African-Americans' Worst Economic Enemies

An Associated Press story appearing Wednesday morning claimed that Barack Obama's presidency "has been marred by racist backlash." Naturally, the cowards at AP didn't specifically identify the source or nature of the alleged "backlash," because to do so would expose the claim as a lie.

Earlier this week, Jesse Jackson did the lying for them. Jackson told Politico that he "absolutely" believes that the Republican Party's opposition to Obama's policies is motivated by race, and that "the tea party is the resurrection of the Confederacy."

The economic scoreboard says otherwise.

The frightening data recently published by Sentier Research, a group of former Census Bureau employees who have been tracking monthly household income since the turn of the century, make it obvious that it is economically devastated African-Americans who should be absolutely furious with Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in Washington.

Martin Luther King, whose seminal "I Have a Dream" speech 50 years ago this week inspired and energized millions, did more during his life than any other single person in American history to advance the opportunities of "colored Americans" — a term he used in some form over a dozen times in that speech, while using "black" only four — to have the "inalienable rights of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness" our founders promised.

It may be correct, as Politico's Glenn Thrush asserted on Tuesday, that Barack Obama is behind only King on the list of "most important black leaders in American history." But there is also little doubt, with the assistance of a two-year head start provided by fellow congressional Democrats, that Obama's policies have visited more economic harm on African-Americans than any president in my lifetime.

Sentier's report shows that since the recession officially ended in June 2009, African-American household income, defined as "before-tax money income," has plunged by three times as much as everyone else's (dollar amounts are current):


The average median income decline for all non-black households over the four years involved is roughly 3.6 percent, only one-third of the decline African-American households have seen.

Note that the declines for "colored Americans" other than blacks differed very little from that seen by whites.

It gets worse.

Combining Sentier's work with Census Bureau data through 2011, the most recent available, shows that African-Americans' real household income has dropped by over 16 percent since 2007, and by over 20 percent since the statistic's high-water mark in 2000 (for the table, I conservatively used a drop of 10 percent during the past four years instead of 10.9 percent for blacks, did not change the declines in other groups at all, and assumed that Sentier's June readings will be the same as the overall results for all of 2013):


Though there was a bit of a decline during the early and middle portions of the past decade, the steep descent in real incomes, especially for African-Americans, didn't really begin in earnest until the year after the Democrats consolidated their power in Congress. They then proceeded to talk down the economy during the 2008 presidential campaign, and worsened the recession's impact during the Bush 43-Obama presidential transition.