Just when it seemed that all of Washington had lost its values and its connection with the American people, a bolt of hope has arrived. It is the People’s Budget put forward by the co-chairs of the 80-member Congressional Progressive Caucus. Their plan is humane, responsible, and most of all sensible, reflecting the true values of the American people and the real needs of the floundering economy. Unlike Paul Ryan’s almost absurdly vicious attack on the poor and working class, the People’s Budget would close the deficit by raising taxes on the rich, taming health care costs (including a public option), and ending the military spending on wars and wasteful weapons systems.
More than 200,000 jobs were created last month, 216,000 to be exact. Coming after the February lift of more than 200,000 jobs, there are those who are saying that economic recovery is around the corner. I don’t know what corner they are standing on, but the African American corner took a hit in March, and the Black unemployment rate rose from 15.3 to 15.5 percent. No other racial/ethnic group saw unemployment rates rise. Some will say the slight increase is statistically insignificant. Try telling that to the African Americans who don’t have jobs, or to those who are not in the labor force. Indeed, while the number of Whites who had dropped out of the labor force went down, the number of African Americans out of the labor force went up.
The government is on the brink of closing down, with obstructionist Tea Party members determined to shrink the size of government no matter what. They have focused on government workers, but too many of these workers are African American, Latino, and female. Yes, an attack on government workers is an attack on equality, because those who work for governments are more likely to find a fair deal, have a good job, and be paid equitably. The government is on the brink of closing down, but on their way to down time, they have not found time to introduce one piece of legislation that speaks to job creation. Given the numbers that we see this month, this really means they have been unwilling and unable to deal with the jobs crisis in the African American community, as the situation in other communities is getting better.