Project 21 New Visions

Stacy Swimp

President Obama Owes Black Americans the Truth, Not Special Attention


by Stacy Swimp (bio)

 

As President Obama crossed middle America last August to promote his economic policies, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) complained he was ignoring black communities.

Feeling his political base crumbling, however, Obama now appears in Detroit to sell his new stimulus bill. He claims more spending on unemployment benefits and less collection of Social Security funds (but plenty of other new taxes) will win the future.

Tavis Smiley, Cornel West and others seem to think the problem is that Obama lacks an agenda for "Black America."

Do blacks need a separate agenda?

When our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, it was for all people. The Preamble reads:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…

The Constitution grants no preference to ethincity or economic class. It's a foundation for a rule of law applying equally to all Americans.

There is only one America — not a black, white, Hispanic, Asian or any other separatist America.

Saying Obama owes special attention to black America is contrary to the Constitution. "Black America" itself is a dysfunctional term that only promotes class warfare and ethnic unrest.

"Black America" is a concept born from black nationalism, creating a means for Americans of African descent to eschew citizenship.

Obama owes Americans of African descent what he owes every other American. It's not special or preferential treatment. It's the truth — something he's not delivered faithfully since taking office.

Instead of improving economic conditions, it would seem Obama has allowed things to get worse. For example:

  • Reported unemployment last August was at 9.1 percent. In January of 2009, it was 7.6 percent. Long-term unemployment tripled during the Obama Administration.

  • The average price of a gallon of gas in early September was over $3.50. When Obama took office, it was well under $2. This commodity affects the price of almost everything we buy.

  • Food stamp use rose 70 percent over the past four years. There are more than 45 million Americans now on food stamps, as opposed to just over 30 million when Obama became president.

  • The ranks of poverty-stricken children grew by 2 million over the past two years.

  • The national debt is over 14.3 trillion dollars, up from nearly 10.7 trillion on Inauguration Day 2009.

  • The federal government essentially borrowed $29,660 more dollars from every American household since Obama signed the first stimulus bill.

  • In 2010, more than a million households suffered foreclosure — the first time it's gone so high. The current pace of home sales could make 2011 the worst year for the industry in a half-century.
President Obama needs to be truthful to himself and the American people. He needs to set aside politics and embrace real solutions to our nation's problems. For instance:
  • Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act that regulates federal labor agreements. This would save taxpayers over $10 billion per year and free up more money for more infrastructure projects that the Heritage Foundation estimates will create more than 150,000 jobs.

  • Repeal the minimum wage law that discriminates against minorities and poor Americans — causing alarming hikes in unemployment in urban cities.

  • Based on success in the states, a national "right-to-work" law could create more private sector jobs as well as more and faster personal income growth.

  • The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world that punishes corporations for increasing profits and drives jobs overseas. Reform the tax code.
Americans need President Barack Obama to lead and support policies that put people back to work.

An American agenda is colorblind, for it is based upon the tenets of free enterprise, limited government and individual responsibility.

Enough of the rhetoric. Enough of the special interest politics. It's time to follow a real plan.

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Stacy Swimp is a member of the Project 21 black leadership network. Comments may be sent to [email protected].

Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.


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