05 October 2011

A President Abandons Blacks

Stephen Kershnar
Blacks Support for Obama: Cheering on a Savage Beating
Dunkirk-Fredonia Observer
October 2, 2011

Recently, black leaders such as Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and few others have begun to criticize President Obama. She was promptly smacked down by demagogue-in-chief Al Sharpton. While black criticism of Obama is beginning to percolate, it is still rare and muted. This makes no sense given that the Obama Administration sat by and watched as the economy, prisons, and public schools gave blacks a savage beating.

Blacks were one of the biggest forces behind Obama’s victory. In 2008 according to the Washington Post, roughly 96% of blacks voted for Obama. Blogger Ruy Teixera points out that blacks were 13% of the national voters. A 12-13% head start in an election is huge. Blacks were also 25% of Democratic voters. Thus, blacks gave Obama the Democratic nomination and then propelled him into office.

The recent economic recession has been an economic steamroller, flattening many blacks. Writing in The Washington Times, James Bacon gives the snapshot of the steamroller’s destruction. In 2009, 26% of blacks lived in poverty, compared to 10% of whites. The unemployment rate for blacks is roughly 17%, more than twice that of whites. A study by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that black men in the middle class are 37% more likely to fall from middle class to the bottom 30% of income earners than white men.

Even worse, Bacon points out, in the larger picture, blacks are bleeding out wealth. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the median net worth of black households dropped to $2,200. This is much less than the $97,900 median figure for white households. 40% of black households had a net worth of $0 or less. A 2010 Study by the Center for Responsible Lending found that 8% of blacks lost their homes to foreclosure. A 2009 study by the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank of foreclosures in California showed blacks were more than 3 times more likely to be in foreclosure compared to whites, even after controlling for income and credit score.

The federal government significantly overemploys blacks, but this has done little to prevent the Obama steamroller. Columnist Pat Buchanan points out that although blacks are roughly 13% of the population, they constitute 25% of the employees at Treasury and Veterans Affairs, 37% at the Department of Education, 38% at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and 42% at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Quasi-government agencies are worse. Buchanan notes that blacks are 44% of the employees at Fannie Mae and 50% at Freddie Mac. These are the private corporations that the government in effect insures (it’s given them more than $140 billion). Were whites so overrepresented, preferences and covert quotas would have been rammed down these departments’ and agencies’ throats.

Fans of big government might claim that blacks would be even worse off had the Obama Administration not massively expanded government spending, ratcheted up regulations, fought to keep taxes high, continued the two wars, and so on. I find this implausible, but let us grant it for the sake of argument. A bigger failure is that the Obama Administration has done nothing on the two largest issues African-Americans face: imprisonment and education.

The federal and state governments lock up black men as if they were a congenitally criminal population. Writing in the Boston Globe, Louise Palmer noted back in 1999 that there will likely be 1 million African-American adults behind bars. It should be noted that others have lower estimates (800,000 on one study). This is a 500% increase over the last two decades. Data from a 2003 Justice Department report shows that 10.4% of African-American males population aged 25-29 were incarcerated. Note that the 10.4% is for one year, which means that a still higher percentage was imprisoned at one time or another. In 2000, there were more black men in prison than in college. Many of these men are in prison for non-violent drug offenses. When locked up, these men don’t care for their children, have jobs, or form friendships and loving relationships in their communities. When they get out they are damaged goods and less attractive to black women and employers.

The public education system is another disgrace. A 2010 study by the Schott Foundation finds that less than half (47%) of black males graduate from high school, compared to 78% of whites. When they do graduate, far too many black diplomas are fraudulent. Using National Assessment of Educational Progress Data, a study by the Education Trust found that by the time black students reach their senior year, they are four years behind their peers. On average, a 17-year-old African-American has skills in English, mathematics, and science similar to those of a 13-year-old white student. And remember, the performance of white students is nothing to be proud of. Economist Walter Williams has long pointed out that were the Klu Klux Klan to design a system to crush black progress, they could not have done better than America’s public schools.

The Obama is in the midst of excusing states whose schools continue to fall below the standards set forth in the Bush Administration’s No Child Left Behind law. Given that the teachers’ unions are one of the most powerful forces in the Democratic Party, Obama knows who brought him to the dance.

What has the Obama administration done to reverse these trends in imprisonment and education? The Obama Administration had a Democratic controlled Congress for two years. Did the administration not know that hundreds of thousands of black males were locked up and that black children learned very little in government schools or did it just not care? Note that these failures do not depend on whether you’re a fan or big government or liberty. Locking up hundreds of thousands of young black men for selling recreational drugs is loathsome on either theory. Similarly, no one who looks seriously at why public schools fail blacks thinks that the main problem is underfunding. Also, note that even those who think that black-white differences are explained in part by genetic differences in intelligence would have to admit that federal and state governments are making things far worse.

Black silence occurs because in part because of mistaken ideology and in part because black leaders are beholden to the Democratic Party and its 800 lb. guerillas, the unions, and both are inextricably tied to Obama.

No comments: