This morning, President Obama will sign the “Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act,” which will give employers a $1,000 tax credit for each new worker who stays on the payroll for at least one year.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said “this is really a good bill. It cuts taxes. Small businesses will have their taxes cut so that they can hire people to go to work now.”
But don’t get your hopes up too high.
During the Congressional Black Caucus’ public hearing on the chronically unemployed, House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel cautioned that just because a piece of legislation is called a “jobs bill” doesn’t mean it will put Americans back to work:
Tax credits when you’re not making a profit really don’t work…It’s going to take a broad-based effort.Similarly, Rep. Elijah Cummings told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell:
The problem in the African-American community I don’t think will be helped a lot by that bill.
Cummings is a member of the Joint Economic Committee, whose new report, “Understanding the Economy: Long-Term Unemployment in the African American Community,” quantifies the disparate impact of the economic recession.
CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee outlined the report’s key findings:
- African American men have been especially hit during this recession, with nearly 1 in 5 facing unemployment.
- African American women have seen their unemployment rate jump from 7.1 percent in February 2007 to 13.1 percent in February 2010. And African American female heads of household, who bear the sole financial responsibility for their families, have an even higher unemployment rate of 15.0 percent.
- African American workers of all ages are experiencing higher unemployment rates than the overall population, but younger workers have been especially hard hit during this recession. More than 2 out of 5 African American teenagers are unemployed, compared to an overall teen unemployment rate of slightly over 25 percent.
- While having at least a college degree has usually been an effective shield against unemployment, African Americans with a 4 year college degree have an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent, almost double the unemployment rate for white workers (4.5 percent) with a similar level of education.
- African Americans have experienced longer stretches of unemployment than the general population. Although African American workers make up only 11.5 percent of the labor force, they account for more than 20 percent of the long-term unemployed, and make up 22 percent of workers who have been unemployed for over a year. The median duration of unemployment for African American workers has risen from less than 3 months before the recession began to almost six months.
One of the problems we’re having is no one wants to concentrate on anything black. The word has been outlawed.Cleaver speculated there may be a $200 fine for mentioning “black.”
Remember, many a truth is told in jest.