During meetings last week at the White House, Project 21, the conservative black leadership network, presented White House and Majority Leader staff with its “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America” with high hopes to see it implemented in phases under the Trump administration.
Project 21 Co-Chairman Cooper and member Richard Holt briefed Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s staff on the Blueprint. “The Senate leadership appears receptive to the ideas contained in Project 21’s ‘Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America,'” said Holt. “This is the kind of forward-thinking agenda that will uplift forgotten communities.”
The blueprint identifies ten key areas for reform – covering everything from educational reform to deregulation to criminal justice reform. The conservative network of African-Americans leaders in the public and private sectors asked the White House and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office for a “better deal” for African-Americans, urging both to support its new 57-point plan for promoting black opportunity and prosperity.
“The Blueprint represents a dramatic break from the past,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper. “We aren’t calling for increased spending and more government programs – approaches that have been tried and have repeatedly failed for many decades. Instead, we’re recommending reforms designed to give blacks greater control of their destinies as means of unleashing their true potential. It is the same type of approach we would recommend to any American.”
Project 21 Areas of Focus and Key Recommendations are as follow. And many of them are controversial and not aligned with other African-American political and business groups.
Promoting K–12 Educational Choice: Establish federal needs-based vouchers funded in part through an IRS 1040 voluntary donation check-off. Improve school security through upgrades in entry doors and by allowing trained school personnel access to guns.
Improving Higher Education: Require schools to meet minimum graduation rate standards for both general and minority student populations to be eligible for federal student financial aid. Establish tuition caps for schools participating in student financial aid programs.
Reducing Black Unemployment: Abolish the Jim Crow-era Davis-Bacon Act; initiate a second wave of welfare reform with work requirements and waive the minimum wage and collection of FICA for younger workers in special low-income areas.
Strengthening Faith-Based Communities: Establish federal Tax Credit Scholarships; repeal the Johnson Amendment; create a tax credit for families paying for nursery-12 fees and tuition and ban abortions performed exclusively by fetus ethnicity.
Promoting Self-Determination: End fraudulent election practices that dilute black votes. Require proof of citizenship to register; vigorously prosecute those who target minority communities for fraud and prohibit the mailing out of ballots that haven’t been requested.
Improving the Relationship Between Police and Black Communities: Get police out of the regulation business; disarm federal agencies and transfer the resources to support police community outreach programs; increase use of body cameras; provide training to police in identifying people with autism; end gun bans and put police in charge of safety training.
Ending Excessive Regulation: Require “Minority Impact Assessments” for new regulations. Stopping Wealth Transfer From the Poor to Non-Citizens: Bar illegal aliens from using public services, except in emergencies.
Reducing the Economic Harm of Excise Taxes: Repeal federal, state and local sin and gas taxes, all of which have a disproportionately negative impact on low-income families.
Reforming the Criminal Justice System: Require convictions for assets to be forfeited; prohibit incarceration for fine-only misdemeanors; require fines and forfeitures be transferred to general funds instead of enforcing agency budgets and consider the ability to pay in levying fines.
Council Nedd, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Constable (“America’s Constable”) and Anglican Archbishop said about the meetings, “I’m greatly encouraged by our meeting with White House and congressional officials about Project 21’s new Blueprint. As someone who primarily serves court-ordered arrest warrants, I put a lot of bad guys behind bars. But it’s disheartening to see so many people repeatedly arrested simply for the failure to pay fines. The judicial system should not be administering what has become a de facto franchise of debtors prisons for people with summary and misdemeanor convictions. Reforming this aspect of our legal system will go a long way toward alleviating tensions between the police and the black community – and increasing officer safety.”
Project 21 is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from some 60,000 individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It was Founded in 1982.
“The Blueprint represents a dramatic break from the past,” said in a press statement Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper. “We aren’t calling for increased spending and more government programs – approaches that have been tried and have repeatedly failed for many decades. Instead, we’re recommending reforms designed to give blacks greater control of their destinies as means of unleashing their true potential. It is the same type of approach we would recommend to any American.”
At the time of publishing the White House and Mitchell’s staff hadn’t responded to our request for comments on the possible implementation of the Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America plan. So far, there hasn’t been an expressed interest in following up with the blueprint from the White House.