Op-ed submission by Project 21
As a conservative, President Barack Obama’s re-election was one of the most disappointing experiences of my life.
As a black American, my sorrow was only amplified.
Just look at President Obama’s economic track record. Look at the unemployment rate during Obama’s first term. Throughout his first four years as the nation’s CEO, the official unemployment rate rested almost exclusively between eight and ten percent — with data showing the inclusion of those leaving the workforce altogether out of despair actually made the number much higher.
He promised much better. But then asked for more time.
Despite being carried to re-election by a nearly unanimous black vote, black unemployment under President Obama was a staggering 14.3 percent in the month before his re-election. Young black men are being hit particularly hard by unemployment.
A white liberal incumbent president with such an abysmal economic track record would be slaughtered for such a performance. He was. Remember Jimmy Carter’s 1980 landslide loss to Ronald Reagan? Yet Obama cruised to a fairly easy win. The fact that it was black America carrying Obama to victory that leaves me flabbergasted.
To add insult to injury, the Reverend Al Sharpton sees fit to not blame the stubbornly high black and Hispanic unemployment rates on Obama’s policies, but on conservatives! In a recent radio interview, Sharpton said:
[Obama’s] increased jobs and found jobs — unemployment has gone down in the private sector. What has not gone down is [unemployment] in the public sector and blacks in particular are disproportionately in the public sector.
One of the reasons those jobs have gone down or have remained down is one, the Republicans are cutting a lot of the agencies where we are the employees of government jobs… [W]hat we’ve got to do… is take on these governors and mayors as well as the private sector on why the private sector is getting all these contracts and bailouts and not hiring and correcting the disproportionate amount of their employment does not touch our community and have the President and them support us in that.
I’ll overlook that Sharpton, like most liberal elitists, seems ignorant of basic economic principles. Otherwise, he would know Obama’s big government, tax-and-spend policies — such as the failed stimulus, his existing taxes and his proposed $1.6 trillion in tax hikes on corporations and small businesses (derisively called “the rich”) and Obamacare — are primarily to blame for high unemployment rates overall and a disproportionately high black unemployment in particular.
If the Reverend Alfred Charles Sharpton, Jr. were to read black economist Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy, Sharpton would know that more taxes will make it nearly impossible for any businesses to generate investment activity and create jobs needed to expedite our nation’s economic recovery — something the public sector cannot.
But I digress.
My primary beef with the illogic of people such as Sharpton is the racially condescending insinuation that black Americans are not cut out for corporate America — that only a good public sector (read: government) job will ensure black America’s socioeconomic survival. Tell that to former presidential candidate Herman Cain, who had a fabulously successful career in corporate America — up to and including becoming president and CEO (and later part-owner) of Godfather’s Pizza.
Forget the “fiscal cliff.” Black America already plunged over the cliff of political skullduggery, propelled by intellectual buffoonery. It’s on a collision course with economic calamity by reelecting an inexperienced community activist to the White House.
That dinosaurs of the modern-day civil rights establishment such as Al Sharpton are still found relevant by the mainstream media only adds urgency to the need for those of us who care about our country to strap on the parachutes of our own economic security plans and pull the chord.
It’s going to be a crash landing before Obama’s second term is over.
Darryn “Dutch” Martin, a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network, is a former member of the American diplomatic corps.