There’s a lot of talk about the potential for Texas to become a blue state one day. But in many respects, it already has. In fact, rather than Democrats obtaining power and pushing radical pro-criminal policies that would get them ejected by suburban voters, they have found a way to induce Republicans to propose those policies for them, thereby shielding their side from electoral reprisal. Even in a state like Texas, the Left gets to have its cake and eat it too.
As part of a growing trend among bankrupt Republicans who are out of ideas and a proactive vision, Gov. Greg Abbott endorsed yet another progressive criminal justice idea last week in announcing his support for the “ban the box” movement – prohibiting employers from asking about criminal records on job applications. “We want every man and woman in this state to have their own chance at the unique brand of economic prosperity that Texas offers. It doesn’t matter if you have an arrest record, we want you to have a job,” said Abbott at a town hall Thursday night. In a typical myopic view of crime, focusing just on criminals and not victims, Abbott has been pulled into the vortex of the jailbreak movement.
“Ban the box” began as a radical idea from Dukakis Democrats and has now consumed the Koch-funded “conservative” organizations like the Texas Public Policy Foundation. It’s funny how they often describe themselves as libertarians, but nothing says “liberty” quite like having government bar private companies from putting a box on a job application asking applicants about prior criminal records.
Abbott’s support for “ban the box” social engineering comes at a time when phony conservative organizations are getting Republicans to support almost every facet of the Left’s war on law and order. Bernie Sanders just released a comprehensive plan to dismantle our criminal justice system and let more criminals out of prison at a time when already, many violent criminals go unconvicted or under-sentenced. Conservatives are rightly appalled and alarmed by what Bernie and his allies are planning. But many are unaware of the fact that there is almost nothing in that plan that stands in contrast to what prominent Republicans are pushing, including Texas Public Policy Foundation staffers in the White House. I can’t think of a single policy creating daylight between Bernie and the radical progressive libertarian jailbreak movement influencing prominent Republicans like Abbott.
Like every other mandate designed to counter natural social and economic behavior, such as minimum wage laws, criminal employment mandates actually hurt those they intend to help. A study by the Boston Federal Reserve Bank found that states that have adopted “ban the box” laws have actually caused, on average, a 2.4 percent decline in employment for offenders. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that “ban the box” policies “decrease the probability of being employed by 3.4 percentage points (5.1%) for young, low-skilled black men, and by 2.3 percentage points (2.9%) for young, low-skilled Hispanic men.”
Jennifer Doleac, assistant professor of public policy and economics at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia and co-author of the study, explained the phenomenon as follows:
“Basically, the concern of economists is that if employers don’t want to hire people with criminal records, and you tell them they aren’t allowed to know this information anymore, they aren’t simply going to throw up their hands and just pick people at random. Instead, they are going to try and guess who has a criminal record and avoid wasting their time with those people. This leads to what economists call statistical discrimination—discrimination based on averages among a group.”
Liberaltarians seem to understand social and economic behavior vis-à-vis government mandates when it comes to minimum wage laws, but refuse to open their eyes when it comes to their progressive pro-criminal mandates on businesses.
We are seeing the effects of radical progressive prosecutors being elected throughout the nation as George Soros is pumping millions of dollars into those races. “Abolish prison” is indeed the new “Abolish ICE.” Last week, Attorney General William Barr called out those wolves in sheep’s clothing in a speech before the Fraternal Order of Police. William McSwain, the U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, also chastised Larry Krasner, the new Soros-funded DA in Philly, who McSwain believes is largely responsible for ensuring that people like Maurice Hill, the career criminal who shot six cops last week, was not incarcerated.
Every single year there are hundreds of thousands of murderers, robbers, rapists, and violent criminals who go unconvicted, under-sentenced, or are let out too early on probation and are allowed to violate their probation with impunity. Yet rather than pursuing a balanced approach to criminal justice, Republicans have joined with Democrats in single-mindedly focusing on more leniencies in the system and the needs of the criminals rather than plugging the ever-growing judicial loopholes that allow so many dangerous criminals to terrorize our communities. They focus on the size of the prison population, which already has been plummeting for quite some time, instead of focusing on battling crime.
Which brings me back to Greg Abbott. As governor of Texas, he is facing a full-scale cartel invasion into his state, yet he barely talks about it with any degree of regularity, passion, or specificity. It was recently discovered that a Kenyan illegal alien is accused of killing at least 19 seniors by suffocation in the Dallas area, yet Abbott never talks about this case as a poster child for closing the criminal alien loopholes. He seems to only care about the criminals.
According to the Houston Fox affiliate, from January 2017 through June 2018, 355 inmates serving time for first-degree murder were paroled. One of the paroled murderers from 2010, Kenneth Hubert, is charged with killing a woman last December. Yet we never hear about these cases in the news or from people like Greg Abbott.
Isn’t it strange that at a time when both parties want to gather more information on law-abiding gun owners, they both desire to block information dissemination on convicted criminals?
We already have a Democrat Party shilling for criminals, and they have an unlimited supply of funding. Isn’t it time people like Abbott promote an alternative approach – one in line with Reagan’s bold stances on crime?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.