Wednesday, April 15, 2009
How Does The National Tea Day Protest Fit In With 21st Century Solutions? by Akindele Akinyemi
Today is April 15, 2009 and this is the deadline where you file your taxes. Speaking of taxes are you participating in any of the tea party rallies that are held nationwide today? If so, great. If not, great.
To give you a little background on the protests these are taxpayers who are in opposition to various aspects of government spending, including the Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan, the Troubled Assets Relief Program, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009. According to Michael Patrick Leahy, of Top Conservatives on Twitter (#TCOT), the Tea Party is attempting to break a Guinness World Record for having the largest multi-city demonstration in American history
Proponents of this feel that they should pressure Congress and state governments to reject government spending as a way out of the recession and to build an anti-spending coalition around regular taxpayers. Aside from spending by the both the Obama and Bush Administrations although no protest occurred during Bush's term in office.
While this protest is supposed to be non-partisan in nature I have to say it is amazing to see so many people out today protesting the government and their spending habits. So here is my question.
Where were these same people when people homes were being foreclosed, children's vouchers were being snatched away from them in Washington D.C. and jobs were being lost?
You see we do not need a 20th century solution for a 21st century problem. Unfortunately, this is no better than watching the NAACP bury the N-Word (I was at that ridiculous ceremony as well). We need intellectual solutions to the problems.
Under a urban conservatism/ silver rights framework we are policy and solution based. First, let's realize that we, as Americans, are in this current financial crisis together. The rich and the poor and the middle class. Wall Street to Main Street to YOUR STREET. The US, and China (when we stop buying, they stop building).
If we work together, and see our self-interest as inter-connected and inter-twinned, will we be successful. We must find a way for everyone to have a piece of the American pie so that there be pie left for even the richest amongst us.
It's not time for a Democratic tea party empowerment, nor Republican tea party empowerment, but an American financial engineering empowerment. The idea of generating a new direction for the silver rights movement will help reestablish life at every level of society, from the young to the old, and the poor to the rich to the very backbone of America; the American workforce. Financial engineering allows individuals, from Detroit to the most rural parts of our world, and from the minority poor in America’s inner-cities and Europe’s poor in its suburban communities, such as those struggling with the basics of life just outside the bright lights of Paris, France, to the emerging economies of China and Japan, Africa, India, the Middle East and Latin America - to learn to do for themselves.
What we need now is a party that will be inclusive of the best of American ideals, and ideas, and I am convinced we will see precisely that from our leaders, from both sides of the political aisle. Regardless of how we feel about each other politically or religiously we still need our community to work together to build a better region.
The reason why I am curious to know why no one protested en masse about foreclosures because it is a serious issue that people need to look at. The lack of financial literacy is what contributes to the end of homeownership. More than 50% of individuals in foreclosure today, never even called their lender.
Financial literacy is a silver right. So is education. Presently, The U.S. economy is approximately $14 trillion and by far the largest in the world. Germany, Japan, the U.K., India and China combined will fit into the U.S. Economy. Our economy alone today is a third of the world economy.
While we are protesting let's place some things in context. 70% of the U.S. economy is consumer driven. This includes buying a cup of coffee, cars, homes, and even that new Crisette Michele CD. Therefore, the U.S. consumer represents 25% of the world's economy. The flip side of this is 70% of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
If you live in areas such as DC, New York or the East Coast in general and make less than $50,000 a year you can hang it up. You are barely making it.
Are we protesting about how predatory lending, fraud, investor speculation and greed were at the heart of the sub prime mortgage crisis? How many people were asking what was the payment and forgot to ask about the interest rate?
If we are talking about fiscal responsibility then let's protest about how we are failing our children in financial literacy requirements for buying a car, buying a house, or even teaching them about the FOREX.
Our protest should be geared towards more of reducing financial illiteracy and increasing our understanding of how government operates not just domestically but internationally. We are competing in a global economic market not just competing in North Dakota. When we protest we must stand up for those who are victims of predatory lending, failing education and inept health care. The state of financial literacy in America is surely at the heart of what started not just the sub-prime mortgage crisis but has crossed over to prime borrowers as well.
More than 40 million Americans have no bank account with more than 20 million of them receiving a regular check without any sort of bank account to put it into. This is what happened with Hurricane Katrina when FEMA tried to wire money into families accounts but could not due to no account. Can we protest financial illiteracy before protesting government spending in our country? Most people do not understand government spending practices because of the lack of financial understanding.
But in certain communities there are genuine market opportunities for banks, credit unions and the global financial industry sector to invest in. There are no banks in areas like Inkster, Michigan, let alone a grocery store.But no one is protesting the working man in these communities. Have we become so individualistic in America where we no longer look out for the common man and woman?
The communities we have been told about for years, and advised to effectively write off, are the last bastions of lost capitalism here in America, and untapped markets - for you and your institutions. Are we in the business of converting renters into homeowners, creating check-cashing customers into banking customers, developing small business dreamers into small business owners and making minimum wage workers into living wage workers. What about transforming the economically uneducated to the economically literate, and empowered? Tax cuts do not mean too much when people are unemployed. Everyday people are not really concerned with the bond issue for infrastructure investment, unless they own a home or business. We need 21st century solutions not utilizing 20th century tactics.
What about protesting against payday lenders in urban and suburban communities and getting banks to provide mainstream access to monetary services and replacing it with financial institutions to help people get bank accounts?
In a recent Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece by President Bill Clinton and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger it was noted that minorities spend $8 billion to $10 billion annually on everything from unscrupulous check cashiers, to payday lenders, to rent to own stores in the inner city. $10 billion is approximately the same amount that Wall Street earns on merger and acquisition fees. They also noted that stopping these abusive practices and empowering low income individuals and communities with financial literacy education, a bank account (dignity) and choice, is something that Democrats and Republicans alike should find ways to work together on. Meaning that the issue is clearly non-partisan. We have to be in the business of teaching poor people the language of money. Free enterprise and capitalism must work for the poor.
I am not knocking ANYONE who participated in a tea protest today. In fact, you have brought some awareness to the mainstream that some people were not aware of and I applaud those who participated their success. However, our message must be consistent and 21st century based. I strongly feel that we need to build centers in our communities that will help individuals up and out of poverty, giving them the tools for a hand up, and not simply a hand out. We have to be in the business of creating millions of dollars in new local homeownership and small business ownership to help revitalize our communities. We need to take globalization seriously and urban conservatives must embrace the Diaspora to help create an economic engine to revitalize our communities in urban populations. There should be no reason for any urban conservative not to invest or DISCUSS Africa at this time under silver rights. In order for any silver rights initiative to work it must be a balance between government, business and technology.
We must partner with K-16 educational institutions to promote global financial literacy. This is more valuable than protesting. When we sit in the classroom and actually teach financial freedom through helping people understand their history, culture and appreciation of their country.
How come we are not protesting the school drop out rate in our inner cities? The dropout rate among young people in urban communities, hovers between 50% and 70%. These are young people who, unfortunately, don’t see education as relevant to their futures. The only thing we need to protest here is bad education for our children. According to a recent university report, Blacks represent a $800 billion plus per year annual consumer spending force, or the 8th largest spending force in the free world. We do not need to protest, we need to invest BACK in our communities.
Therefore, taking our communities back begins with the power of education. But it also begins with the power of you. One person can change the world. We have to travel to other countries, study geography and other sciences that will help shape our global minds. Let’s all start increasing our financial (and other) IQ's as adults so we can become less attractive victims in the future.
The Bible teaches us in Hosea 4:6 "where there is no vision, the people perish." We need vision to conquer mountains if we are serious about transforming America into a silver rights movement. The energy that was used today from these tea parties can now be used to transform a child's life, a community and even educate those who are starving for knowledge, wisdom and understanding to do better.