Thursday, August 25, 2011

Obama to Unveil Jobs Plan but Payroll Tax Holiday Will Provide Little Help for Unemployed Blacks

As Obama vacations in Martha’s Vineyard, he is purported working on a new job plan in addition to other issues that confront the United States. With 14 million Americans looking for employment and African Americans uncertain as to the Presidents strategy to deal with the disproportionate level of unemployment in the African American community, the issue remains as what should be done to specifically deal with the dire economic predicament facing African Americans.

One incessant part of his plan involves extending the payroll tax cuts he pushed through in 2009 and more infrastructure construction projects nationally.

What is unknown is whether the President will end the estate tax provision and the Bush-era tax cuts which disproportionately hurt the poor and low income communities already the hardest hit by the economic quandary of the past six years.

Another concern is how much of his policy will actually address job creation versus economic growth. As it stands, all indications tend to point towards measures that stimulate demand and growing the economy over job creation.

If the president increased tax cuts for those making under $250,000, he would stimulate demand but likely not impact job growth. Thus any successful policy should target job growth as a separate issue. Some things that the President should consider are to make it illegal for employers to use credit reports and histories in their job screening procedures. Typically this hurt those that have been unemployed for extended period of times such as African Americans. It may also be wise for Obama to consider revising payroll tax cuts and make them only for the low and middle income workers since a tax rebate would likely be more significant for this parameter of the population.

Also, an extension of the Child Tax Credit - help for low- and moderate-income families with children - with a $3,000 minimum threshold in the agreement will benefit nearly 3 million African-American children.

African-Americans, especially the young face extremely high unemployment rates, with nearly 40 percent of those ages 16 to 24 in unemployment. African Americans also have longer durations of unemployment. For example, 47 percent of unemployed African Americans have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more meaning the median African- American unemployed worker has been unemployed for almost a month longer than the median unemployed worker.

Lastly, Obama should take a page out of Franklin D. Roosevelt book and develop a plan to protect homeowners from foreclosure and embracing a national policy to preserve homeownership. FDR understood that the solution was not with the creditors or banks, but with direct assistance to homeowners. Consequently he was able to establish the Home Owners' Loan Corporation, which was authorized to issue new loans to replace the existing liens of homeowners in default. Instead of a short-term, interest-only loan, the HOLC loans would be fully amortizing over 15 years, meaning that when the last payment was made, the borrower owed nothing further to the bank and owned the home free of any debt. Roosevelt established the Home Owner's Loan Corporation in 1933 to assist in the refinancing of homes. Between 1933 and 1935 one million people received long term loans through the agency that saved their homes from foreclosure.

Whatever Obama decides, it is evident that it should be more than a speech. Although the Obama Administration signed the "The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauth­orization, and Job Creation Act of 2010," into law last December, unemployment rate among African-Americans has continued to increase..

If Obama is serious about a jobs plan, he must be creative and do more than just give a speech, it will have to involve something other than a Payroll Tax Holiday, for such provides no support for people who are not working or receiving a paycheck.

Whatever Obama proposes unemployment benefit extensions will help but will not produce jobs. He should seriously consider advancing a mortgage relief program with teeth to assist families and keep them in their homes. This will add greatly to stimulate consumer spending and encourage some job creation. Never the less, giving a major speech is good, but in itself will replace the actual implementation of a policy that will reduce unemployment and grow the economy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Help Protects the Legacy of Institutional Racism and Historical Inaccuracy in Hollywood

Over the summer I have been spending an inordinate amount of time in the library and state archives with my daughter. This past week I was there to find out if a book I had requested, Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate by Juan Williams had arrived. Upon finding out it had not come yet, I passed a little blue Book called the Help – the 2009 Novel by Kathryn Stockett.

After reading the book I could not see what was all the fuss. The two words I would use to describe it are quick and unimpressed. So unimpressed that I wanted to see why folks were marketing the Movie as if it were the Ten Commandments. And thankful to all that is available on the internet, I did not have to pay to see it. I hope people do not take this as a history lesson, but I am afraid many, who do not remember their being only four television channels or when there was no such thing as a self-service gas station probably will. Both the book and the movie gave me the same feeling I got as a child watching Tarzan, running Africa like a king over all the black folk there as a single white man. Or like I did when I first saw Mississippi Burning, and was so vehemently upset because the portrayed the FBI as helping the civil Rights movement when history and fact states FBI under J. Edgar Hoover regarded the movement as public enemy number one: The book although supposedly written during civil rights struggle, barely mentions Edgar Evers assignation, the 16th street bombing or other issues that were daily occurrences in Mississippi. The help needs major help. It the kind of book and movie that make white folk feel good about themselves and black folk mad at the fabrications being presented. In the book, all the attention is on Skeeter as the narrator but in the movie it is one of the maids (Aibileen). *In fact, given the time period, there was only one mention of violence in the story and that involved domestic black on black crime between one of the maids and her man. Although lynching’s were as frequent as the post man delivered mail. Hollywood as usual has sugar-coated the daily impact of racial discrimination and prejudice in America as if the truth is too painful. As a most movies about race (the legend of Baggar Vance comes to mind) white Hollywood need to create white super heroes who are made to be more involved in the struggle against racial oppression than whites. Nelson George described this as “the magic negro” phenomena, where the black character is simple a mirror for the white man character to see themselves. The films of Hollywood especially that deal with race reflect the institutional racism common place to movie industry itself. To shine a real light on racism would be too show the real Hollywood. The Help is another in this tradition of having white folk tell the story of discrimination and racial hatred as if they lived it, while playing down the experiences of those who actually did.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rick Perry: A Reflection of the Neo-Confederacy in America

Republicans are a different breed today comparable to sixty years ago. Recently Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his entry in running for the Presidency of the United States. Perry from where I sit is a reflection of what is wrong with America, in particular the modern Republican Party. In many respects, they are very similar to the democrats of the pre and post-civil war era.

Perry is looked at by his faithful followers as the second coming of Christ, who will purge the sins of a nation under the leadership of Barack Obama. But dressage aside, one must call him for what he is, a throwback yahoo from the era of the confederacy who wants to see his state succeed from the union, and for god measure commemorate that time in history with a license plate honoring the confederate states and army.

Perry is a man of many contradictions. On the one hand he is an uber-globalist who has raised taxes and fees in Texas multiple times over his ten year career to the extent of massively growing the size of government, government spending and government debt in the state. A true plutocrat, he has even attempted to make young women all over Texas to be injected with the Gardasil vaccine. Although this is from a republican perspective, the same things they hate in an Obama, they can live with because the worse side of him which many applauded is his neo confederate political efficacy and locution - similar to Christian conservatives and Tea party stalwarts who continue to announce their desire to “take America back.”

This is the central premise of neo-confederates. In fact many of these patriots believe they would be better off if their states seceded from the Union. Especially in the south, where the intimation of secession is clear from Representative John Fleming to the Governor of Texas Rick Perry.

Perry made national headlines in 2009 when, during a speech to a Tea Party group in Austin, he suggested the rationale for Texas seceding from the union. This assertion is typical of the Governors political positions given his admitted being a member of the “Sons of Confederate Veterans." Evidence is noted in a document, published by the League of the South on its website Prior to his entrance into the race for the presidency, Perry rejected more than $500 million in federal stimulus funds and has been highly critical of President Obama's stimulus package.

Now some would say its all talk and rooted in historical fact, given Texas, the nation’s second biggest state was its own nation for 10 years before joining the United States in 1845. Perry is not alone; neo confederates in Georgia have also made similar assertions.

Georgia’s Senate Resolution 632, available for review online on the Georgia General Assembly’s Web site, and describes the circumstances under which the Georgia Senate believes, according to Republicans, that the state might be justified in seceding from the Union. The resolution affirms “states’ rights based on Jeffersonian principles; and for other purposes.

WHEREAS, the Ninth Amendment of the United States Constitution states "[t]he enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people" and the Tenth Amendment states "[t]he powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

In Tennessee, Rep. Zach Wamp, a Republican House member running for governor of Tennessee, is making a strong play for the crazy portion of the Volunteer State GOP primary electorate. He told Hotline OnCall that the new healthcare law might spur some states to secede from the Union.

Perry is ridiculous at best and crazy at worse. Last I read advocating the forcible dissolution of the union is a form of treason. Strange huh, given this man described Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Chairman appointed by his fellow Texan and former President George W. Bush as “treasonous.” I guess like many in the GOP, especially in the South, they still hold on to the wish fulfillment of the south rising again.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

ALL THE PHONE NUMBERS from your phone are now on Facebook

NOTE: Go to the top right of the screen, go to ACCOUNT,go to EDIT FRIENDS, left side click CONTACTS. you will see all your phone numbers (FB friends or not) are published that you have stored in your mobile phone. TO REMOVE, go to the right column, click on "this page." And then click "Remove" Please repost this on your fb status, so your friends can remove their numbers and thus prevent abuse if they do not want them published.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Is Obama Becoming Another Jimmy Carter?

Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down.” These are some lyrics from one of my favorite’s songs when I was in graduate school. They remind me unfortunately of our current commander in chief – Barack Obama. Especially given his recent, tail between the leg recapitulation of requesting a balanced approach to the deficit involving increased taxes and cutting spending while dealing with the GOP.

Seems as if Obama is morphing into
Jimmy Carter right before our eyes. Now I know many folks do not remember President Carter when he was in office, but I do. Like Carter, Obama appears to have no conviction and doesn’t practice fighting what you believe in. I know first graders with more gumption and fight than the President. If such was not the case, he would deal with the school yard bully like everybody else who has courage and personal fortitude. Instead he lectures, takes the high ground and acts as if he has to take the higher ground and beg for bipartisan negotiations when we all know the Tea party and GOP would do and will do anything to make him a single term president.

He is in essence too nice. I mean you don’t need to try to make someone sit down who just wants to cut your throat – you cut their throat first. Mr. President, you need to wise up, the days of working hand in hand for the benefit of the people as they once occurred during the times of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan are over. Instead this new breed is set on all but working on the behalf of the people. If you do not know how to fight then call I up and I will teach you how. Or else this will become standard practice in American politics – scorch and burn. These republicans now don’t accept the premise as Bush did, that sometimes you have to what is best for the Nation before the party; self-evident in his deal for
the 1990 budget with the democrats that also raised taxes.

It is impossible to have a discussion from a pragmatic purview with someone who ignores completely that the possibility exists that others may have affective ideas also.

So I suggest to you Mr. President that you start to drop kick some M**** F***** and handle your business. You are too worried about what people think about you in my eyes. Stop this right now and start cutting heads, before the
tea party castrate you and stick your penis in your mouth like the Lynch Mob they really are.

Jones, I mean Mr. President you do realize they intentionally make you focus of the deficit and debt over job creation. That they like using and making artificial crisis like the debt ceiling debate to achieve their partisan goals. Please handle your business: renew payroll tax cuts, keep the unemployed front and center and invest. Even God won’t negotiate with the devil. Republicans will fight anything you do, even if you said they were Gods chosen people, they would fight you. We deserve better so invest in us, invest in America. Fight to the death or don’t fight at all as my grandmother would say.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

2 Scoops Please: When a double dip recession is a depression

Congress and most politicians are not in the real world. They do not cut their grass, go to PTA meetings at public schools or wash dishes. Rather, they have lifelong guaranteed pensions and health insurance, there children attend private schools and to top it off they take a five week vacation and Obama celebrates his birthday by raising millions of dollars for 2012. These folks are not like us, but I have said this before as well as that there is no difference between democrats and republicans. I mean more than 40 percent of senators are millionaires with democrats comprising four of the top five and more than 230 members of congress are millionaires.

I hate to say it (not really but I warned folks three years ago that we were in a depression, that the fat lady had not started to sing and the vultures were circling. All was based on the premise that our solutions from a federal standpoint are topical and isolated, ignoring that we are not in a closed economy as we believe, but rather a global economy. Keynesian approaches cannot work as they did in the times of FDR for we are no longer on a gold standard and because spending is moot since most dollars will go to foreign debt holders who will spend the money abroad and not here to create jobs in the US.

First no matter what we do or don’t do via political dysfunction cannot the escape from the fact Europe is financially crisis from the run on banks in Greece or the observation that Italy from September 2011 will be broke to the fact that the risk related to both Spain is and Italian government bonds is unsustainable and unbailoutable (if such is a word). This is essential to understanding the US economic crisis because 25 percent of our exports go to Europe and a large corpus of our business operates out of Europe. Making money in Europe has sustained us but it may be over because nations with bond yields above 6 percent in two days market terms (Italy and Spain) will eventually destroy the European economy. Not to mention none of our debates, even the recent debt ceiling debacle do not deal with this or address what is at issue – long term economic growth.

The danger zone confronting Europe is hitting America. Pundits fear the ubiquitous double dip recession but the truth is that we are passed such and already in a depression. Our structural weaknesses accumulated during the boom years are still not being addresses. The U.S. is headed not just for double dip recession but rather a full-blown depression. Obama, following the bush inept plan to grow the economy only temporarily interrupted by a bunch of stimulus which ultimately weakened the economy further (2 million more unemployed since it started).

So to understand this, go to your local ice cream parlor, if you can afford it, and order two scoops of ice cream, and see how long it take for both to merge into one. Yes a double dip recession does equal a full blown depression.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Threat of Hunger and Starvation Really Real in USA

Threat of Hunger, Starvation and Malnutrition is Real for African Americans
In the US, it is estimated that 40 percent of edible food is thrown away by households and retailers annually and that food waste equals about 12 percent of the total waste produced in the nation. In total, industrial nations waste about 222million tons of edible food each year, barley less than the 230 million tons of food produced in sub-sahara Africa yearly.

One of the difficult tasks that many African Americans confront in America’s new economic reality besides unemployment is survival at its least common denominator – putting food on the table. A person working full-time at the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. The official poverty line for a family of three is $17,285. Nationally, more than 30 percent of children live in low-income working families. A large number of these families who earn less than twice the poverty line are African Americans. One in five children in the United States lives below the poverty line.
With the recent natural disasters occurring around the globe, it may be time to consider what impact this may have on the daily living of many across the nation. Tornados across the nations, droughts in China and Europe and Earthquakes as well as floods all have a major impact on what we do here in America, especially with respect to our food supply. There is already a global food shortage, and the economic crisis makes it worse for many African Americans on the lower end of the economic spectrum just to put food on the table.

The fact is that in America, hunger and race are related. In 1991 46% of African-American children were chronically hungry compared to 16% of white children. Moreover, the infant mortality rate is closely linked to inadequate nutrition among pregnant women. The U.S. ranks 23rd among industrial nations in infant mortality with African-American infants die at nearly twice the rate of white infants.
No matter what anyone says, the fact is that the possible of hunger and starvation in America is increasing and African Americans, mainly living in urban areas with little or no knowledge of farming, will be at the greatest risk. Food prices are rising, supplies are very tight and already we have seen some very intense food protests flare up around the globe this year.

The threat of starvation and extreme hunger in America is real. Low-income households already spend a greater share of their income on food per data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2006. Around the globe, Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger and it is estimated that some 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition. I just wonder what these figures among African Americans are in this current economic climate.

PS: Will add links 2morrow. I wrote this Longhand from Books and GOV. reports.