The Obama Economy: Blacks, Hispanics Hardest Hit
It's not about recovery. It's about transformation.
March 15, 2012 - 12:13 am
Imagine this: A group of raging white racists has gathered to assess how the economy’s performance during the 32 months since the recession officially ended is from all appearances in sync with their desire to keep blacks and Hispanics “in their place.”
For the record, meetings such as these are extremely rare, and when they do occur, they almost never include anyone with genuine power or influence. Now that membership in the Ku Klux Klan, which had been the unofficial terrorist arm of the Democratic Party for decades, is down to 5,000 or so nationwide, the Southern Poverty Law Center is running out of things to do. Desperately seeking relevance, the SPLC has chosen to squander whatever credibility it may have ever had by absurdly characterizing nonviolent, neighbor-loving outfits like the Family Research Council and other organizations which happen to believe that legalizing same-sex “marriage” may not be the wisest idea and act on that belief as “hate groups.”
As I noted in my previous column on another topic, leftist elites characterize any opposing opinions as “hate speech.” If they had their way, they would throw opponents in jail without hesitation. Recent examples confirming this harsh assessment: Gloria Allred, who wants to prosecute talk radio’s Rush Limbaugh for exercising his free-speech rights; Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem, who are demanding that Limbaugh be banned by the Federal Communications Commission; and El Paso Mayor John Cook (a Democrat; what a shock — not), who has “launched a grand jury investigation of every citizen involved” in a petition drive to recall him.
Anyway, at this mythical meeting, participants discussed the following graph produced by the federal government’s Department of Labor. It came from a report covering January 2007 to January 2012, and was amazingly said to contain “encouraging news” for African-American workers (smaller-font timeline elements and February 2012 unemployment rates were added by yours truly):
The meeting’s attendees were quite surprised and pleased to note that only four months after the recession’s end in June 2009, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for whites peaked at 9.3%. Over time, it has gradually declined to its current 7.3%. Meanwhile, Hispanic unemployment continued rising for another 13 months, topping out at 13.1% in November 2010. After falling to a still-high 10.5% in January 2012, it ticked up to 10.7% in February.
How about the situation for African-Americans?
Their unemployment rate went way up, and despite occasional hints of improvement stayed up. The African-American jobless rate finally maxed out at 16.7% just seven months ago, a full two years and two months after the recession’s end. The rate fell to 13.6% in January, but jumped to 14.1% in February, a movement that the government’s March 9 employment report oddly characterized as showing “little or no change.”
That 0.5% increase was indeed small relative to another change in African-American unemployment: The jobless rate for men 20 and older spiked to 14.3% in February from 12.7% the previous month. While the “mancession” element of the recession’s impact has ended for the workforce as a whole (the overall unemployment rates for men and women 20 and older were identical in February), the jobless rate for African-American women was still 1.9 points lower than that of African-American men.
By contrast, the seasonally adjusted Hispanic unemployment rate peaked (though at a much higher rate) in December 1982, the first month after the official end of the deep recession of the early 1980s; the African-American jobless rate peaked the very next month. Both rates headed steadily downward for the rest of that decade.
Readers may have noticed that a certain Professor Derrick Bell has been in the news since Thursday, March 8. That’s when the late Andrew Breitbart’s associates released a video of some guy introducing and hugging Bell, who died in October 2011, at a 1990s Harvard rally. This guy told those assembled: “Open up your hearts and your minds to the words of Professor Derrick Bell.” The video involving Bell, “a man who posited that the civil rights movement was too moderate because it accepted the status quo, and believed that the entire legal and constitutional system had to be transformed in radical fashion,” proves that this guy “not only associated with radicals, he was their advocate.”
While this guy, Barack Obama, has presided over the United States of America, the plight of blacks and Hispanics has worsened significantly, and to a much greater degree than it has for whites (for whom the past three years also haven’t exactly been easy), pleasing the imaginary group I described earlier.
Amazingly, at least at first glance, Obama’s economic failures haven’t visibly infuriated those his misguided policies have hurt the most. His defenders and his party have gone out of their way to excuse his mistakes and are working feverishly on behalf of his reelection. The reason for this should now be obvious: They subscribe to what Bell believed.
Despite what they say, the economy is important to them, and to Obama, only to the extent that its favorable portrayal regardless of the underlying reality facilitates victory in November. The fundamental transformation of America as we have known it is what really matters to them. They must be stopped, or we will see suffering that makes what we’re enduring today seem like a picnic.