From the 10th anniversary report of the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, "Youth Investment and Community Reconstruction," released Tuesday:
The crisis of the inner cities we set out to address has indeed deteriorated since the start of the 1980s -- much less the end of the 1960s, when the Kerner and Eisenhower commissions drew their already stark and troubling portraits of America's drift into "two societies." Some of the changes are glaringly apparent. The drug problem has escalated ... destroying individuals and families, besieging communities and massively straining the resources of public and nonprofit institutions in the inner cities. Overwhelmed criminal justice systems are strained beyond capacity... .
Urban rates of criminal violence in many cities now are up to -- and sometimes even beyond -- their former peaks in the early 1980s. The number one cause of death nationally among black males is murder (not accidents or diseases). Beneath such horrific symptoms lie deeper changes, less explosive and visible but not less devastating in the underlying social and economic conditions of the inner cities. ...
These tragic facts ... tell us clearly that, in terms of national impact, the human resources and urban policy we have followed for the past decade have been a dismal failure. Too often policy has been based on the the belief that we could revitalize the cities and narrow the gap between the "two societies," not by the concerted action called for by the Kerner and Eisenhower commissions, but by cutting back on public services and public commitment and hoping that the fruits of an expanding private economy would "trickle down" to the poor.