When President Obama addresses the nation with his long-awaited jobs prescription, one thing is certain. Any strategy he puts forth now must not only seek to move the needle for the nation as a whole, it must also include specific remedies for the ever-deepening jobs crisis within Black America. Though politically precarious, the August unemployment numbers reveal a crisis that can no longer be ignored. Although America as a whole finds itself seemingly immobilized in its long walk back to economic recovery, the Black community continues its plunge, now reaching unemployment rates not seen in this nation for nearly 30-years. These stark and divergent realities make one thing clear, the time for direct action is now.
Yet, as the nation awaits the President’s plan for recovery, most certainly any jobs prescription he puts forth will be measured by the politically-driven, and all too convenient pseudo-crisis of the federal deficit.
Is the deficit high? Sure. Could it stand to be lower? Of course. But when some twenty million people across this nation are out of work, six million of whom have been out of work for the long haul, and when we, as a nation face the highest level of poverty and food insecurity that we’ve seen since those statistics have been recorded, the crisis most pertinent to the future of this nation is not some big amorphous number being wielded like a weapon by wealthy men donning fake tans and designer suits. The real crisis is much more organic, much more concrete, much more basic in the lives of families across this nation. It is a crisis that supplants dignity and pushes one to the brink of daily survival.
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