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The Great (Black) Depression

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Author 33713
Message Dewan Gibson
I need a big black stimulus. The $15 per week tax cut, courtesy of the
Obama plan, will allow me to introduce diversity into my ramen noodle diet, but will not provide much else. African Americans need just a tad bit more.

The $787 billion stimulus plan fails to sufficiently address two economic
issues crucial to African Americans, unemployment and consumer debt. According to the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank, the 
current unemployment rate among African Americans is 12.6 percent, compared to 6.9 percent among whites. Keep in mind that this rate does not include discouraged workers who have quit searching for employment and part-time workers.

To give you an idea of how staggering the African American unemployment rate is, consider that during the Great Depression unemployment ranged from 10 to 25 percent. So in essence, for many, the bread lines of the 1930's have been replaced with the depleted food banks of today.While the stimulus plan does address creating jobs through green initiatives and construction projects, the caveat is that Obama states the plan "will create or save 3.5 million jobs."-  Save what? President Obama seems to be an amazing man, but I do not believe he can save something that is already gone.

Also, there has been no mention of affirmative action in what seems like years. Do you really believe employers are going to be in a rush to hire black applicants? Not unless the organizations are members of the NBA or NFL.Consumer debt is the second crucial economic issue among African Americans. According to Demos, a non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization, 84 percent of African American carry credit card debt compared to 54 percent of whites, numbers that have likely increased since the depression started. Although some do recklessly use credit cards (I admit I almost charged an outfit for NBA All-STAR Weekend and I wasn't even in Phoenix), many only use credit cards to feed their families and make ends meet.A congressional task force or some other important sounding group is needed to address African American unemployment and consumer debt. Perhaps other back leaders such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton can work on this issue; they always seem to stay employed.

This group could also advocate for bankruptcy reform as part of the economic stimulus plan. The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005, which created stricter filing rules for consumers, has left many carrying a lifetime of debt. New legislation should be passed to remove the current income restrictions on Chapter 11 bankruptcies and reduce the seven-year period that a bankruptcy remains on a consumer credit report. If Trump Resorts can file for bankruptcy three times and the very companies that collect consumer credit card debt can accept bailout assistance, the average person middle-income worker should be able to file from bankruptcy and recover their credit within three years.I understand that our president is just starting his job, but like everyone else fortunate enough to get a new gig his six month evaluation is coming soon.

The Great (Black) Depression is here.


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Dewan W. Gibson is the author of the humorous relationship book entitled "The Imperfect Enjoyment" and is an adjunct faculty member at San Diego State University. He can be reached on his website at
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