The Chicago Sun-Times captured the state of Black America with its recent headline, “The Disappearing Black Middle Class.” At 16.2%, the unemployment rate for Black Americans under Obama has reached historic levels.
As the old saying goes, when America catches the cold, Black America catches pneumonia.
“Some see a bitter irony in soaring black unemployment and the decline of the black middle class on the watch of the first black president,” the Sun-Times pointed out.
With such economic devastation in the Black community, it’s no wonder many Obama supporters are less than pleased with the president’s performance. Once staunch advocates have turned into rabid critics.
“A black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats,” is how Princeton professor Cornel West described President Obama.
Admittedly, Dr. West’s comments may have been over the top, but even the Congressional Black Caucus has accused the president of failing to adequately address the epidemic of Black unemployment. And everyone from media pundits to rap artists has weighed in. Jay-Z, for instance, claimed criticism of the president’s economic performance was “fair.”
Critics point to a laundry list of presidential missteps. They argue the president has not stood up to Republican efforts to kill jobs at every turn, that he’s continued Bush-era tax cuts for the ultra-rich, and that he pressed for a stimulus package that was short on money for economic stimulus and heavy on Republican-inspired tax cuts.
Others point to the fact that Wall Street received massive tax payer bailouts, but not one Wall Street executive was prosecuted under Obama’s watch, all but guaranteeing they’ll continue the same types of activities that brought the nation to its knees.
But, it’s easy to be a critic.
How quickly we forget that at the end of the Bush presidency the nation was losing nearly 700,000 jobs a month. In contrast, under President Obama, nearly 125,000 jobs per month were created in the first half of 2011.
And President Obama has accomplished this while working with members of Congress who have made their primary goal “to make Mr. Obama a one-term president.”
In our “what have you done for me lately” culture, it’s easy to overlook the fact that Mr. Obama single-handedly saved the American auto industry from extinction, a move that saved more than a million jobs. And while the nation suffers 9% unemployment, most economists agree that the president’s swift actions prevented America from slipping into a second Great Depression.
Yes, it’s quite easy to be bash the president’s economic polices when you’re not standing in Great Depression-type soup lines.
BMWK, what’s your take? Has President Obama done enough to address Black unemployment? Do you think he’s selling out to corporate interests, or is he simply the victim of a Congress desperate to see him fail?