There has long been a law prescribing it is illegal to shoot someone in the back. But that law did not save Walter Scott. Although unarmed and not threatening his killer, he was shot in the back by a South Carolina policeman while running away during a routine traffic stop. It is certainly appropriate to ban chokeholds by the police in the wake of George Floyd’s death. But I doubt the law will save anyone’s life. Laws by themselves haven’t been shown to protect people of color. Hence the call for “systemic change.”
But what is systemic change? And, how will it change the outcomes for millions of African-Americans who have suffered not only the abuse of police officers but also ongoing discrimination in their pursuit of economic opportunity – from housing, to banking, to employment.
This post was published in the Rochester Business Journal on July 17, 2020.
The pandemic has knocked a surging economy flat on its back. Predictions on its recovery range from the V-shaped curve we’d all like to see to the forecast by the Congressional Budget Office that implies it will take a decade to return to our former glory. Many, including Wall Street Journal columnist John Stoll suggest we put our green dreams on hold saying, “businesses that were trying to save the world are now simply trying to save themselves.” It’s a fair point. But it ignores some fundamental principles of how we should analyze our businesses at the bottom of the cycle and make strategic investment decisions.
Guiding a company out of distress into a stable and competitive future is no small task. Survivors will have spent time reevaluating their companies with an eye toward eliminating unproductive activities and unprofitable products and services. The outcome for those who succeed will no doubt be a leaner, more efficient enterprise. A disciplined approach to restructuring balance sheets and operations will yield an opportunity to develop new strategies for the future. And, those new strategies should include green energy and carbon neutrality.
This post was published in Rochester’s daily newspaper, The Democrat & Chronicle, on June 21, 2020
Will Hurd is the only black Republican in the House of Representatives. In a Wall Street
Journal op-ed, he laid out his proposal for reforming the police. Included was the implementation of best practices for police departments to be eligible to receive their portion of the $2 billion the federal government provides to police departments annually. Implicitly, Rep. Hurd is saying Congress will defund police departments that don’t meet federal standards.
The clarion call to defund the police sounds like one end of a binary choice: either eliminate police department budgets or leave things as they are. Of course, neither of those options are acceptable.