Trump’s in­ner-city blues

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - DEB­O­RAH SIM­MONS Deb­o­rah Sim­mons can be con­tacted at dsim­mons@wash­ing­ton­

The may­ors of ma­jor U.S. cities with sub­stan­tial black pop­u­la­tions have pulled to­gether their lengthy Christ­mas wish lists, which are not un­like those of their 20th-cen­tury pre­de­ces­sors and 21st-cen­tury pro­gres­sive coun­ter­parts.

In one, two-syl­la­ble word their com­mon re­quest is m-o-n-e-y.

They want money for roads and in­fras­truc­ture. They want money for ed­u­ca­tion. They want money for jobs. They want money for so­cial pro­grams. They want money for hous­ing. They want money for cli­mate change. They want money for first re­spon­ders. They want money for health care.

What these may­ors will de­liver in re­turn is as in­aus­pi­cious as a Don­ald Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, which speaks vol­umes con­sid­er­ing four of Amer­ica’s key may­ors — Cather­ine Pugh of Bal­ti­more, Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Bill de Bla­sio of New York and Muriel Bowser of Wash­ing­ton, D.C. — al­ready have ex­pressed their wishes.

Oh, and by the way, they all are Democrats. Other may­ors were sig­na­to­ries of an agenda that Mr. Emanuel passed along to Mr. Trump.

Now we know Mr. Trump is no Rea­gan con­ser­va­tive and no Bush I or II mod­er­ate. And if he’s strad­dling a fence, as Bill Clin­ton did and Hil­lary tried to do, it’s a fence of his own mak­ing.

Why, you ask? Mr. Trump said a lot of things on the cam­paign trail, and he prob­a­bly couldn’t re­peat them all ver­ba­tim if he were asked. Yet it’s some­thing the pres­i­dent-elect said in his elec­tion night vic­tory speech that still draws con­sid­er­able at­ten­tion more than a month later: “We are go­ing to fix our in­ner cities and re­build our high­ways, bridges, tun­nels, air­ports, schools, hos­pi­tals. We’re go­ing to re­build our in­fras­truc­ture, which will be­come, by the way, sec­ond to none. And we will put mil­lions of our peo­ple to work as we re­build it.”

Grab a pick ax, crank up a ce­ment mixer or hop aboard some con­struc­tion equip­ment and get busy. Amer­i­cans are on their way — if they have the pas­sion, skills and com­mit­ment to get and hold a job.

Lib­er­als and pro­gres­sives don’t want to ad­mit that Pres­i­dent Obama’s trans­porta­tion bill, which touted more than $305 bil­lion in fed­eral spend­ing and passed Congress last De­cem­ber, predicts some cost and spend­ing lev­els for five years but fails to ad­dress who, pre­cisely, will garner fa­vor­able em­ploy­ment re­build­ing our roads, bridges, trans­porta­tion sys­tems and the like.

And, frankly, it can­not.

States and school districts are quick to claim brag­ging rights about higher grad­u­a­tion rates and ris­ing aca­demic-achieve­ment rates. But when it comes to lit­er­ally build­ing a bet­ter, safer Amer­ica, they hide the fact that in ma­jor cities, too many of those grad­u­ates are bet­ter at telling the dif­fer­ence be­tween a McDon­ald’s and a KFC, or a taco and a bur­rito than they are a job from a ca­reer, or a pa­tient’s bill of rights from the Bill of Rights.

Lib­eral and pro­gres­sive pol­i­tics are be­com­ing the strongholds in “in­ner cities” like D.C., where poli­cies re­flect­ing any­thing close to con­ser­vatism are shunted and re­placed with any­thin­gand-ev­ery­thing-goes poli­cies.

Re­build­ing Amer­ica’s in­fras­truc­ture is a good pub­lic pol­icy, and surely Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary-nom­i­nee Elaine Ciao, Hous­ing Sec­re­tarynom­i­nee Ben Car­son, La­bor Sec­re­tarynom­i­nee Andy Puzder and Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary-nom­i­nee Betsy DeVos are smart enough to know that who’s build­ing what and where should con­sider some so­cio-eco­nomic fac­tors in their de­lib­er­a­tions. One ques­tion def­i­nitely worthy of ask­ing is: Are the peo­ple who ac­tu­ally live in the in­ner cities pre­pared to do the re­build­ing?

That’s the $305 bil­lion ques­tion nei­ther Mr. Obama nor the in­ner city may­ors with the wish lists will truth­fully an­swer.

Frankly, they’d rather point their crooked fin­gers at Repub­li­cans and con­ser­va­tives than at the short­com­ings of their own con­stituents — or at them­selves, for that mat­ter.

The Trump tran­si­tion team should keep that in mind, es­pe­cially when pe­rus­ing those wish lists. Hint: D.C. is a per­fect ex­am­ple, since con­struc­tion work­ers from states far above and be­low the Ma­son-Dixon Line have been tend­ing to the D.C. homestead since the 2007-08 hous­ing de­ba­cle.

Mr. Trump him­self is un­likely to dig into such nuts and bolts. How­ever, the may­ors and their union sup­port­ers know the de­tails. Be­sides, it’s no co­in­ci­dence that while Big La­bor backed Hil­lary, the rank-and-file hur­tled Mr. Trump to vic­tory.

One of the last things Amer­ica needs af­ter four years of a Repub­li­can White House and a Repub­li­can Congress is Mr. Trump singing his own ver­sion of in­ner city blues.

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