Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
where are the jobs?A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
There are no targeted programs to address soaring Black unemployment on the horizon, despite Democratic control of the White House and both houses of Congress. President Obama puts his faith in a “rising tide” that “lifts all boats,” but in the real world “the economic tide is sinking Black boats at two, three and four times the rate of whites.”
Black Jobs Disappearing at Depression-Era Rates
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Obama will preside over a huge increase in permanent Black joblessness.”
President Obama continues to insist that a rising economic tide will “lift all boats.” But what's actually rising is a tidal wave of Black unemployment that in some regions is already at Depression-era levels and promises to add yet another layer of permanently jobless African Americans.
A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute shows that the economic tide is sinking Black boats at two, three and four times the rate of whites. Obama's determination to do nothing specifically targeting African American unemployment guarantees he will preside over a huge increase in permanent Black joblessness.
Black national unemployment, which is now posted at 14.7 percent, is expected to rise to 16 percent, compared to 8.6 percent for whites. Black unemployment has been roughly double that of whites for so long – at least two generations – economists and media call the disparity “traditional,” like apple pie and the 4th of July. Embedded in that statistic is the permanent instability of Blacks in the job market. Each time there is another wave of higher unemployment, larger numbers of those whose jobs were already unstable, drown. Another strata of the permanently jobless is left behind, a social crime that cries out to be undone. But that would require programs targeted to the places and people that have been most harmed by economic dislocations. By the logic of the numbers, that means Black people, most intensely. But President Obama will have none of that. He is ideologically committed to a race-neutrality that, in the job market, can only result in a steady expansion of chronic Black employment instability and permanent joblessness.
Blacks have lost ground in every job category.”
As disturbing as the national employment figures are, they don't convey the true scope of the deep and enduring Black jobs crisis. One out of every four Blacks in Michigan will be officially unemployed by the summer of next year. In Ohio and Alabama, one in five African Americans will officially be out of work. South Carolina and North Carolina will be right behind, nearing 20 percent official Black unemployment. In New York City and Washington, DC, official Black unemployment is an astronomical four times the rate for whites. I refer to the “officially” unemployed, because whole categories of workers slip off the U.S. Labor Department's jobless list every month, while the structurally or permanently unemployed are treated as if they do not exist.
The current economic crisis has resulted in an across-the-board employment disaster for Blacks, who have lost ground in every job category: manufacturing, wholesale and retail commerce, transportation, utilities, finance, insurance, real estate – the catastrophe is near universal. The Economic Policy Institute report recommends that the nation “devote extra resources to those states and groups that are hardest hit.” But Obama has already said no, and Black mass organizations seem more interested in coming to the first Black president's defense than in banging at the door of the White House, demanding relief for the people.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Direct download: 20090805_gf_BlackJobs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:49am EDT

inside manA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The bankster class, awash in billions in bonus money, flaunts its unearned wealth, oblivious to the political harm their antics are inflicting on the “Indispensable Man” in the bank bailout, President Obama. The author believes “the president's intimate entanglements with the criminal banking class will be his undoing.”
 

The Inside Man on the Great Bank Heist

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Obama's bankster friends can be counted on to repeatedly embarrass the president.”
Detroit Congressman John Conyers worries that President Obama might be brought down by his failure to put forward and fight for a decent health care plan. Conyers may be right, but I think the president's intimate entanglements with the criminal banking class will be his undoing. No matter how many times Obama puts a scowl on his face and pretends to threaten the banksters for their latest transgressions against everyone else's economic security, the public will remember who got bailed out first and most under the outgoing George Bush and the incoming Barack Obama.
The bankers have no shame, and even less regard for how much their behavior harms the political fortunes of their friends in the White House and Congress. It seemed like only yesterday that we were told life as we know it would cease to exist if Wall Street was not gifted with the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world. At the time most of the public, Democrats and Republicans, initially opposed the bailout, sensing it was a scam. George Bush could never have pulled it off – this, the greatest boondogle in human history. Republicans were screaming that a bailout meant instant socialism. Up stepped presidential candidate Obama, who sweet-talked the Democrats into pushing the bailout through Congress. For the banksters, Obama was the Indispensable Man.
George Bush could never have pulled it off.”
So, how do they reward him? In uncivilized haste, nine banks that received $175 billion of the people's money turned around and gave more than $32 billion to their executives and high roller employees, as bonuses. It was left to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to cry foul, in a report entitled, “No Rhyme or Reason: The 'Heads I Win, Tails You Lose' Bank Bonus Culture.” Essentially, the report outlined how bank managers divvy up bilions of dollars among themselves and their top-gun dealmakers, whether the institutions are doing well or not – not to mention how well or badly the real economy is performing for real people.
Banking in 21st century America is, in the end, exactly what most people suspected: a racket rigged for the benefit of the bankers, themselves. They had taken the people to the cleaners, fleeced the public, stolen them blind, and were now cashing in their billions in plain view of 300 million suckers.
Nobody can pull off that big a heist without an Inside Man. The guy who vouched for the thieves back in October of last year, who convinced all those Democrats in Congress that he'd make sure the banks were made accountable to the people once he was sworn in as president.
Obama's bankster friends, fearing nothing and no one, can be counted on to repeatedly embarrass the president with their felonious, anti-social behavior, in the depths of everybody else's economic crisis. At some point, it will become Obama's political crisis. The first black president will be even more widely perceived as the bankers president. Which is what he has always been.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

 

 

Direct download: 20090805_gf_BankingRacket.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48am EDT

conyers and obamaA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The nation's senior Black congressman fears Barack Obama is in danger of becoming a one-term president. Obama's health care proposal is “crap,” says Detroit's John Conyers, and Obama loses whether it passes or fails.



Conyers: “There is no one more disappointed than I am in Barack Obama.”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Progressive congresspersons may wind up voting against Obama on health care.”
Congressman John Conyers says Barack Obama’s stance on health care has been wrong, and it’s going to cost the president “big time.” It might even cost Obama his second term in the White House.
Conyers gave that assessment at Washington’s Busboys and Poets restaurant, bookstore and bar, where the Progressive Democrats of America were celebrating their fifth anniversary. Conyers is the Congressional Black Caucus’s longest serving member, having represented Detroit since 1964, when Obama was a three-year-old. He’s also one of the most consistently progressive members of the House, chairman of the Judiciary Committee and author of single payer health care bill H.R. 676 – legislation the White House has done its best to smother. Obama once gave lip service to single payer health care, but as president has staked his reputation on a mishmash of corporate schemes and deals-with-the-devil masquerading as health care reform – a thoroughly confused and conflicted legislative concoction that Conyers describes, simply, as “crap.”
Conyers suggests that, at the end of the legislative process, progressive congresspersons may wind up voting against Obama on health carebecause the bill will be simply too bad for advocates of real reform to support.
Busboys and Poets is a favored gathering place for progressives of all races. On the January night last year when Obama won the South Carolina primary, the place was noisier and more boisterous than anybody’s sports bar – so many deliriously hopeful faces, such soaring expectations. Now, John Conyers was telling many of the same people: “There is no one more disappointed than I am in Barack Obama.”
We’ve got to tell Obama now, or he’ll be a one term president.”
The president and his supporters often throw around the old cliché about not letting the “perfect become the enemy of the good.” That’s their way of defending the fatal compromises Obama keeps making with the right-wing before the fight has even begun. Whether because of lack of gumption or lack of real commitment on Obama’s part, this refusal to confront Power is what has brought us to the current health care debacle in Congress. It’s not a matter of the perfect being the enemy of the good, but that the health care legislation shaped by the White House and its allies in Congress is just no damn good.
As disappointed as Conyers is with Obama, he still feels compelled to blame someone else for Obama’s health care fiasco. It’s White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s fault, says the congressman. Emanuel wants to pass any kind of health care bill, “anything just to say we did” pass something.
Whether the villainous Rahm Emanuel is to blame or it’s Obama’s own fault, the president will pay a steep political price, says Conyers. If he passes a “weak bill,” Obama loses, and if no bill passes, he loses. Conyers says he’s speaking out in such stark terms because, “we’ve got to tell Obama now, or he’ll be a one term president.”
The truth is, Obama killed the prospects for real health care reform when, no sooner than he had taken the oath of office, he began threatening to cut Medicare and attempting to marginalize single payer advocates like John Conyers. What begins badly, usually ends badly.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Direct download: 20090805_gf_ConyersHealthcare.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:26am EDT