Daniel Garza: Economic Malaise Is Not the Only Thing Hurting Hispanic Children

There is truth to that old adage, “it costs more to be poor.” To be sure, no one bears the cost of our stagnant economy more than Hispanic and Latino children. A recent study reports that for the first time ever, the number of Hispanic children living in poverty exceeds that of other groups.

The nation's poor have increased to a record 46.2 million — nearly 1 in 6 Americans — as the overall poverty rate climbed to 15.1 percent, from 14.3 percent the previous year. Worse, 1 in 4 Hispanics or Latinos live under the poverty line.

In fact, our community suffers from an unemployment rate exceeding 11 percent — two points higher than the national average. In South Texas where I live, it is worse, with an unemployment rate of 12.6% for the general population, which is 85% Hispanic.

When the loss of our economic freedoms begin to have a real impact on our ability to accumulate savings, attain a quality education, and achieve a better quality of life – it should come as no surprise those who will be hurt the most and the hardest are the most vulnerable, our children.

I for one lay majority of the blame squarely on government intervention, and it is time we had a conversation within our community about its growing size and intrusion in our lives.

Federal overreach triggered the housing bubble and collapse of 2007 by guaranteeing loans the private markets traditionally would never have approved. The resulting loss of personal wealth, due to falling home values, and the record number of foreclosures coincided with government's regulatory imposition on small business owners.

Compounding the problem has been the adminstrations ’s insistence to borrow trillions from future generations on the pretext of stimulating the current generation's flat economy. Additionally, Obamacare's pending arrival has added further uncertainty to small businesses across America and stifled their ability to plan, invest, expand, innovate, and hire people.

And yet, the Administration’s newly unveiled solution is more of the same. The American Jobs Act proposes more taxes, more fees, and more rules that will further constrain and hamper an already heavy-laden small business sector.

Ya basta. Clearly, effective solutions to the current economic problems have not been found in restricting free markets, encouraging redistributionist policies, or limiting the creation of private wealth.

The solution is growing economic opportunities and improving education attainment. As Michael Barrera, a business leader and former President of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce puts it, “Economic freedom is what paves the way to gainful and sustainable employment, which ultimately allows the parent to provide quality education opportunities for their children – the way out of poverty.”

However, growth has become increasingly dependent on the confidence to invest in high tech advances, development of innovative products, new and forward-looking industries, as well as start-ups that replace the old and obsolete business models. Consequently, innovation requires a flourishing free enterprise and an educated and highly trained work force. None of this will materialize if we fail to return to the fundamental principles of economic freedom – embodied in the rule of law, the protection of property rights, freedom to contract, open competition, sound money, and limiting the size and scope of government.

A recent poll from Generation Opportunity found that 70% of Hispanic young adults would decrease federal spending if given the chance to set America’s fiscal priorities. They choose lesser government. They understand the nation’s prosperity has never depended upon expansion of unsustainable government programs or redistribution of wealth. It depends on a combination of economic and political freedom, a strong work ethic, self-sufficiency, and emphasis on risk-taking to improve our families’ lives – without the high cost to our children and future generations.

Daniel Garza was formerly Associate Director at the Office of Public Liaison for The White House. He is currently the Executive Director of www.TheLibreInitiative.com

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