It has been reported that the current national economic recession that officially began in December 2007 and said to have ended last year, continues to take a major toll of workers, in particular black males. In theory the back and forth between the Whitehouse and House Republicans is to deal with creating an environment, via budget cuts to improve the economy and grow jobs. But jobs for whom? Not African Americans.
As of April 2009, the recession had already abrogated about 6 percent of all employed men and about 10 percent of the jobs held by black men at the time. Since the onset of the recession overall black unemployment rate increased at a faster rate than whites. And after the recovery started in June of 2009, the unemployment rate for blacks increased two percentage points above 16 percent while white unemployment has returned to its rate prior to the recover (8.7%). African Americans have been the hardest hit during each of the past recessions. For example, during the 1990-91 recession Asians and Hispanics gained 55,104 jobs and 60,040 jobs, respectively, but blacks lost 59,479 jobs, especially in states with the highest immigration.
A recent study by Andrew Sum, professor of economics and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., called “The Impacts of the 2007-2009 National Recession on Male Employment in the U.S. through January 2009; noted that Black male employment fell by 6.4 percent (482,000), compared to overall Black employment at almost 3 percent (463,000); and that the unemployment gap between Black men and women increased with Blacks the only group where the gap favors women. Currently, a third of blacks live in poverty with employers tending to fire blacks while retaining and hiring people of other ethnicities during a recession.
What makes all of this worse is the seemingly endless onslaught of republican legislation outside of Washington that impacts if not intentionally, brazenly accrues more harm with those traditionally at the bottom of the economic totem pole. In Alabama, U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) whose district was one of the hardest hit by the recent plague of Tornado’s across the south, prior to this tragedy along with other Alabama Republicans, voted against funding for satellites that are critical for accurate storm forecasting.
Strange how Karma works, Bachus, Martha Roby, Mo Brooks, Robert Aderholt, Mike Rogers, and Jo Bonner--voted against a bill that would save lives in rural areas via more accurate weather information and warning systems suggesting that they were a waste of money and unnecessary. Lamentably they were more interested in protecting the $5.5 billion in subsidies and foregone royalty payments for Big Oil.
In Florida, GOP Lawmakers have just approved deep cuts in unemployment benefits. Legislators have just passed a measure that would cut maximum state benefits to 23 weeks from 26 when the state has a jobless rate near 11 percent. The rate for African Americans in the state is near 20 percent.
Across the nation, April’s unemployment figures display how African-Americans are suffering. Along with increased cost for gas and other staples, it is no wonder household participation in food stamps continues to steadily luxuriate. Data reported by the Department of Agriculture for February of this year evince that an additional 11,517 recipients were added, representing a household participation rate of about 14 percent nationally.
Now something has to give. Either folks become proactive and recognize how dire these circumstances are for the masses, and take the time to learn more about economics, saving and global economics as a function of the value of the dollar or either we continue to lag behind. Too many folk think and worse, believe that President Obama has the ability to do something about this or that he actually cares. The reality is that actions speak better than words.
Under Obama’s current budget, federal prison spending will rise from $6.2 billion to $6.8 billion. His budget also desires to reduce $5.1 billion in funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program to $2.57 billion. Last year he cut spending for Food stamp programs.
We need to look at this troubled period with objective eyes, for the way I see it, Republicans in the house and Congress, as well as the Democrats under the leadership of the current administration, do not have the interest, or best interest of our community at hand and both seem content to let us suffer most of the burden of this faltering economy. For they understand, live practice and through their actions know that when it comes to Money, credit, and debt: Once a slave always a slave.