I don’t have my finger on the pulse of black America, and I don’t pretend to understand the emotional and symbolic value of a black President to the African-American community.
But I do know that the big-government policies of the Obama Administration have not been good news for blacks. Here’s an excerpt from a new Associated Press story about the growing wealth gap between white and black America.
The wealth gaps between whites and minorities have grown to their widest levels in a quarter-century. The recession and uneven recovery have erased decades of minority gains, leaving whites on average with 20 times the net worth of blacks and 18 times that of Hispanics, according to an analysis of new Census data. The analysis shows the racial and ethnic impact of the economic meltdown, which ravaged housing values and sent unemployment soaring.
To be fair, the numbers started turning in the wrong direction under Bush, and Obama is right when he says he inherited a bad situation. On the other hand, Obama has continued the big-government and interventionist policies of his predecessor, so it’s not clear that this is much of an excuse.
The unemployment data also shows bad news for blacks. This chart uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and it shows unemployment among African-Americans has nearly doubled in recent years.
Once again, it’s worth pointing out that the numbers were heading in the wrong direction as Obama took office. But as I note above, I’m not sure that matters since Obama has continued Bush’s approach of higher spending and more intervention. But even if you can’t accept that analysis because you’re a partisan Democrat or Republican, all that really matters is that the black unemployment rate has increased dramatically and is now stubbornly high.
The moral of the story, needless to say, is that free markets and small government are the right policies. That’s the best approach to improve living standards for all Americans.
But lower-income Americans are especially vulnerable to economic fragility, so better economic performance disproportionately helps people on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.