Monday, May 6, 2024

Food Deserts are the Fruit of Democrat Policies

After the Rodney King riots in LA in the early 1990s news organizations told us endlessly that citizens were angry about the food deserts in minority communities. I remember thinking there might be another reason why there were no stores in the neighborhoods besides the implied racism.  Maybe the burned husks of buildings might have something to do with it…

At the time I was living in Washington, DC and understood all too well what I was seeing.  DC had endured extraordinary riots in 1968 and wide swaths of it still resembled a war zone. Riots have a way of destroying more than just the buildings that go up in flames. They rip the hearts out of a community, something that often takes years or decades to repair.

Riots, however, are just one way a community can be destroyed.  Another, far more insidious, is common crime. While with riots everyone can point to the damage and clamor for rebuilding, with common crime, once the window is replaced or the body chalk is washed away the neighborhood looks exactly the same as it did before.

But of course, it’s not the same. From citizens being scared to walk down the street to kids having to dodge junkies as they walk to school to upstanding members of the community not visiting certain neighborhoods – and not spending money there – the fear of violence has devastating consequences on any community.   

Food deserts are one of those consequences.  Retailers are typically not charities.  They exist to make money. When violence, security costs and shoplifting make it so they can’t make money they usually close.  Hence, when all the food stores close you have said “food deserts”. 

The funny thing is, however, that the people who create the conditions that lead to food deserts never take responsibility for them. Democrats have unleashed an unprecedented amount of street violence and crime on Americans, from coast to coast.  In California, which made shoplifting under $950 a misdemeanor a decade ago, shoplifting is de facto legal. That basically means that you can steal $949 worth of merchandise every single day and likely never go to jail. So, if you steal that $949 worth of goods every day, sell them for 25 cents on the dollar, you can generate an income $86,000 a year tax free!  Not bad.

Both Illinois and New York enacted bail reform that makes it far more likely that offenders will end up back on the streets and we’ve seen exactly that whether it be for shoplifting or assaulting cops or citizens.

Why all of this matters is because the chickens are coming home to roost.  Across the country, from San Francisco to Seattle to New York to Boston stores are closing because of crime.  Some, in an effort to reduce shoplifting put literally every single item behind lock and key in an effort to remain open. (Surprise, it didn’t work.) But, rather than recognize that stores are closing because they can’t make a profit due to the extraordinary amounts of crime, Democrats are blaming… you guessed it:  Racism.  Communist, racist, Democrat (pardon the redundancy) Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley assails the fact that CVS is closing another store in a minority community, not because of shoplifting or security or losing money, but “racial and economic discrimination”.

But of course she’s not alone in her unhinged take on stores closing. In the hellhole that has become San Francisco city supervisors have proposed a bill that would allow citizens to sue retailers if they close without giving the city six months’ notice.  That means, basically, that after struggling to make a profit, when a store finally decides to bite the bullet and close its doors, according to Democrats running the city, they must remain open for another six months, regardless of how much money they lose. And, as if that was not enough, “Supermarket operators would also have to make "good faith" efforts to ensure the continued availability of groceries at their shuttered location, either through finding a successor store, helping residents form a grocery co-op, or any other plan they might work out by meeting with city and neighborhood residents.” So the store that once operated at a profit providing desired services to a community, when it can no longer do so must become the caretaker of the community because regardless of what they might do the Communists in charge of the city will claim they didn’t act in “good faith” and invite citizens to sue them.

But of course there’s more.  In St. Louis the Democrat mayor wants to hold stores and gas stations liable for the violence happening close to their stores.  Last month at a mayor’s conference she said: “We have a lot of violence around convenience stores and gas stations… So how can we hold those business owners accountable and also bring down crime?” So businesses not only have to face the myriad challenges that go along with running a profitable store in the best of circumstances and endure staggering levels of crime and shoplifting, but now they’re somehow looking at being held responsible for the crime near their establishments that is driven by Democrat’s defunding of the police and soft on crime policies…

And if all of that wasn’t enough, now, Democrats are claiming that companies who seek to protect themselves and customers by not hiring criminals are racist because more black and minority applicants are passed over than white applicants. So, companies that seek to protect themselves, their employees, and customers by declining to hire criminals are now going to be sued by the government.  But if they do hire a criminal and said criminal harms or kills a customer or employee the company can surely argue the government forced their hand, right?  Don’t count on it. 

If there was ever a moment of clarity about what America faces in 2024, it’s this.  Democrats pass laws that make it almost impossible for the system to hold criminals accountable for their crimes and unsurprisingly, crime soars.  When citizens resist such crime, Democrats arrest and charge them. Then Democrats try to make businesses responsible for the crimes that occur in the very neighborhoods where said Democrat policies spiked crime. Finally, if a business has had enough, can’t afford to continue to lose money and decides to close, Democrats tell them they either continue losing money for a further six months or they’ll have to open up their checkbooks in court as slimy lawyers are invited to sue them.

Soon it won’t be just food deserts that are ailing American cities. It will be deserts of every kind from medicines to clothing to gasoline to hardware, and everything in between.  While it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that the combination of unleashing violence and penalizing businesses for simply operating is a recipe that won’t produce prosperity, it does take a semblance of common sense, a basic understanding of human nature and at least an idea of how businesses operate. Democrats lack all three.  So too do their similarly obtuse and gullible voters.  It’s no wonder they live in deserts.