[Michael Badnarik] Prejudice is fading, yet minorities still lag behind economically. A labyrinth of licensing laws and regulations constitute the hidden roots of modern racial and ethnic discrimination.
Most minorities feel that something about our "system" still discriminates against them, but can't quite identify its cause. Establishment politicians propose more quotas and affirmative action, creating animosity between those who are favored by such legislation and those who are not. Since these programs must be funded by taking money from the private sector, jobs, primarily those held by unskilled minorities, are destroyed. The few who benefit from quotas and affirmative action do so at the expense of their less advantaged brethren.
Establishment politicians don't have solutions that work in the real world because they aren't asking the tough question: "What, in these days of diminishing prejudice, stands in the way of minority progress?"
Libertarian Steve Mariotti, mugged for the paltry sum of $10, decided to teach inner city teens how to become successful business men and women so that they wouldn't have to steal. His organization, the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), gave Kansas high school student Monique Landers their annual award when she started her own hair braiding business called "A Touch of Class." The Kansas state government wanted to put teen age Monique in jail for braiding hair without a cosmetology license, which takes a year of schooling and several thousand dollars in tuition to obtain.
Throughout our nation, entrepreneurial African-American hair braiders have been similarly threatened. Would-be van operators and taxicab owners face prosecution unless they pay thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, for a permit. In some areas, newcomers are routinely denied permits no matter how much they are willing to pay. Minorities, the poor, and the disadvantaged have a difficult time jumping these costly hurdles. Without the ability to go into business for themselves, their opportunities are much more limited than the average middle-class American. Employers can more easily exploit them when self-employment is not an option.
Only Libertarians recognize that the golden door of opportunity has been slammed shut by such regulations. The Institute for Justice, the nation's premiere libertarian public interest law firm, has racked up a number of landmark victories defending—pro bono—minority hair braiders, van operators, and taxicab drivers, and other victims of excess regulation (for examples, see www.ij.org
Barriers to self-employment discriminate against minorities because few can afford the time and money necessary to tackle the red tape. Even minorities who would never start their own business get more respect from employers when they have the option to choose differently.
Minorities don't need preferential treatment to get ahead—they are just as intelligent, hard-working, and ambitious as other Americans. Indeed, Steve Mariotti believes that inner city teens have "street smarts" that give them a great advantage in the entrepreneurial marketplace. As Dr. Michael Porter of the Harvard University Business School remarked: "I cannot imagine a more important and more leveraged thing that we can do to benefit our inner cities than what NFTE is doing."
If you elect me as your president, I promise to end the economic discrimination that government regulations and licensing laws have imposed upon minorities. The legal precedents set by the libertarian litigators at the Institute for Justice will help make that possible. The training provided by organizations like NFTE will give minorities the tools they need to excel—without destroying jobs for the less advantaged among them.
I'm Michael Badnarik, Libertarian for President. I ask the tough questions—to give you answers that really work!