Category: Politics


 

It is now 2012 and in November, Americans will vote again for the highest office in the land. Many political experts believe this will be the most important election in generations, because the decision for the country is to move forward or fall behind. With the election of 2008, the first African-American was elected to the highest office in the land.

This was a remarkable achievement in a country, where African-Americans were considered 3/5 of a person, and not allowed to vote, and discriminated against in every aspect of American life. White supremacy was the foundation that the country was founded on, and decisions were based on race. Within the last 50 years, there has been a civil rights transformation in the country, and laws have been enacted, and enforced to bring justice to minorities.

As more minorities have been given the opportunity and afforded the cherished rights as American citizens, there has been push-back from the conservative elements in our society. These conservative elements in the country believe that they must take back America, because soon they will be the minority.

Globally 90% of the world’s population is people of color, but the wealth in the world is controlled by 10% of the people who inhabit the earth. The 10% of the people who control the wealth refuse to share, and they control power through military and financial power.

In America, there is a protest named “occupy wall street”, where the youth have stated that the wealth in the country is controlled by 1% of the population. President Obama has petitioned this group of Americans to share more, by paying more taxes. Instead of this group conceding to President Obama’s request they have funded organizations to challenge the president’s authority.

This conservative movement has been energized by the radical arm of the Republican Party called the Tea party. Their number one focus is to ensure that President Obama is a one term president. They are proponents of a small federal government, less regulations, less taxes, and balancing the budget. They tend to forget that the last Republican president left the country with the economy on the brink of collapse, and many of the industries bankrupted.

Even though President Obama has improved the state of America, the Republicans and the Tea party claim that our president is the worst president in American history. They have started an organization, whose purpose is to defeat the president in 2012. This organization has created fabrications and sound bites that attack everything the president has done.

Just recently the president has ended the Iraq war, and the Republicans are criticizing the president for not giving the soldiers a parade. They also complain about the skyrocketing debt, fiscal responsibility, and everything that President Obama does is wrong for America.

Under the president’s watch, the unemployment numbers have gone down, and the economy has had positive growth in the last couple of months, but Obama is still wrong. President Obama has rescued the car industry, and they have paid back a large portion of their loans, but Obama is still wrong. There are stronger regulations on Wall Street, and better regulations on credit card companies, but Obama is still wrong.

It is time for the truth to be told to all Americans about the fabricated, irrational, and fact less attacks that the Republicans are creating to win the election. In order for President Obama to win, it is time to mobilize voters and tell the truth every day. If we are to win in 2012, we will need the truth, and larger numbers than in 2008.

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My brother in-law believes that middle class Blacks in America have disproportionately been economically destroyed by the recession of 2008. The African American communities have watched its wealth diminish, and many of the homes they accumulated, foreclosed. Their retirement savings have disappeared, and the American dream is quickly fading away.

My brother in-law feels this is a master plan to keep the African American community from experiencing the joys and freedoms of the American dream. He also believes when there are hard economic times, our community is the first hit, the conditions are terrible, and crime becomes very prevalent. He is correct in his assessment of our community, but the destruction of the middle class is everywhere in America, and it impacts all Americans across the board.

President Obama spoke last week and declared that the American middle class is in jeopardy, and it has been negatively impacted by the recession/depression of 2008. The crash of housing, banking, credit, jobs, and automobile industries have dried up resources and the country is trying to find its way out of a mess. Everyone in the country is angry, and it has sparked protest and political movements, from the tea party to the people who have occupied the streets of New York and other cities.

“This is a make-or –break moment for the middle class and those fighting to get into the middle class. At stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest saving, own a home and secure their retirement,” said President Obama. Some members of the media are calling this the president’s “fair shot speech” and they are comparing it to Roosevelt’s “square deal speech.”

President Obama is a student/professor of political history, and he picked Osawatomie, Kansas to give a compelling and fiery speech about being a reformer and an activist for change. President Roosevelt also came to this small town, and gave a speech to let the citizens know, that he was fighting for the regular Americans, who worked hard everyday.

President Obama in his “fair shot speech” attacked Republicans for their belief that the economy will improve with the trickle down philosophy. The Republicans approach is, “our country is better off when everyone is left to fend for themselves, and play by their own rules,” said the president. He believes that this trickle down philosophy does not work, and it has created inequality in the country.

“In the last few decades, the average income of the top one percent has gone up by more than 250%, to $1.2 million per year. For the top one hundredth of one percent, the average income is now $27 million per year. The typical CEO earns 110 times more than his or her worker, and most Americans in the last decade, their incomes have fallen by about six percent,” says President Obama.

In this speech, he does admit there is a need to control spending, and rebuild the economy. He is aware that the Republicans will attack his stewardship of the economy, and there is more work that is needed on the economy.

The American standard of living is economically being challenged, and Americans have a right to be angry. The president can give great speeches, but in order to be re-elected, he must be able to get his policies through Congress. The president ran on a platform of change, and now is the time to let Americans know that he is in charge.

The middle class will be the major group to help put President Obama in office for another term. Americans must begin to feel good about the president’s policies, and there is credibility and integrity in Congress

 

        The Democrats are rolling out a new website called “protecting the vote.” This will be a comprehensive effort to educate voters about their rights and the new law enacted by the different states impacting voting.

There are now 29 Republican governors in the United States in 2011, and this gives the Republican Party an advantage in changing and creating laws. The major goal in the 2012 election for the Republican Party is to make President Obama a one term president. The Republican governors and legislators are using the legal system to restrict or limit voter’s ability to cast their ballots.

The Republicans are claiming that in 2008, there was major voter fraud and it is necessary to prevent this practice with tougher voter regulations. In 30 states across the country, Republican governors have enacted strict photo ID requirements, and reduced the availability of early voting. They are also making it harder to register new voters, and challenge the citizenship of eligible voters.

There is a full-scale attack on the right to vote, and millions of ex-offenders across the country are finding that their civil rights are not being restored, keeping them from voting. In the 2008 presidential election there were more citizens voting in the history of the country. There were 62% of all eligible voters voting, and that was the highest turnout rate in the past century.

The electorate was the most demographically diverse in United States’ history of voting. The great expansion of voters was in the increase of young voters, Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asian-Americans, which signaled the importance of the Voting Rights laws. America was moving toward a more democratic country, where more Americans were included in the political process.

In 2008, nearly 40 million Americans cast ballots early or through the absentee voting process. Over 1 million voters registered on Election Day, and Americans from groups traditionally underrepresented at the ballot box participated in record numbers. The 2008 electorate was the largest and most racially and ethnically diverse in the history of the United States.

But in the last three years the Republicans are trying to turn back the hands of the clock. The Republicans have strategically decided to organize a movement to make voting more restrictive. They have researched and studied the profile of a Democrat and President Obama supporter, and their goal is to suppress the vote.

The Republicans are aware that they have a better chance of beating President Obama if there are less eligible Democratic voters. Winning an election is a numbers game, and beating President Obama will be determined by which party has the most voters at the polls.

In the coming months, the Republicans will come up with new ideas to further their movement to restrict and suppress voting rights. By restricting different stages of the voting process, each measure is designed to cut eligible voters from the electorate. Each new suppression or restrictive law narrows the American electorate, and benefits the Republican candidate.

The progress in the last presidential election can be reversed if the Democrats are not vigilant in protecting the right to vote. It is important to be informed with the new voting rights laws in your state, and continue to register new voters. President Obama is on the threshold to win his second term in office.

Legally, it is important to challenge illegal laws and tricks, when it comes to voting rights. If Democrats do not mobilize, organize, and get more citizens registered to vote, we will be defeated in 2012. The power of the vote is in our hands, and we have the opportunity to win.

 

In a Bloomberg poll, the second week in September suggests that President Obama’s job approval numbers are the lowest since he won the election. Based on their numbers, the president is at 45%, and other polls put the numbers lower. With fourteen months before the election for his second term, many leaders and grassroots folks in the Democratic Party are starting to panic.

“I don’t think he’s done as good a job as I think he could have,” said Paul Kaplan, 58, an unemployed Democrat from Philadelphia. “We were hopeful that things would improve in the economy and they’ve only gotten worse. People in Washington just don’t seem to want to cooperate with each other and work for the people.”

Based on the Bloomberg poll, only 40% of Americans believes that President Obama’s job bill will help jumpstart job creation, and lower the unemployment rate. Even though the president is going around the country to promote this initiative, many are just skeptical about its success. There is a feeling in the country that Congress is too busy fighting each other than working together.

The Republicans in Congress are looking at President Obama’s job approval numbers, and they are happy with the direction they are going. Realistically, the jobs bill proposal has merit, and it would probably help all Americans. But many of the Republicans do not want to work with the president on a bipartisan jobs and deficit-reduction plan, because it makes him look like a good president.

As one senior House Republican aide told Politico, ”Obama is on the ropes; why do we appear ready to hand him a win. The question is likelier to be, what is the best strategy for winning the White House in 2012? The answer to that question is to further the impression that Obama is a tax-and-borrow liberal, who can’t get thinks done in Washington and doesn’t have a sound plan for the economy.”

As the country gets closer to the 2012 election, I am wondering if President Obama can remain cool with the tremendous pressure being put on him. Even in the Democratic Party, a third of Democrats say they’d like to see Obama face a primary challenge. This would be unprecedented because the incumbent usually never has a primary challenge.

In the next few months the president will have to consolidate his party and organize his core supporters. Americans have a short memory and they forget what President Obama walked into when he took office. The economy was crashing and every industry was close to bankruptcy.

“These may be the worst unemployment numbers for African-Americans in years. How is it that the overall unemployment numbers stay the same and black unemployment gets worse,” says the Congressional Black Caucus blog. In July, black unemployment numbers increased to 16.7%, as compared to 16% in June. Unemployment numbers are holding at 8.1% for whites, and there is a huge disparity when unemployment numbers are analyzed and compared to blacks at 16.7%.

There is a crisis in the African-American community for jobs, and there is a depression taking place. Many of the economists are calling the situation with the economy as double-dip recession, but blacks know it as a depression. There are no jobs, they can’t pay their bills, and unemployment checks and benefits are running out.

Even Newt Gingrich is criticizing President Obama, and calling our economy the “Obama Depression.” “No administration in modern time has failed younger blacks more than the Obama administration,” says Gingrich. Gingrich’s argument rest in the fact that 40% of American black teens this summer were unemployed, and he thinks that the Obama administration is not doing enough for black youth.

There is also in many African-American cities, the unemployment rate for black males is 50%. That means that 1 out of every 2 black male is standing or hanging out on street corners with no goals, no job, and no motivation to improve. As the job situation continues to deteriorate in the cities, there will be more violence, crime, and political disobedience. Political disobedience can take many different forms, but people are upset and angry.

In 2008, on the campaign trail President Obama said, “I still believe in affirmative action as a means of overcoming both historical and political current discrimination. But I think that it can’t be a quota system, and it can’t be something that is simply applies without looking at the whole person, whether that person is black, white, or Hispanic, male, or female.”

I am not sure what the president was referring to when he made that statement, but I inferred that the president meant in certain situations there is a need to develop programs to address certain conditions. With the African-American unemployment rate at 16.7%, it is time for the president to develop programs that specifically addresses the black job crisis.

It is essential that the African American community focus needs to be placed on job creation, and continuing pressure on all elected officials, and the president. We should first start with our own black officials, but we should not stop there. We must send emails, and make phone calls to all elected officials and their color should not matter.

In every urban community in America, there is a need for organizational collaborations, and there should be job marches. It is clear that urban communities and black workers need special attention, and the squeaky or noisy wheel gets a response.

As the president prepares for his joint Congress speech on jobs, he must fight for outcomes that meet high expectations. Many in our community will be looking for actions that address and restore economic viability in the urban community.

Some of the ideas that are being discussed are tax-free zones to attract business investment in the urban communities. Also there should be training programs and funding to support the development of the work force for businesses who locate in urban communities. Finally, there is a need for public works projects to help rebuild the urban infrastructure, and provide jobs immediately.

President Obama has the power and opportunity to develop programs and initiatives to improve the unemployment numbers in the African-American community. It will take courage, innovation, and resolve, but he can make a difference.

As President Obama prepares for his re-election bid for 2012, his job performance numbers are slipping and sagging. This is the worst period for his job performance numbers, since he has been in office. In the Gallup polls his numbers for August are 42%, and in other polls there is a range from 40% to 45%.

U.S. Congress

The American citizens are extremely frustrated with all of the representatives in Congress and they are pointing their finger at every one of them as the problem. Many people in the country think that integrity and credibility no longer exist in politics. The people want to see a change and difference, and something they can believe in.

With the president’s numbers taking a nose dive and sliding, it is important that he starts to change the direction that his numbers are going. Based on history most incumbents win re-elections, because their job performance ratings are in the 50% or higher range. President George Bush was able to win with a 48% approval rating, but that is an exception, as opposed to the rule.

Polls show that voters hold both parties to blame for the fiasco with the political fight over raising the limit on U.S. borrowing, and the unprecedented downgrade of the country’s credit rating. They also are angry over the stunted economic recovery, and an unemployment rate stuck above 9%.

In President Obama’s weekly address he said, “You’ve got a right to be frustrated. I am, because you deserve better. I don’t think it’s too much for you to expect that the people you send to this town to start delivering. Some Republicans in Congress would rather see their opponents lose than see America win.”

There is a major divide in Congress and everyone is trying to figure out what is going on. The bickering and name calling is very disrespectful, but the Republican’s goal to make Obama a one term president is good politics. The Democrats and the president must expect the Republican candidates to go after their policies every chance they get.

former governor Jeb Bush

At this point the election is 15 months away, and the Republicans do not have a candidate that

Texas governor & GOP hopeful Rick Perry

they feel can beat the president. With Governor Rick Perry of Texas entering the race, and Ex-Governor Jeb Bush of Florida doing more talking to the media, the Republican candidates are improving.

It is time for the Democrats and the president to begin to mobilize the college, African American, Hispanic, Youth, and independent voters. In 2008, President Obama revolutionized campaigning with the use of social networking, and online organizing. With celebrities’ endorsements and specifically the use of Oprah Winfrey, the president was able to draw record crowds.

After two and a half years in Washington, it appears that the president has lost his magic, and the power in his belief of change. The first year in office, the president was a whirlwind of activity, and getting unprecedented bills passed in universal healthcare, appointing two Supreme Court Justices, reforming the financial industry, preventing the economy from collapsing, and bringing the war in Iraq to an end.

It is essential that progressives, independents, Democrats, and minorities began to have a legitimate discourse on President Obama’s record. Americans generally want immediate gratification, because we live in a microwave society. But in American political change is slow and there are major bureaucracies to transform, and reorganize.

Instead of spending so much time discussing what the president has not done, it is time to start talking about what he has accomplished. In order for the president to complete what he has started, he needs more vocal and print support. It is time to get behind the president and stand on his record.

When legislators in Congress are appointed to a “presidential blue-ribbon committee,” their importance raises in their party. Instantly, their influence is more significant, and the media begins to seek them out for interviews. The six Democrats, three from the Senate and three from the House, and the six Republicans three from the Senate, and three from the House comprise “Obama’s Super Committee.”

The “Super Committee” is a twelve bipartisan Congressional group who will work on a debt-reduction strategy to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion by Thanksgiving of this year. The twelve member panel has a historic opportunity to overhaul the Tax Code and entitlements. If the committee fails to produce a debt reduction plan of $1.2 trillion, across-the-board cuts would kick in evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending to make up $1.2 trillion in cuts.

The committee’s co-chairs are Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). The rest of the members are as follows; Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Senator John Kerry(D-MA), Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Representative Dave Camp (R-MI), Representative James Clyburn (D-SC), and Representative Fred Upton (R-MI).

There is a good cross-section of experience and knowledge on the panel, but I wonder if anyone has the courage to significantly cut the military’s budget and funding. In the last ten years, the military base budget has increased by 80% from $302 billion in 2000 to $545 billion in 2011, says the National Priorities Project. The total cost of the Iraq war since 2001 is $869 billion, and the cost of the Afghanistan war $487 billion.

Most people ignore the nation’s security budget, but that became a new line item in 2001 with homeland security. This is a hard line item to arrive at because it flows through dozens of federal agencies. It started as a request for 16 billion, but in the last ten years the government has spent $636 billion.

When the figure for military spending for the last ten years is added up, the number is around $8 trillion. This is the number that the National Priorities Project has used, but a recent study published by the Watson Institute of International Studies at Brown University took a broader approach. By including funding for such things as veterans benefits, future cost for treating the war-wounded, and interest payments on war related borrowing, they came up with an additional $3.2 trillion.

These additional expenses increase the number for military spending in ten years to be around $11 or $12 trillion. With all the serious discussion on reducing the debt, it would seem logical to take a hard look at military funding and spending. There are some on the Super Committee who are against cutting military spending and believe that funding should be increased.

Nevertheless, the question must be raised, is our country safer with all the money being spent, and is the money being wasted? For the last ten years, the government has tries to do an audit with the military, and they haven’t had any success. There are so many secret funds, because of national security, an audit is vertically impossible.

Everyone knows that there is fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in the military’s budget. It would appear that in the military’s budget, the legislators could find $600 to $700 billion to cut over the next 5 to 10 years. Cutting another $500 billion is going to be tough and the Super Committee has its work cut out for them.

The president is finally getting the parties to sit down and arrive at a compromise. All eyes and the media will be focused on the Super Committee for the next four months.

Representative Doug Lamborn

Last week, Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO) sent a personal letter to President Obama apologizing for his use of the phrase “tar baby.” In his letter, he claims that he was attempting to verbalize his opinion that the President’s economic policies “have created a quagmire for the nation and are responsible for the dismal economic conditions our country faces.”

In a statement to The Denver Post, Lamborn had this to say: “I absolutely intended no offence, and if this is at all on his radar screen, I am sure that he will not take offence and he’ll be happy to accept my apology, because he is a man of character.” It appears that Lamborn thinks that the president will accept his apology, and his use of the term was not a big deal.

But all around the country, people are incensed and disturbed that a federal legislator would blatantly

Political radio host David Sirota

disrespect the office of the president publicly. David Sirota, AM 760 radio host said this in response to Lamborn’s “tar baby” remark: “The fact that a sitting member of the United States Congress would take to the airwaves to use such a racially derogatory term to describe the first African-American president in American history is disgusting.”

It is obvious that there is a pervasive sickness, which is prevalent in a certain group in the country, and they are not afraid to say in public what they say in private. This is creating an environment of disrespect and racist statements and actions are on the increase.

Also this week on the Al Sharpton radio show, Pat Buchanan, former GOP presidential candidate and current MSNBC analyst, referred to President Obama as “your boy.” Without a doubt this was disrespectful, but Mr. Buchanan said that he didn’t mean to slur President Obama by referring to him as “your boy” during a discussion with Al Sharpton. They were discussing Obama’s political strength when Buchanan said that “your boy” had caved in past negotiations, and was likely to do so in the future.

Al Sharpton and Pat Buchanan face off on the Al Sharpton show when Buchanan makes a derogatory statement

Sharpton responded, “MY what…My president, Barack Obama and what did you say?” At this point Al Sharpton was very angry and the interview continued to deteriorate. Again it was no justification for using this type of derogatory language, when referring to the president.

For some reason, when conservatives criticize the president, they feel they can use almost any kind of language and it is okay. Probably, when they are in private their language is nasty, and their friends say ugly things about the president. But in public, certain decorum is expected, when you are in a position of authority and respectability.

The White House has not made any official comments about Representative Lamborn and Mr. Buchanan’s statements. Many Americans will say that we all have a right to freedom of speech. This would justify Lamborn and Buchanan the right to say what they think and there is nothing that anyone can do.

Shawn J. Parry-Giles is an award-winning Professor in the Department of Communication, Director of Graduate Studies, and Director of the Center for Political Communication and Civic Leadership at the University of Maryland.

But I believe in protocol, and there are certain things that you do not say, because it is the right thing to do. I would be thoroughly disappointed if some reporter used the N word when referring to the president. Given that language is the purveyor of people’s deepest thoughts, as well as the fact that language use is often unconscious, “even a slip of the tongue can reflect the kind of prevalence of racism that still exist within our culture,” says Shawn Parry-Giles.

This week, there have been too many slips of the tongue by our leaders and the media. The race problem is still one of the major problems in the country, because the people in power are not willing to share with the people of color. President Obama was elected by the people, but many of our leaders are having problems calling him Mr. President.

U.S. Senate leadership

On the evening of July 31, 2011, the Senate and The House of Representatives have reached a tentative agreement. Ending a perilous stalemate, President Obama announced an agreement on Sunday night on a compromise that would avoid the nation’s first-ever financial default. The deal would cut more than $2 trillion from federal spending over a decade.

This agreement is tentative and the Congress must ratify the deal with a vote. No votes were expected in either house of Congress until Monday, to give rank and file lawmakers time to review the package. The framework of the deal would give the President a debt ceiling increase of up to $2.4 trillion, and guarantee an equal amount of deficit reduction over the next 10 years.

“Default would have had a devastating effect on our economy,” Obama said at the White House, relaying the news to the American people and financial market around the world. He thanked both the leaders of each party.  

After a tough week of meetings and negotiations, the House of Representatives, Senate leadership, and the president are able to feel good about their accomplishment. According to Democrats and Republican sources, here are the key elements of the deal. There is still work to be done and the leaders of both parties are rounding up votes for the deal.

The debt ceiling increase tentatively would be around $2.1 trillion and the spending cuts would be equal to increase over 10 years. The formation of a special Congressional committee to recommend further deficit reductions that may take the form of spending cuts or tax increases. The special committee must make recommendations by late November, before the Thanksgiving recess.

Congress must also approve those cuts by December 23, or automotive cuts across the board go into effect, including cuts to federal defense programs and Medicare. This trigger is designed to force action on the deficit reduction committee’s recommendations to both Democrats and Republicans. There would also be a vote in both houses on a balanced budget amendment.

As the Congress gets down to the 11th hour, the two houses are close to a deal. During President Bush’s eight years the debt limit was raised 19 times, without the fuss and fight of this Congress. When Bush took office the debt limit was $5.95 trillion, and when he left it was $9.81 trillion.

Top Aide to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett

President Obama has been deeply involved in trying to win a debt deal that both parties find agreeable and can work with. “He’s getting absolutely no sleep. He’s working tirelessly, meeting with his economic team, doing a lot of outreach, exploring all kinds of possibilities for compromise,” top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett told Reuters Insider. This has translated into even longer days than normal at the White House, which already begins with a senior staff meeting at 7:30 am in the morning.

It appears that all the hard work has paid off for President Obama, and his administration. It is still too early to relax, but all the leaders are announcing that a deal has been struck. Democrats won’t like the fact that Medicare could be exposed to automatic cuts, but the sizes of the Medicare cuts are limited. They are designed to be taken from Medicare providers, and not beneficiaries.

Finally, the House of Representatives and the Senate are starting to compromise, and do what is best for the citizens of the country. Somehow President Obama must make bipartisan a reality in Washington, and get the two parties to cooperate, and work together. Making decisions together that improve and enhance the country is the job of our representatives.   

3 Presidents, no solution: NAACP president Benjamin Jealous, President Obama, and National Urban Leage Marc Morial

On Thursday July 21, 2011, President Obama held a meeting at the White House, with NAACP president Benjamin Jealous, and National Urban League president Marc Morial. These are the two oldest and largest Black organizations in the country. The purpose and goal of the meeting was vague, but the leaders had an opportunity to share their opinions on a variety of subjects with the president.

The meeting lasted for about 30 minutes to an hour, and President Obama reiterated that reducing unemployment, which disproportionately burdens the African-American community, remained a top priority for him and his administration. It is important that the president has acknowledged that there is a crisis in unemployment in the Black community, and his administration is willing to confront the problem.

Presidents Morial and Jealous

On July 17, 2011, Marc Morial said on NBC’s Meet the Press, “We have a job crisis in America, and the nation needs a job plan. We have 14 million out of work. The Black unemployment rate is at stifling levels. It’s in fact, increased since the recovery has been begun.”

In June 2009, the unemployment rate for African-Americans was 14.9% and in June this year,

 the rate is 16.2%. White unemployment has dropped from 8.7% to 8.1%, and the Hispanic rate has dropped from 12.2% to 11.6%. Also the Asian rate has dropped from 8.2% to 6.8%.

Marc Morial has pointed out that certain segments in the Black labor force showed even higher rates of unemployment. The most recent unemployment rate for Blacks between the ages of 16 and 24 years was 31.4%. In certain cities, the unemployment rate for Black men is over 50%.

 

Representative Emmanuel Cleaver

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus recently publicly accused the Obama administration of failing to adequately address a veritable epidemic of African-American unemployment. “Can you imagine a situation where any other group of workers, if 34% of white women were out there looking for work and couldn’t find it? There would be rallies, congressional hearings, and protest marches; there is no way that would be allowed to stand,” says Representative Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat.

The Congressional Black Caucus has introduced many different bills to attack Black unemployment rates. Debates about Black unemployment persist, but the Obama administration has focused on broad based initiatives aimed at lowering unemployment in general. It appears that the Obama administration needs a specific plan to address Black unemployment.

At the meeting with Morial and Jealous, the president discussed the efforts his administration  has made to address urban economic development through initiatives such as Strong Cities and Strong Communities. These programs act to spur economic growth in urban centers while ensuring taxpayer dollars are used wisely and efficiently.

Morial and Jealous shared their ideas with President Obama for resolving high unemployment in the Black community. The leaders say the president indicated he was willing to consider some of their ideas about job creation and employment discrimination when he is done with the debt crisis.

The two leaders also discussed with the president their opinions on the debt reduction plan. “We emphasized that no steps should be taken that gonna cost this nation jobs. No steps should be taken that’s gonna force vulnerable Americans to pay the cost of a debt reduction plan,” Morial said of the meeting. He said the president nodded his head in agreement.

It is significant that President Obama is taking time out to access and discuss the mood of the African American community. But the wheels of the federal political machine turn slowly and take time. It is important that our political leaders and Congressional Black Caucus continue to apply pressure to the White House, and mobilize the different state, local, and community Black political organizations.