When asked about the “root causes” of rioter’s rage in Baltimore over the past two weeks, President Barack Obama reached for the time worn arguments of all leftists to explain the righteous unrest – the income divides between rich and poor, lack of education opportunities in inner cities and lack of investment in urban communities.
Presumably, this is the Republican-controlled Congresses fault.
What the president chose to ignore and hoped the American people would forget is the fact that the city of Baltimore received a cash infusion of over $1.8 billion under his stimulus law including $467.1 million for education and $26.5 million for crime prevention.
As if the stimulus never happened, President Obama said if Congress would just make “massive investments in urban communities” Republicans could “make a difference right now” in a Democrat run city in flames following the police custody death of Freddie Gray.
It didn’t work when the Democrats did it, it doesn’t work anywhere the Democrats try it and it will not work if Republicans follow suit.
In fact, according to Recovery.gov, one of Baltimore’s central ZIP codes, 21201, received more than $837 million – money that funding 276 awards and created 290 jobs through the last quarter in 2013.
According to a spending analysis of the stimulus money conducted by The Washington Free Beacon, $467.1 million went to education; $206.1 million to the environment; $24 million to “family”; $16.1 million to infrastructure; $15.2 million to transportation; $11.9 million to housing; and $3.1 million to job training.
Next door, zip code 21202 received more than $425 million including a $136 million grant to “improve teaching and learning for students most at risk of failing to meet State academic achievement standards.” Twenty-nine other Baltimore city zip codes received more than $568 million.
Of the stimulus money spent, $26.5 million came from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat gang activity and support at-risk juveniles. According to then Governor Martin O’Malley, the funds were to be used to achieve:
“The State of MD Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention (GOCCP) goals and objectives of this project are to create and retain jobs to bolster Maryland’s faltering economy, and make resources available to law enforcement and other public safety agencies to help protect Maryland citizens…”
Funding was also supposed to:
“…to curb the growth of criminal gangs in Maryland, and to effectively dismantle existing gangs…” through programs like “Operation Safe Kids” designed to “develop and implement an effective community-based supervision model for at-risk juveniles to minimize residential placements without compromising public safety.”
Funding was also included to reform the criminal justice system and:
“…identify non-violent substance abusing offenders who may be amenable to treatment, and place them under community-based supervision with intensive drug treatment combined with strong judicial oversight and support.”
The stimulus included $26 million to “redevelop residential foreclosed, abandoned, or vacant properties in… $9.5 million for homelessness prevention …and $5.6 million in Community Services Block Grants to “promote the economic and social well-being of children, youth, families and communities.”
According to advocates:
“The funding is used for activities that contribute to the reduction of poverty, revitalization of low-income communities, and empowerment of low-income families and individuals…”
And that “These activities include, but are not limited to; emergency services, shelter programs and services, job training and job readiness training, Head Start and Early Head Start programs, nutrition programs, as well as medical assistance programs and services.”
What did we get for $1.8 billion?
Baltimore’s official unemployment rate is 8.4 percent (probably closer to twice that), is run by a mayor who gave rioters “space to destroy”, protected by a city attorney who threw the Baltimore police department under the bus and represented by a congressional delegation that agrees with President Obama that things would be great in exchange for more funding.
The Washington Free Beacon added that:
“Peter Wehner of Commentary Magazine pointed out that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) only invested $885 million in education projects in Afghanistan over a ten-year period, less than the amount that Baltimore received from the stimulus law.”