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Event Summary

What if policymakers’ well-intentioned efforts to help black Americans have in fact been impeding the black community’s success? Jason Riley, New York Times writer and author of the recently released “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed,” asserted just that during a conversation with AEI scholar Robert Doar on Thursday evening,

Riley challenged policies such as affirmative action and the minimum wage as harmful to black students and workers. He instead stressed the need to promote two-parent families and to address the racial disparity in crime rates.

Riley likewise spoke out against the fight for “equality of results,” the outcome that President Lyndon B. Johnson maintained would be the mark of success in the War on Poverty. Rather, Riley emphasized the need for welfare linked to responsibility. In concluding, he underscored the importance of the black community advancing the values that other groups in America have relied on to move up, rather than advocating for government programs that imperfectly — and at times harmfully — address barriers to prosperity.
–Claire Rossi–de Vries

Event Description

Have progressive policies aimed at improving the prospects of black people in America worked? Have noble intentions borne fruit, or have they harmed intended beneficiaries?

Please join The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley and AEI poverty scholar Robert Doar for a conversation about Riley’s recent book, “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed” (Encounter Books, 2014). The two will explore several well-intentioned social programs and legal efforts, including affirmative action, minimum-wage laws, soft-on-crime legislation, and policies aimed at limiting school choice. They will explore the demonstrated track record of such programs, and which policies could be most effective at helping black people in America move up.


5:45 PM

6:00 PM
Robert Doar, AEI

6:05 PM
Robert Doar, AEI
Jason Riley, The Wall Street Journal

6:45 PM

7:15 PM
Adjournment and Wine and Cheese Reception

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Claire Rossi-de Vries at [email protected], 202.862.4874.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Robert Doar is the Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies at AEI, where he studies and evaluates how free enterprise and improved federal policies and programs can reduce poverty and provide opportunities for vulnerable Americans. Before joining AEI, Doar worked for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration as commissioner of New York City’s Human Resources Administration, where he administered 12 public assistance programs, including welfare, food assistance, public health insurance, and help for people living with HIV/AIDS. Before joining the Bloomberg administration, Doar was New York State commissioner of social services, helping make New York a model for the implementation of welfare reform.

Jason Riley has worked for The Wall Street Journal since 1994, writing opinion pieces on politics, economics, education, immigration, and race, among other subjects. He is also a commentator for Fox News, where he has appeared for more than a decade, and a frequent public speaker. After joining the Journal in 1994, he was named a senior editorial page writer in 2000 and a member of the editorial board in 2005. In 2008, he published “Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders” (Gotham, 2008), which argues for a more free market–oriented US immigration policy. His second book, “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed” (Encounter, 2014), is about the track record of government efforts to help the black underclass. Mr. Riley has also worked for USA Today and the Buffalo News.

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