industry within the measureable metrics of California's taxation codes and penalties. It is true...business are leaving the state left and right. The discourse in our community is moving a tad bit too far, in my opinion, towards entitlements; it is about time the conversation moves towards what has historically made our community a strong one: Ingenuity.
Swap meets and bartering exchange areas such as downtown Los Angeles's 'the Alley' have always been a center of pride for black business owners--it is called enterprise.
It's important to not just think of high taxes from an economic standpoint, but also from a social one; high expenses may drive even the most honest of people to cross lines of legality just in order to make a living, which then in turn renounces any taxation upon their productivity. We have to re-take, as a community, Entrepreneurship from the vices of government intervention.
This cycle of perpetual tax increases will soon be the driving force to the series of complications faced by African-Americans who feel trapped in low socio-economic lifestyles. California government is destroying the private sector which in turn decimates jobs and economic productivity. California government is corroding what has always made the black community a strong viable source of creativity. It's time we restore our community...ourselves.
Patrick Williams is a community outreach coordinator for the Roberts Family Development Center, and a political commentator and strategist.