President Obama will unveil his jobs plan before a joint session of Congress tonight.
There's been a lot of speculation about what will be included in his latest Big Speech. Rep. Maxine Waters questions whether the president will give voice to the jobless crisis in the African American community.
In a statement, Waters told POLITICO:
There are roughly 3 million African Americans out of work today, a number nearly equal to the entire population of Iowa. I would suggest that if the entire population of Iowa, a key state on the electoral map and a place that served as a stop on the president’s jobs bus tour were unemployed, they would be mentioned in the president’s speech and be the beneficiary of targeted public policy.
So, one question to be answered this evening is, are the unemployed in the African-American community, including almost 45 percent of its youth, as important as the people of Iowa?
This evening, as the President speaks to the nation about his plan to create jobs, he must acknowledge the economic disaster in the African American community, whose unemployment rate hovers at roughly 16.7 percent, almost double that of the general population and equal to depression-era levels. He must then articulate how the plan he puts forth will target the communities with the highest rates of unemployment, including the African American community.
While Obama may not say our name, Gallup has given us a new name, “outlier.” CBS News reports:
Now, with Hispanic approval ratings getting closer and closer to the national average, Gallup notes that “blacks have become an extreme outlier -- the only major racial group showing well-above-average approval.”
Still, black Americans' unwavering support may not be enough to get Obama to acknowledge black pain. As Waters observed:
There are those, who believe that the President, because he is black, cannot talk specifically about issues directly impacting the black community, like high unemployment. They suggest that doing so would endanger the President’s chances of being re-elected. I share the desire to reelect the first black President.
But, I would offer a slightly different analysis. If the unemployment rates in the African American Community continue to climb, like they did in August by almost a full percentage point, those African American voters who came out to the polls for the first time in 2008 but who have since lost their home and/or their job, may not return to the polls. Therefore, targeting public policy to a community who accounted for 13 percent of the electorate in ‘08, and who is now experiencing the culmination of a decade of economic crisis, is not just good policy, but good politics.
What you say.