- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 8, 2021

Baltimore calculates that it expects to receive $670 million from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan — and for a city whose pre-pandemic unemployment rate stood at 12% for Black residents compared to 4% for Whites, it can surely use some help.

Is a rehash of the Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Great Society the most effective and efficient road to travel?

Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who’s taking his second go-round in the House, seems to think so.

Born in poverty and dedicated to the proposition that there’s almost always a government solution to a human problem, Mr. Mfume, 72, appreciates governmental largesse.

In a piece he authored and was published this week in The Afro-American newspaper, Mr. Mfume detailed why he supports Mr. Biden’s plan.

For example, Mr. Mfume likes that “it allocates $40 billion for worker retraining in emerging job markets such as clean energy, as well as helping to retrain people for new opportunities in fields like manufacturing and caregiving.”

And “It eliminates sub-minimum wage provisions and expands access to employment opportunities and fair wages for workers with disabilities.

That it also “invests in job training for returning citizens and at-risk youth to provide employment alternatives to crime.”

Now, that latter wish-list item could simply mean doling out higher summer jobs salaries or upping the age to 30 years old. Who knows?

Youths aren’t punished for breaking the law these days. It’s “racists’” fault they’ve been charged in the first place.

He also said the plan even addresses child care, “an often-overlooked need in our society. Lack of access to safe and affordable child care makes it harder for parents to fully participate in any workforce. The Biden-Harris proposal provides $25 billion to upgrade child care facilities and expands a tax credit that will incentivize employers to co-locate day care facilities in the workplace.”

The problem, however, isn’t so much where child care facilities are located as their hours of operation. That is, from 6 or 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. or so — as America is still a 9-to-5 society.

Mr. Mfume supports so much in Mr. Biden’s plan, and you can be sure he’ll support much of what comes down the Congressional Black Caucus and Democrats’ pike — especially if he runs for re-election to the House in 2022.

Pushing for more federal dollars to cover the costs of public school facilities and faculties, and parents and other taxpayers must also keep in mind that children don’t grasp academics merely by osmosis — as the pandemic and virtual learning prove on a daily basis.

In fact, virtual learning has been so ineffective in so many “learning” environments that teachers and administrations don’t even want to grade instructors or test students.

Said Mr. Mfume: “President Biden’s unveiling of the American Jobs Plan is just the beginning of the process. I look forward to taking part in the debates on this historic legislation and doing the difficult work ahead.”

However, he, too, seems to have either forgotten or thinks Mr. Biden has a magic wand that President Obama couldn’t grasp.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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