Tuesday, October 12, 2004
What Else Is Back? The Late 80s
Did you love the 80s? They're back.

Continuing this thread, here's an overview in the NY Times on the rise in youth homicides. In certain cities, streets have started looking again like the late 80s.

The most notable thing in the article was James Alan Fox's comments about the Bush administration's cutbacks on youth programs. Fox, if you remember, is no Clinton-nostalgic liberal. He's in fact one of the right-wing ideological architects of the War on Youth.

Back at the start of the 90s, he argued that the rise in population of young black and Latino males would drive a rise in violent crime the likes of which America would have never seen. Here's a quote from him from back then: "We are facing a potential bloodbath of teenage violence in years ahead that will be so bad, we’ll look back at the 1990s and say those were the good old days."

(Yup, C. Delores Tucker was a huge James Alan Fox groupie.)

Fox's comment looks laughably ironic these days. The 90s were the good old days--youth violent crime rates hit twenty-year lows. So he's noticeably dialed back--or at least the writer and editor have--the tone of that ridiculous claim.

Interestingly enough, the right-wingers lost the battle for truth, but won the battle for politics. During the 90s, 48 states made their juvenile justice policies more punitive, and in 2000, the crowning achievement of the War on Youth--Proposition 21--passed in California.

But now even Fox seems to agree that the failures of Bush's domestic and economic agenda have something to do with the rise in homicides. Certainly their War on Youth didn't do anything to prevent it. The bottom line is that the fundamental problems--poverty, bad schools, no youth programs, etc. etc. etc.--don't get resolved by locking more kids up or sending them to adult prisons. They just keep coming back and rearing their badass heads.

posted by Zentronix @ 6:24 AM   0 comments links to this post

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Where's Race In This Race?
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