I head to Cuba this week to see what 50 years of socialism has done to that country's economy and to the well-being of the citizens. I want to get there before "normalization," meaning when there are a CVS and a Pure Barre on every corner.
Cuba is a great lesson on how bad, central command-and-control, populist policies ruin a country. Historically, refugees from Cuba come to America for safety, opportunity and freedom. Obama is doing all he can to change that.
The decline of dysfunctional cities like Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, Chicago and Flint, Mich., has accelerated under Obama, much like what happened to Cuba. These cities have in common: longtime, socialist/liberal, Democratic rule, inept and race-obsessed government, teachers' unions whose members get paid more for poorer student outcomes, and high local taxes that run businesses out of town.
Since the criminal Michael Brown was justifiably shot after committing a crime and attacking a Ferguson police officer, the riots and the St. Louis area community's reaction, in concert with the Obama White House, have led to further economic decline for the St. Louis suburb. Property values are down another 30 percent, the St. Louis Rams are leaving for Los Angeles, and business owners are scared to reopen for fear of further looting. Obama has fanned the fires of racial divide every chance he could.
From injecting wrong opinions on the arrest of professor Skip Gates in Cambridge, Mass., to Trayvon Martin, to taking control of the Ferguson police — and, now, Baltimore, after the death of Freddie Gray — Obama has divided us. He was in a unique position to heal racial wounds. Sadly, he chose instead to inflame them with thin "facts" in cases like these. He has sold more guns to Americans than have pawn shops and has made us all less trusting of each other.
Obama has turned our Midwest into the Middle East, with gun violence climbing in places like Chicago. The Windy City is now saying it will be a sanctuary city for Syrian refugees. Haven't those people suffered enough? Chicago is not a refugee oasis; it's a social studies lesson.
The only signs of racial unity in America are photos of an African-American guy and an anarchist white guy together carrying a flat screen TV from a looted store.
The result of Obama blaming the police, instead of condemning criminals who riot and loot, has led us to what is being called the "Ferguson effect." Police officers who daily risk their lives in crime-ridden neighborhoods, only to be vilified and second-guessed by liberal politicians like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, simply slow down their efforts.
The Breitbart news site reported that gun violence was up 60 percent in Baltimore and that May 2015 was the deadliest month in 15 years. Chicago shootings were up 24 percent and homicides up 17 percent. St. Louis saw a rise of 43 percent in homicides, 39 percent in shootings and 43 percent in robberies.
Business does what it can. Drew Carey brought his TV game show show "The Price Is Right" to Baltimore after the looting. It worked on two levels: It supported the city and helped looters put a price on the things they stole.
Crime predictably rises when you persecute the cops and condone rioting. In essence, Obama says, "Blame the cops." Stoke misplaced anger, and act like you are there to "save these poor people from the oppressive local police," and you undermine the people who are most in need of empowerment.
So prepare for the next wave of riots and looting after the Baltimore police officers charged with causing Freddie Gray's death are found not guilty. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will urge her citizens to be sure to make a list of the items they want to loot. Nothing makes you feel more embarrassed than when you loot iPhone 6 cases, then you get home and realize you have an iPhone 5.
Contact Ron Hart at Ron@RonaldHart.com or @RonaldHart on Twitter.