Sen. Tim Scott made history this past election as the first African American to be elected to the United States Senate from a southern state since Reconstruction. On Wednesday he joined MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where he was asked how the country can best lift minorities out of poverty. Here’s what he said:
“Well, let’s just ask ourselves as we look back over history when the Congress was controlled by the Democrats for 40 consecutive years. If we look at the result of that control what has happened in black America. We saw greater poverty. If we take the statistics from 1970s to the 21st century, what we see very clearly is that poverty has gone from 11% to 15%. These are classic examples that the policies of the left have not worked.”
Scott hit back at the NAACP, which has given him an “F” rating, saying, “I will tell you, if i have an “F” on the NAACP scorecard, it’s because I believe that progress has to be made and the government is not the answer for progress.”
Scott mentioned that he, like many African Americans grew up in a poor household, but was instilled with a strong work ethic by his mentor, an operator at Chik Fil-A.
“[He] taught me that the brilliance of the American economy happens through business ownership and entrepreneurial spirit. So whether you own the business or not, success is possible if you, a, have a good education, b, have a strong work ethic … That is the way that you eradicate poverty.”
Scott said that individual freedom and economic opportunity coupled with a focus on education was the best solution to alleviating poverty in the black community, pointing to the success of the Opportunity Scholarship program in the District of Columbia.
“This is clearly the case in D.C. where the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship has produced higher percentage of kids going to college. It’s produced 91% of the kids graduating from high school versus 56% for those who are simply in everyday schools in D.C. I want that to be the case for either child.”
(H/t Real Clear Politics).