With there being roughly 3 million African-Americans out of work, the highest its been in the United States in 27 years – many are wondering when things will get better. Maxine Waters, a U.S. Representative and one of the more vocal members of the Congressional Black Caucus, has been pushing hard against President Obama to put an end to the overwhelming unemployment in the African-American community.
Never afraid of being controversial, Waters has stated that in order for unemployment to change, the President needs to start seeing the priorities of the African-American community on the same level as he views the Iowa swing voters. Her comment stemming from the President’s recent bus tour – where he stopped in Iowa but made no real effort to address states affected the most by the unemployment crisis.
Earlier Thursday, Waters again discussed her reservations about the President with Politico, where she discussed the likelihood that Obama would address the unemployment situation during his speech later on that evening.
“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.”
At the same time, Waters isn’t trying to push a ‘Black Jobs’ agenda – instead, she would rather see a way for high unemployment and poverty areas to receive new programs, tax cuts and emergency assistance. Which in turn, would provide a net-positive impact on the unemployment rates in those communities and the country as a whole.
She later cited Franklin Roosevelt’s Tennessee Valley Authority law, which helped create jobs during the Depression. If the President would employ a similar tactic – focusing instead on the smaller people over the big businesses – perhaps, she believes, the country’s issue would start to mend itself.
During his speech last night, while the President didn’t directly address the issues penetrating the African-American community– he did touch on the long-term unemployed and disadvantaged youth – proving that, he is moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, for Waters the President’s pace is still not quick enough.
“I wanted him to say something about the intolerable rate of unemployment in the African American community. He didn’t quite get there. I do think we have a chance to do something substantive and to get at this terrible unemployment in this country. I think he got it right.” Waters shared with CBS News correspondent, Scott Pelley.
Within the next few weeks, the President is expected to go more into depth about the $447 billion that will make up the ‘American Jobs Act,’ once the tax cuts and spending initiatives are in place.
Cynthia Wright is an avid lover of all things geeky. When she isn’t freelancing, she can be found on her blog BGA Life and on Twitter at @cynisright.