With unemployment among blacks topping 15 percent nationally and 20 percent in several states, the N.A.A.C.P. is reportedly ready to put pressure on President Obama to do more to create jobs.
The N.A.A.C.P. plans to join the A.F.L.-C.I.O. along with the National Council of La Raza to make the case that the president’s $787 billion stimulus program has not been effective enough in dealing with unemployment.
Just yesterday ABC News reported that the Obama administration slashed 60,000 jobs from its most recent report on the program because outlets submitted “unrealistic data.” Its effectiveness in creating private sector jobs overall has been questioned as well. There’s also debate over how many Americans may owe the IRS in their 2010 tax returns over a discrepancy in how many taxes were withheld from paychecks as a result of a credit imposed from stimulus legislation.
All of this has spurred the aforementioned groups to call for an increase in spending on schools and roads, in addition to billions of dollars in fiscal relief to state and local governments to forestall more layoffs and a direct government jobs program, “especially in distressed communities facing severe unemployment.”
Hilary O. Shelton, the N.A.A.C.P.’s senior vice president for advocacy and policy, told the New York Times:
“It’s time for us to really stoke this issue up. We’re not so much trying to convince him to do something he doesn’t want to do, but urging him to move forward on an issue we have agreement on.”
The groups also call for tax credits and loans to small and medium businesses to spur private-sector job growth.
Federal Reserve Chairman and killjoy Ben Bernanke gave a speech yesterday warning of a weak recovery with high unemployment for the foreseeable future. Bernanke blamed banks for slowing the recovery and keeping unemployment high by not opening lines of credit despite receiving hundreds of billions in taxpayer bailouts to open lines of credit.
How does corporate America respond? Executives at both GE and Bank of America Merrill Lynch both said yesterday that they expect Congress to approve a second economic-stimulus package to help what would otherwise be a slow economic recovery. So the answer to unemployment is déjà vu?