A Key Voting Issue – The Black American Economy Needs a Real Agenda Now

As our regular readers know by now, we’ve been keen on using the 2020 Elections as a starting point for a more focused, tangible voting strategy instead of blind, emotional voting our community has been doing for many decades. The simple voting strategy “to get rid of the racist” has been extremely damaging and very counterproductive. As a result, we have not made ANY substantive progress, economically or politically. We might feel good about our emotional voting strategy, but the State of the Black Union is very negative as a result.

Time for a change, and that change has to be real, and quick!

One tangible way to switch up our voting strategy is to identify the problems in a list, and link one or more potential solutions to each one. There are plans along these lines floating in our community right now, most notably Ice Cube’s Contract With Black America, a framework from the ADOS community, and several other notable approaches. In fact, we all should contribute some ideas. It should not fall on the shoulders of one person or one group. We have contributed ideas as well.

One key priority problem we want to focus on in this article is the income and net worth inequality that has kept us as a permanent underclass in America. I call this a top priority because most of our other problems are rooted in this big elephant in the room. So it is quite understandable that sistas have unique problems that have to be addressed, as does the Black LGBT community, but I think we can all agree that this money problem thing is the number one problem holding us back and holding us down into the cellar of American power.

Here are some key findings regarding the financial state of Black America from the following leading source:

Black Enterprise Magazine

BlackDemographics.com

The Urban Institute

The Brookings Institution

Social Security Administration

The State of Working America

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pew Research Center

The Federal Reserve

The US Senate Joint Economic Committee

The US Census

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition

Center for American Progress

Wall Street Journal

Forbes (here and here)

Financial Times

Money Magazine

CNBC

The Economist

Washington Post

Financial Samurai

Visual Capitalist

Talent Innovation

We won’t cover the entire list of sources in detail, so feel free to visit them yourself. Let’s touch on the highlights of some and then we’ll come back with a summary of next steps.

Black Enterprise Magazine

From its July 2019 article, Black Enterprise touches on the possibility that our wealth can hit zero by 2053, just 33 years from now. The article also shows that our college students are more vulnerable to the student loan debt bubble than any other group. Nearly 78% of black students borrow money for college, vs almost 58% of whites (which is also not good, meaning that we’re in the worst of the worst situation with this looming debt crisis). This debt alone has made it difficult for brothas and sistas to build wealth at twice the rate the economy is growing.

Since this article was written over a year ago, we have seen the economy actually fall tremendously, dragging every group down with it. Guess which group will fare worse? You already know. This should be our top agenda item.

BlackDemographics.com

The following useful chart from Black Demographics shows that only 7% of us are in the upper middle and upper classes, compared to 16% of all groups. This is based on 2019 US Census data, which means it doesn’t account for the devastation brought by coronavirus and the protests nationwide that have shut down some businesses.

The Urban Institute

This October 2017 article asks the fundamental question: “Why hasn’t wealth inequality improved over the past 50 years? And why, in particular, has the racial wealth gap not closed?” It offers a series of graphics to illustrate how we’re stuck at the bottom in a big way. Here’s just one graphic with explanations along the left side:

The facts don’t lie, people. During the same time period we allowed our voting power to be completely owned without tangibles by one party, our wealth has not grown hardly. And most likely after the devastation of 2020, statisticians will show next year that our wealth has either hit zero (far earlier than the predicted 2053-year milestone) and possibly went below 0. I hope this is not the case. This fact alone should be how we measure our overall progress as a community. Voting just to vote has failed. And we can’t keep blaming “those racists in the Senate who keep blocking us” because after nearly 60 years, that only shows that we need more power representation in the other major party so that they can’t “block” whatever it is we think they’re blocking.

And for those non Blacks who like to blame us in a condescending, patronizing way, sit down and get schooled on the dark side of American history you either failed at, or failed to learn on your own. Long story short, the US government, back in the 1860s, recognized that a great wrong was done to our people, and “promised” to financially restore us, which is why they created the Freedmen’s Bureau. It looked promising, but not unexpectedly, the officials overseeing reparations, who our ancestors trusted at the time, deliberately sabotaged the effort by ensuring it was staffed by either incompetent white officials, or those who secretly sabotaged it. To make matters worse, the party our ancestors trusted back then deliberately gave power back to southern plantation owners, who in turn, worked with the KKK to establish a system of oppression that stole what little property many of us gained, as well as put us back in de facto slavery through various legal loopholes and schemes we now know as Jim Crow.

The long arm of Jim Crow stretched from slavery days all the way till the 1960s.

So to those dummies who keep saying “slavery was a long time ago, get over it and desire to succeed,” you fail to comprehend this extreme, devastating, destructive policy. What happened in the 1921 Black Wall Street Tulsa case, where the state government “promised” reparations but deliberately made sure the clock ran out via the statute of limitations, is a perfect example of what ALL of us have had to endure. We never got financially restored, and when some of us were able to overcome these great obstacles in the late 1870s through the early 1920s, here came both the government and private corporate interests masquerading as the KKK to do many acts of ethnic cleansing on our forefathers that forced them to flee their properties or get killed. The bloody ethnic cleansing terrorist acts of 1919 are a perfect examples of that.

Instead of pointing the finger at us, go learn this real history of America first, then come up with solutions to rectify this that are tangible, not superficial.

The Brookings Institution

This Feb 2020 article points out a key fact we should all pause and reflect on: The average net worth of white families is $171,000, while the same for the average black family is only $17,150 as of 2016. Both numbers are not good, given the extreme net worth of the top 1%, but clearly, there’s no way an honest person of any race can look at this massive disparity and lazily explain it away as “blacks should just work harder and stop doing this or that with their money.” C’mon, don’t be so lazy and uninformed! This massive disparity clearly proves what I just pointed out: That a systemic effort has been underway to keep us in the permanent underclass of American society, a phenomenon that has been going on worldwide by people of darker skin color. If you’re dumb enough to think that skin color has a tangible, scientific correlation to this kind of disparity, then you’re hopeless, and there’s no need in wasting time trying to reason with you. You’re dismissed while I continue an intelligent conversation with those of reason and intellect.

This article goes on to summarize what I’ve been saying on this platform for many years:

Efforts by Black Americans to build wealth can be traced back throughout American history. But these efforts have been impeded in a host of ways, beginning with 246 years of chattel slavery and followed by Congressional mismanagement of the Freedman’s Savings Bank (which left 61,144 depositors with losses of nearly $3 million in 1874), the violent massacre decimating Tulsa’s Greenwood District in 1921 (a population of 10,000 that thrived as the epicenter of African American business and culture, commonly referred to as “Black Wall Street”), and discriminatory policies throughout the 20th century including the Jim Crow Era’s “Black Codes” strictly limiting opportunity in many southern states, the GI bill, the New Deal’s Fair Labor Standards Act’s exemption of domestic agricultural and service occupations, and redlining. Wealth was taken from these communities before it had the opportunity to grow.

Well said. Any questions? If any group, regardless of race, has one of the biggest beasts in history purposely sitting on their backs so that they stay in the underclass, they would have the same outcome that our community is suffering from. This paragraph should be the main talking point in the Black America 2.0 agenda. Nothing else matters as much. Sure, we have subgroups with needs, but we ALL have this summary in common. All Black subgroups should rally and unite around this one agenda item alone, and put pressure on EVERY party to resolve this ridiculous financial terrorism.

Social Security Administration

This Social Security bulletin from way back in 2001-2002 points out that since our community has the least amount of disposable income, we don’t have the same appetite to invest in riskier stocks and similar higher yielding financial assets. This should be common sense. In other words, brothas and sistas have the same risk averse nature as retired senior citizens living on fixed incomes. Wealth in America and around the world is, in part, based on using disposable income to invest in growth opportunities. Because or community has been purposely held back financially, compounded by the fact we have to alleviate that same financial terrorism for our family members who are also struggling with little or no net worth, we simply cannot afford to invest aggressively.

The State of Working America

Keeping with tracing the devastation of the financial terrorism visited on us by both the lack of slavery reparations plus the long arm of Jim Crow, this State of Working America article highlights a few critical measures that show the lingering damage:

  1. The homeownership rate for black households was 44.9 percent in 2011, lagging far behind the homeownership rate for whites (73.8 percent). Since fewer than half of black households own homes, this means that for the median (typical) black household, there is zero wealth from home equity. The median black household also owns no stock.
  2. The Great Recession wreaked havoc on household incomes for blacks. From 2007–2010, the median black household’s income fell 10.1 percent, compared to 5.4 percent for white households.
  3. In 2011, 36 percent of blacks, including 38.1 percent of black women, were employed in low-wage jobs (earning poverty-level wages or less). Among the white labor force, 23.4 percent were employed in low-wage jobs.

For those who still love the Obama administration and claim he did do good things for us, where’s the tangible proof? These facts don’t lie. No offense to Obama, but once again, our blind loyalty to one party is simply not working. Stop being blind and naïve and wake up. These weapons of mass financial disaster have to be dealt with at once. No more hoping that some Democratic knight on a shining white horse will save us some day. Neither party has the answer, partly because we have allowed our voice to be dominated by one party, resulting in the other one ignoring us. American politics is like a double-barreled shotgun: you put TWO bullets in it, not ONE! All other groups load their shotguns with two, but oh no, not us. We only use one and expect that to hit the target.

Wake up, Black America! When we deal with American politicians at the top, we’re dealing with ruthless ones who have no problem mass murdering hundreds of thousands of children in the name of “spreading democracy.” Do you really think a lawless, immoral group of power hungry, greedy people will somehow have a change of heart and help us without ruthless counter pressure? You better recognize the game before you get dealt with by it.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Here we go with some fresh October 2020 stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the third quarter of this year (July, August, September), the median weekly earnings for all fulltime workers was almost $1,000. How much did you make this week? The actual median weekly earnings for us was $813, compared to $1,008 for whites, which is almost $200 more per week. Both numbers are not great since wage slaves of all races don’t make much, but once again, this is more evidence of our permanent underclass status. This should be your voting agenda. We need a clear roadmap for improving this, not emotional votes for vague partisan goals that leave us out every election cycle.

Pew Research Center

Here’s an interesting quote from this Pew Research assessment in June 2016:

Analyses of federal government data by the Pew Research Center find that blacks on average are at least twice as likely as whites to be poor or to be unemployed. Households headed by a black person earn on average little more than half of what the average white households earns. And in terms of their median net worth, white households are about 13 times as wealthy as black households – a gap that has grown wider since the Great Recession.

Notice that last sentence. Recall that the Great Recession happened in 2008-9, during Obama’s administration. If Trump were the president back then, you know good and dog gone well most of us would have blamed him for this. But because it was Obama, some would argue, “it’s the racist Republican senators who held Obama’s policies up.”

Ummm, nice try, but no.

Recall that the same “helpless” Obama had no problem giving tens of billions to Israeli citizens. Did the “racist Republicans” hold him up on that? Of course not. Obama signed off on the Arab Uprising of 2011 that killed possibly millions over several years. Did the racists stop him, despite their criticisms of Hillary Clinton in Libya? The Republicans fought Obama on his Middle East policy, but Obama pushed it through anyway. And surely, those “racist” Republican Senators fought Obama tooth and nail on gay marriage, with a conservative Supreme Court, but did that stop Obama? You know the answer.

Stop blindly giving the Democrats silly excuses and put their feet to the fire. Again, as I’ve said in other platforms, this is not a call to leave the party completely. We need SOME of us to join other parties. That way, no matter which party takes over, we have our agents there to steer and pressure the conversation to address our unique American “Negro” needs (to use the original old school term for us when the US government “promised” reparations and failed to deliver).

The Federal Reserve

No fan of the Federal Reserve as the legacy of that institution has been a big part of why our net worth was repatriated from us to the Big Banks and Wall Street. Having said that, let’s look at an excerpt that shows we’re the permanent underclass, behind all other groups:

In the 2019 survey, White families have the highest level of both median and mean family wealth: $188,200 and $983,400, respectively (Figure 1). Black and Hispanic families have considerably less wealth than White families. Black families’ median and mean wealth is less than 15 percent that of White families, at $24,100 and $142,500, respectively. Hispanic families’ median and mean wealth is $36,100 and $165,500, respectively. Other families—a diverse group that includes those identifying as Asian, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, other race, and all respondents reporting more than one racial identification—have lower wealth than White families but higher wealth than Black and Hispanic families. The same patterns of inequality in the distribution of wealth across all families are also evident within race/ethnicity groups; for each of the four race/ethnicity groups, the mean is substantially higher than the median, reflecting the concentration of wealth at the top of the wealth distribution for each group.

In the middle of all those words, did you see that we are below all other groups, including Hispanics. So not to diss our Latinx friends, but as you can see, we can’t afford to have our leaders specially and solely cater to the needs of Hispanics like they did in the 2019 debates. We are the ones who need help the most. We the people of Black America 2.0 have to hold ALL politicians of ALL parties accountable to come up with specific policies to address this mess.

The US Senate Joint Economic Committee (JEC)

From “The Economic State of Black America in 2020” comes this excerpt that further shows the devastation of the massive financial bomb dropped on us decade after decade by “the system”:

The U.S. economy provides Black Americans with far fewer opportunities for stable, wellpaying employment than their White counterparts. Over the past 50 years, the unemployment rate for Blacks consistently has been approximately twice that of Whites. Although President Trump in his recent State of the Union Address heralded the fact the Black unemployment rate had dropped to 6% in January 2020, it still is almost twice the White unemployment rate of 3.1%.[1]

The US Census

Here’s the latest graphic from the US Census showing the continued legacy of financial oppression we face:

Once again, notice this is during the time we allowed one party to completely own us and pimp slap us. As with any grading system in school where they grade by the curve, the financial policy, if there is one, guiding our people has failed miserably. Time for a complete overhaul. No more excuses. No more emotions. No more blind loyalty. We need raw, ruthless results.

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition

Let’s take a look at the poverty rate, as this article from the NCRC highlights:

According to the U.S. Census, around 21% of African Americans live below the poverty line, compared to an overall poverty rate of 11.8%. Poverty rate disparities are exacerbated when compared across racial lines. Only about 10% of White Americans and Asian Americans live below the poverty line— a poverty rate half that of African Americans. 17.6% of Hispanics live below poverty,[3] while Native Americans have the highest poverty rates, with 25.4% living below the poverty line.[4]

If you ask brothas and sistas what the Democratic party is good for, many will say “fighting poverty.” Well, for a group that has been the most loyal to one party, are there any facts that can contradict this one? Again, not picking on one party, but criticizing that we allow one party to own us and tell us what we want to hear without any facts to back it up. That hardcore, rough truth is that our emotional, blind loyalty approach has failed miserably. The numbers don’t lie. If the Democratic party were a student, and you were the professor, would you pass that student if they fail so miserably? And if they sit in class and ignore you, watching the clock until they can go to their favorite class, wouldn’t you be ticked off at their behavior? Well, get ticked off, brothas and sistas, cuz we need better.

What’s Next?

Feel free to read the rest of the links provide earlier in this article. What we need now is to look at the facts, not emotions. No more blind loyalty as that has provably failed over the past 6 decades. No other group but us is owned by one party, yet all these other groups are doing better than we are as this article just proved with facts (not emotions). The American economy is now flatlining, and that means that we will be the first to suffer the financial fallout, which will show up in the economic data starting around Spring 2021.

We can’t wait till after this election to get the parties to listen to us. Let this vote shout out that we will demand change, and won’t be forced to the 2020 version of the back of the bus that we used to have to do back in the 1950s. In fact, let’s shoot for VIP seating in the bus, and even learn to drive the dam bus, upgrading it to a limo. Spread out and join more than one party. You can still vote for other parties if you diversify your vote, so don’t let that scare you (and don’t let Black America 1.0 hired political bullies scare you back into the failed plantation). We deserve better, and if we put our mind to it and throw out negative thinking, this can and will happen. Think David and Goliath.

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