Obama Budget Ignores African-American Jobs Crisis

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Campaign for America’s Future blogger Isaiah J. Poole writes about some hard truths in the African-American community that he hopes President Obama and the Democratic Party will keep in mind as they debate budget cuts in the coming weeks and months. He points out that Friday’s jobs report shows that more than one in eight African Americans is looking for a job — twice the white unemployment rate.

Citing a number of recent reports, Poole lays out what he refers to as a “crisis” in the African-American community warning the president and Democrats that they better start paying attention or suffer the consequences at the ballot box.

When President Obama formally unveils his fiscal 2014 budget on Wednesday, a lot of the progressive movement focus will be on his plan to cut Social Security benefits through a reduced cost-of-living adjustment called the “chained CPI.” But there will be another scandalous policy decision reflected in that budget as well, and this one is a sin of omission: There will not be an all-out effort to address the depression-level unemployment conditions among African Americans.

In that is a convergence of misplaced economic priorities and foolhardy politics. The African-American community is the most solid bloc of what Democracy Corps calls the “rising American electorate.” It is the bloc whose unity around Barack Obama propelled him into the White House in 2008 and kept him there in 2012. But among African-American voters there are a significant segment that has complained for years that their votes are taken for granted by the Democratic party, and among no small number of African-American thinkers, very little has happened in the Obama administration to soften their concerns.

The rejoinder to those who assert that African Americans don’t have much to show for their votes for the Democratic Party continues to be that “the Republican party is worse.” But while the Republican Party remains too tied to America’s Jim Crow past to win significant shares of African American votes, Democrats could still lose in 2014 and beyond when for millions of African-American voters “not much” to show for their loyalty becomes “not enough” to show up at the polls. Continue reading »

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