A lot of things bother me about what has happened in Ferguson. A lot of things bother me about what will be the aftermath of what has occurred. Horrified, angered, saddened, disturbed, worried, surprised, distraught and depressed are all words I have used in recent days to describe the rush of emotions related to the events of these past weeks.
I pray for improvements on so many fronts, but worry that they will not come — or, if improvements do come, they come so slowly that apathy and disdain take hold and progress is muted. I want what you want: peace, justice, rule of law, freedom and respect for all mankind — the principles on which this great country is designed to operate.
I also pray for prosperity. But sadly, protests that escalate and resemble the look and feel of a riot have a devastating impact on the urban communities they afflict. Prosperity becomes a distant dream.
As a credit union (small business in the community), we worry about the long-term economic impact that occurs. Residents, businesses, governments and the commerce generated and contained therein all suffer greatly in the immediate short-term. But, like a bad summer cold, the suffering lingers for what seems like forever — and forever it may be.
Will businesses flee the area? Will businesses not come to the area? In either instance, if the answer is not favorable, lessened tax revenue and fewer jobs are found in the wake of their exit. What happens next? Housing values decline and unemployment increases.
Without tax revenue, city governments and city infrastructure are weakened, and the community follows suit. The spiral of discontent is perpetuated by residents leaving. Suddenly, “blight” is a word that creeps into the vernacular when one describes our beloved community. The reputation is forever tarnished, and the brand takes on a negative connotation. You can’t get any further away from prosperity.
The National Bureau of Economic Research has published studies that speak to this very issue in many forms. I hope that Ferguson can buck the findings of these studies. To turn the tide is my prayer.
St. Louis Community Credit Union is committed to Ferguson and the surrounding municipalities. We exist to serve, and we focus our energy on financially vulnerable areas of our metropolitan region. You find us where we can provide solutions to those in greatest need. We’re going nowhere but to help.
Pray for prosperity. Yes, Ferguson is flawed and, according to studies, is now on a pathway of long-term demise. But I’m believing something different. There are the economic principles of mankind, and then there is God’s economy. I’m in the camp of the latter. Miracles do happen — stand with me and believe.