Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Kevin Gray - By any economic measure the black community is in a severe depression. Unemployment among blacks was high before Obama took office. For blacks in the 16-24 age group it's been double-digit unemployment for decades. Nevertheless, in the time between Obama's inauguration and the present, the unemployment rates for the parents of many of those unemployed youth nearly doubled. As of September, the 'official' Bureau of Labor Statistics data show the overall black unemployment rate at 15.4 per cent: 16.5 percent for adult men, 12.5 for adult women and 40.8 per cent for teenagers. Some economists estimate that the actual overall rate is in the 30 to 35 percent range, with the 'unofficial' teenage rate far surpassing the 50 per cent mark. These rates remain unchanged even as the overall rate, as of the end of November, has dropped from 10.1 to 10 percent.

The $787 billion stimulus plan didn't do much for the unemployed. No targeted youth or adult jobs program was part of the package. The most that the jobless got out of the stimulus deal was extension of unemployment benefits, if they hadn't already dropped off the rolls. At best, stimulus dollars forestalled some teachers being laid off and kept road crews working. If hiring more cops is a good thing, ostensibly to ramp up their drug war and gang suppression activities, the bill did that as well. It must be noted that the share of public funds to the police-penal state has nearly doubled as a percentage of civilian government spending over the past 50 years and now stands at 15 percent.

Gray is author of the forthcoming book "The Decline of Black Politics: From Malcolm X to Barack Obama"

12/07/2009 | Comments []


The Review was a lonely progressive voice raising serious questions about Obama during the campaign. Our coverage was based on the public record, but activist and author Paul Street also knew him from Chicago days and in this interview with George Kenney gives some interesting background as well as talking about some of the alternatives for progressives today.

Labels: OBAMA
12/07/2009 | Comments []

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