Sunday, April 17, 2016

Truest statement of the week II

On taking office Mr. Clinton announced, co-opting the Republicans’ rhetoric as well, “The era of big government is over.”
First he attacked the welfare issue, with The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. It fulfilled Clinton’s promise to “end welfare as we know it,” and the punishing effects it set in motion have yet to abate. Since the end of the Clinton Administration, poverty in the U.S. has nearly doubled: “...the number of Americans living in high-poverty areas rose to 13.8 million in 2013 from 7.2 million in 2000, with African-Americans and Latinos driving most of the gains.
To show how tough on crime he could be, Clinton next guided The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 through Congress. A flurry of prison construction quickly followed, an industry of private for-profit prisons blossomed, 100,000 new police officers took to the streets, harsh mandatory sentences were prescribed.
When Clinton took office in 1993 the prison population in the U.S. was roughly 855,000. When he left office eight years later it exceeded 2 million. Today it is about 2.25 million, and 4.7 million more citizens are on parole or probation. So our total “Correctional Population” is nearly seven million citizens. Most of them are black, and minor drug offenses are by far the most common. (Terminology and figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.)

The welfare and crime laws were passed with Hillary’s support and lobbying efforts. She displayed her enthusiasm indelibly, with her infamous remarks about the “super-predators” and “bringing them to heel.”

-- Richard W. Behan, "Black Lives Don't Matter, Black Votes Do: the Racial Hypocrisy of Hillary and Bill Clinton" (COUNTERPUNCH).

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