Congratulations on making history as the first African-American President of the United States of America! I admire you for your courage, passion, and tenacity. Additionally, you have proven that you are an effective leader because you assumed leadership when our country was on the brink of collapse. However, with these achievements, there is also some not so good news.
Mr. President, we have seen billions of dollars wasted on useless ‘future’ projects like green energy that will not result in jobs for years. If the current administration and Congress wanted to pass an unread ‘emergency’ stimulus bill it should have focused on cutting the unemployment rate NOW. Mr. President, may I suggest you table the “green stuff” and focus on our nation’s most pressing challenge. UNEMPLOYMENT!
According to the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the differences in unemployment rates are even more dramatic when broken down by race and age. For example, white men’s unemployment rate in June was 9.5%, while black men’s was 17.8%. For white women it was 8%, and for black women, 13.1%. Additionally, teens have a harder time during this recession. Here’s a sampling of unemployment rates in June for various groups:
- Black men 20 and older: 16.4%.
- Black women 20 and older: 11.3%.
- White men 20 and older: 9.2%.
- White women 20 and older: 6.8%.
- Black males age 16 to 19: 50%.
- Black females age 16 to 19: 40.6%.
- White males age 16 to 19: 26.5%.
- White females age 16 to 19: 23.5%.
Mr. President, teens get hit because they are less educated and are competing for jobs with older, more experienced workers. However, educational differences do not completely explain the black-white unemployment rate gap. Some studies show that part of the gap is correlated with residential segregation: Blacks, on average, are more likely to live in neighborhoods where there are fewer jobs available.
Mr. President, some suggest President Bush’s and your most recent stimulus package was a red herring. The jobs produced for the most part were those that only lasted as long as the funding was there. Those jobs were like taking antacid; it works for a while and does not solve the root problem. Mr. President, the only way this is going to turn around is to create long term jobs which requires retooling American manufacturing to be a world competitor. We both know this is not a popular option, but, we have to take back jobs outsourced to China, India, and other emerging nations.
In closing, here’s a question I often ponder when I face tough decisions which may help you and your administration. “In light of my past experiences, current circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams – what is the WISE thing to do?”
Pastor Clarence E. Stowers, Jr.
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