With President Obama’s gas tank now less than an eighth full, it’s amazing where he has taken black Americans. Mainly, it’s been a long ride in reverse.
Even liberal black broadcaster Tavis Smiley has criticized Obama for this. As Smiley told HuffPost Live’s Alyona Minkovski, “Sadly — and it pains me to say this — over the last decade, black folk, in the era of Obama, have lost ground in every major economic category.” Smiley is almost completely correct. Based on the Obama administration’s own latest-available statistics by the most basic economic-performance metrics — with one key exception — black Americans are worse off now than when Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009.
- The one bright spot is the unemployment rate. For black Americans overall, that number from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has slid from 12.7 percent when Obama was inaugurated to 8.8 percent last month — down 30.7 percent.
- The unemployment rate for black teenagers (ages 16 to 19) also declined over the same period, from 35.3 percent to 23.3 percent — down 34 percent.
- But, more ominously, the seasonally adjusted labor-force-participation rate for black Americans across the board has slipped from 63.2 percent to 61.7 percent — down 2.4 percent.
- The seasonally adjusted labor-force-participation rate for black teenagers also sagged from 29.6 percent to 28.8 percent — down 2.7 percent.
- During Obama’s tenure, the percentage of black Americans struggling below the poverty line has advanced, according to the most recent Census Bureau data, from 25.8 in 2009 to 26.2 in 2014 — up 1.6 percent.
- Real median income among black households during those years, according to the Census Bureau, sank from $35,954 to $35,398 — down 1.5 percent.
- The number of black food-stamp participants exploded across that time frame from 7,393,000 to 11,699,000, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports — up 58.2 percent.
- Also, from Obama’s oath of office through the fourth quarter of 2015, the percentage of black Americans who own homes foundered from 46.1 percent to 41.9 percent, according to the Census — down 9.1 percent.
(For a closer look at these figures, please click here.)
What black Americans — and all citizens — really need is unbridled economic growth.
“After seven years of President Obama’s experiment with bigger government, more spending, and higher taxes, the result is an economy that is underperforming and denying opportunity to millions of Americans,” lamented House Budget chairman Tom Price (R., Ga.). With 2015 GDP growth at just 2.4 percent, Price added: “It is disappointing that the president continues championing this economic record — [fourth quarter 2015] growth at less than 1 percent and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, an average growth rate of just over 2 percent in the coming decade, if we keep the same policies in place. That is a full percentage point below the historical average.”
Prominent Democrats share Price’s concerns.
As he unveiled the 2015 State of Black America report, Urban League president Marc Morial complained that “Black America remains in a recession and remains in crisis when it comes to jobs and the economy.” He continued: “Black unemployment is twice that of white unemployment. Wages are stagnant. Many people who are working are simply not earning what they need or should earn to make ends meet.”
The Urban League’s National Equality Index found black Americans going backwards economically, from 57.4 percent equality with whites in 2009 to 55.8 percent in 2015 — down 2.8 percent.
Former president Bill Clinton urged voters on Monday to support his wife “if you believe we have finally come to the point where we can put the awful legacy of the last eight years behind us.” (This article written in March, 2016 in National Review.)
For her part, Democrat front-runner Hillary Clinton seemed to attack Obama’s record of stagnation when she told NBC News that most Americans are concerned about “what we’re going to do to get the economy going.”
In his most recent State of the Union address, Obama said, “Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.” Americans — black, white, and otherwise — should feel deeply betrayed after seven years on Obama’s nonfiction Road to Nowhere. — Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. He has appeared many times as a guest on Tavis Smiley’s radio program.