Tuesday, December 23, 2014

WSJ: Blacks fared worse under Obama

The Wall Street Journal argued in a November 3 editorial that blacks have suffered under the reign of President Obama while the plight of other groups have improved:

President Obama and fellow Democrats have been obsessed with the African-American electorate of late, mindful that the party needs high black voter turnout Tuesday to keep the Senate. The implication is that every black American who votes will automatically pull the Democratic lever, and perhaps they will. What is becoming harder to explain is why black Americans would feel any gratitude for the results of Obama Administration policies.

The last six years have been rough on middle class incomes broadly, but even worse for African Americans. Consider some basic economic statistics.

At the start of the President’s first term, the unemployment rate was 12.7% for blacks and 7.1% for whites. Four years later in January 2013 the numbers were 13.8% and 7%, respectively, which means that the black-white employment gap had widened. Today black unemployment is down to 11%, but it’s still more than double the white rate of 5.1%.

Or take the labor participation rate, which measures the share of the working-age population that is employed. The participation rate has sunk to lows last seen in 1978 for all Americans—62.7%, and for whites it is a tick better at 62.8%. But for black Americans it is a full percentage point lower at 61.7%. In December 2013 the rate fell to 60.2 for blacks.

Then there’s the black poverty rate. According to the most recent Census data, the overall U.S. poverty rate fell to 14.5% in 2013 from 15% a year earlier, but among blacks it was unchanged at 27.2%. When Mr. Obama took office, black poverty was 25.8%. By comparison, the white poverty rate was 11.5% in 2009 and 9.6% in 2013.

Median household incomes have fallen for nearly everyone under this President, but blacks are again slightly worse off than other groups. The median black household income fell to $34,598 in 2013 from $38,409 in 2009. For white households it fell to $58,270 from $62,545. Thus the black median household income was 61.4% of the white median in 2009 but had fallen to 59.4% in 2013—one more racial gap that has widened.

This dismal record helps explain why Democratic appeals to blacks this year play up racial fears rather than economic opportunity. Mr. Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have taken to palling around with Al Sharpton to denounce criticism of the President as racially motivated and voter ID laws as a Republican conspiracy to disenfranchise blacks.

After a Democratic pollster circulated a memo noting that more than half of black voters were unaware that an election was coming up on Nov. 4, Democrats took the race-baiting to new lows.

Harry Reid ’s Super PAC is running ads on black radio that accuse Republicans of supporting the type of gun law that “caused the shooting death of Trayvon Martin . ” A flyer from Democrats in Georgia pictures black toddlers holding signs that read “Don’t Shoot.” Produced by the state Democratic Party, the flyer urges people to vote to “prevent another Ferguson”—as in Missouri.

We reported on these racial tactics two weeks ago, but they have become so ubiquitous that the rest of the media can no longer ignore them. “The images and words they are using are striking for how overtly they play on fears of intimidation and repression,” reports the New York Times .

The good news is that all of this gives Republicans a political opening to appeal to the aspirations of black Americans who’ve been let down by Democrats. The even better news is that some Republicans have begun to try.

In recent weeks conservative groups have aired several campaign ads aimed at black voters. One especially powerful Internet spot features Elbert Guillory, a black Republican state lawmaker from Louisiana, who hits Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu for neglecting her black constituents and explains why she can get away with it. “Mary Landrieu knows that she doesn’t have to do anything for our community,” Mr. Guillory says, “because no matter what she does 95% of us will line up and vote for her every time.”

In another ad four black activists in Chicago question whether black political leaders, from Mr. Obama down, are addressing the genuine needs of their community. “There’s a black-on-black crime down in city hall, there’s a black-on-black crime down in all the state capitols in America, where black folks are voting against our interests,” says one man while standing in front of a Cook County prison. Another man questions President Obama’s efforts to lift the minimum wage: “We don’t have any jobs. A minimum-wage raise for what?”

Voting habits are durable, but over the years they often do change. President Obama is asking for black votes as a matter of racial solidarity because he can’t make the case based on results. If black Americans decide not to rush to the polls this year to reward Democrats for this track record, no one should be surprised, least of all the President.


Anonymous said...

I'm tired of hearing about all of this bullshit. Until we can have an honest conversation with out someone getting their feelings hurt or turning violent then nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

I don't have time to respond to the whole article, but I'll say this: Blacks have fared worse than whites under every president. It's not an Obama issue, but an American issue. If Obama implemented policies that exclusively or even primarily improved the circumstances of blacks, the WSJ would be harping on that. Regardless of the progress or lack thereof blacks have seen under Obama, Republican's won't benefit from any political opening because, frankly, most black people think Republican policymakers don't care about black people or their issues, and also believe that the Republican's lack of care stems from racial animus. Republicans have a mountain to climb in overcoming that.

Anonymous said...

11:07 Where have you been the past 50 years? You are apparently uninformed, and/or very young. Both the Bush presidents were RINO, and Congress has definitely feathered the black's bed. Think equal opportunity in jobs, housing, wages, health care and other entities of government laws and regulations. No argument with you, as you are apparently racist yourself.

Anonymous said...

Blacks have fared worse than whites under every president. It's not an Obama issue, but an American issue.

This should read:

"Blacks have fared worse than whites throughout human history. It's not an American issue, but a Black issue."

Anonymous said...

12:47 You point is vague - are you suggesting that the countries on the continent of Africa (blessedly free of white domination) have historically been the most desirable place for blacks to live, where they enjoy the highest incomes, best education, and most robust health compared to anywhere in the world? Is that why so many are flocking to move there?

Anonymous said...

11:33, I'm neither uninformed nor young. I have no idea what the Presidents Bush being RINO's has to do with anything. I'm fully aware of the policies implemented over the past 50 years and I assume the Civil Rights Act of '64 is the starting point for the 50 years you reference. The '64 Act was obviously aimed at bettering conditions for Blacks in this country. Nothing else you mentioned was targeted specifically at Blacks, but instead were policies intended to better the lives all Americans. Policies that better conditions for all Americans improve the lives of Blacks as well. I stated that Blacks have not fared as well under those policies, which were obviously put into place under Obama.

I am a bit confused as to what I said that makes you think I'm "apparently racist."

12:47, how clever of you. Reading your revised sentence, I'm found myself utterly impressed not only by your ability to substitute words which maintained the essence of the sentence, but I was also impressed by your high level analysis of world history. Your mother must be so proud of you.

Anonymous said...

"continent of Africa (blessedly free of white domination)"

I assume you've never heard of colonisation.

Anonymous said...


I've heard of colonization. Is that what you're referring to? At least that's what those of us who received an education away from Jackson Public Schools or Jackson State learned about.

Anonymous said...

That JPS-JSU "insult" is getting old. "Colonisation" is a British variant of Colonization, which I thought was appropriate since they built quite the empire in Africa. The more you know...

Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ. If a black man is successful, dresses well, drives a nice car, lives in the burbs, and sends his kids to private school, then the black community call him an oreo cookie and uncle Tom. The most racist people on the planet are black activists and political types who cry racism at everything.

Anonymous said...

The black middle class increased under Reagan thru Clinton. Maybe Mississippi missed it but it happened. Obama is a welfare president. Look at the stats

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