Politics & Policy

Jobs in Black and White

W-nomics is good for African Americans, too.

By Jerry Bowyer

This is one of those cases where the received wisdom is tragically at odds with the economic reality. The current black unemployment rate is at its lowest point since the recession year of 2001. Black unemployment is also lower than the average for the Clinton years. It is lower than the average of the past fifteen years. It’s also considerably lower than the thirty-year average, which is about as far back as this particular statistic goes.

Some on the left like to focus not on economic performance itself — which shows clearly that the percentage of black Americans working today is higher than in the recent and not-so-recent past — but on the “gaps” between the various races and classes. BuzzCharts doesn’t encourage this kind of thinking. Instead, we believe that if one group’s income doubles and another group’s income triples, that this is good news for both groups. Nevertheless, equality hawks will be pleased (one would hope) to learn that the current gap between black and white unemployment is also lower than the average under President Clinton, and much lower than the thirty-year average.

Today, both black and white unemployment rates stand at relative low points historically, especially if you exclude the artificial and unsustainable stock market bubble that marked Clinton’s final years in office. Black and white unemployment rates, while not equal, are closer to equal than historical averages.

BuzzCharts believes that African-American citizens tend to be closer to the Republican party on moral and cultural issues, but that they have been persuaded that Republican economics are detrimental to their interests. But if a truer picture of Bush’s economic performance becomes widely known, it could severely threaten the New Deal coalition. In particular, if black voters come to understand just how unfairly the current structure of Social Security treats them, and just how much better the president’s plan would be for them, then it could be game over for the Democrats.

– Jerry Bowyer is the author of The Bush Boom and an economic advisor to Blue Vase Capital Management. He can be reached through www.BowyerMedia.com.


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