The Black Boom (New Threats to Freedom Series) (Paperback)

The Black Boom (New Threats to Freedom Series) By Jason L. Riley, Wilfred Reilly (Contributions by), Juan A. Williams (Contributions by) Cover Image
By Jason L. Riley, Wilfred Reilly (Contributions by), Juan A. Williams (Contributions by)
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Economic inequality continues to be one of America’s most hotly debated topics. Still, there has been relatively little discussion of the fact that black-white gaps in joblessness, income, poverty and other measures were shrinking before the pandemic. Why was it happening, and why did this phenomenon go unacknowledged by so much media?

In The Black Boom, Jason L. Riley—acclaimed Wall Street Journal columnist and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute—digs into the data and concludes that the economic lives of black people improved significantly under policies put into place during the Trump administration. To acknowledge as much is not to endorse the 45th president but to champion policies that achieve a clear moral objective shared by most Americans.

Riley argues that before the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, the economic fortunes of blacks improved under Trump to an extent unseen under Obama and unseen going back several generations. Black unemployment and poverty reached historic lows, and black wages increased faster than white wages.

Less inequality is something that everyone wants, but disapproval of Trump’s personality and methods too often skewed the media’s appraisal of effective policies advocated by his administration. If we're going to make real progress in improving the lives of low-income minorities, says Riley, we must look beyond our partisan differences at what works and keep doing it. Unfortunately, many press outlets were unable or unwilling to do that.

Riley notes that political reporters were not unaware of this data. Instead, they chose to ignore or downplay it because it was inconvenient. In their view, Trump, because he was a Republican and because he was Trump, had it in for blacks, and thus his policy preferences would be harmful to minorities. To highlight that significant racial disparities were narrowing on his watch—that the administration’s tax and regulatory reforms were mainly boosting the working and middle classes rather than ‘the rich’—would have undermined a narrative that the media preferred to advance, regardless of its veracity.”

As with previous books in our New Threats to Freedom series, The Black Boom includes two essays from prominent experts who take issue with the author’s perspective. Juan Williams, a veteran journalist, and Wilfred Reilly, a political scientist, contribute thoughtful responses to Riley and show that it is possible to share a deep concern for disadvantaged groups while disagreeing on how best to help them.

About the Author

Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, where he has published opinion pieces for over 25 years. He is a frequent public speaker and provides commentary for various television and radio news outlets. Riley is the author of Let Them In (2008), Please Stop Helping Us (2014), False Black Power? (2017), and Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell (2021). In 2021, he narrated the documentary film Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World. He lives in suburban New York City.

Praise For…

“I don’t know what I liked more about The Black Boom: Jason Riley’s persuasive, provocative, and counterintuitive analysis of how racial inequality decreased during Donald Trump’s divisive presidency. Or the volume includes powerful critiques of Riley by Juan Williams and Wilfred Reilly. I know this volume is a model for serious policy discussions in a country filled with shallow partisans more interested in talking past one another rather than fixing real problems.”
—Nick Gillespie, editor at large, Reason

“Jason Riley’s commitment to facts, impartial analysis of the data, and dedication to principled public policy have made him one of America’s foremost thought leaders. These traits are displayed in The Black Boom, in which he argues that minorities enjoyed real economic progress during the Trump administration. His case is nonpartisan, sharply reasoned, and deserving of serious attention. I highly recommend it and hope it inspires productive dialogue that moves us beyond divisiveness.”
—Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, economist and Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient

“This important and explosive little book provides stimulation and provocation on every page, demolishing conventional wisdom about black progress. Riley insists recent history demonstrates that black families have benefited far more from the opportunities provided by free-market economics than government programs and the over-valued acquisition of political power. He writes with a combination of grace and force that may change some minds while opening many more.”
—Michael Medved, nationally syndicated radio host and author of God’s Hand on America

“[A] concise, refreshing take on the pre-pandemic Black economy during the Trump presidency. . . . [T]his brief primer does an excellent job of reminding us that economic freedom benefits the poor and marginalized the most and that minorities can be progressing economically despite the tasteless rhetoric of our political class. The takeaway? Focus on principles, not personalities, and don’t believe the hype about a thousand new targeted programs to address inequality. Good old tax cuts and simplified regulation may sound boring, but sometimes the exciting part isn’t the process, but the outcome.”
—Law Liberty

“Jason Riley deserves congratulations for writing a book that, despite some flaws, presents a dispassionate and mostly evenhanded discussion of a phenomenon that remains mysterious and, at this point, still unknowable: the effect of Trump’s economic policies on blacks and America as a whole. Our divided media have cast a dim light on this important subject; Riley has let in the sunshine.” 
Commentary Magazine

“In his fact-filled and beautifully terse 2022 book, The Black Boom, Riley shows that incomes for every demographic and every part of the income distribution grew during Trump’s first three years. My independent data check shows that Riley is right.”
Defining Ideas, Hoover Institution

Product Details
ISBN: 9781599475899
ISBN-10: 1599475898
Publisher: Templeton Press
Publication Date: February 7th, 2022
Pages: 176
Language: English
Series: New Threats to Freedom Series