More Jobs Needed for Minorities

Courtesy of Taylor Media Services | 11/22/2009, midnight

Labor and Minority Groups Pressure President Obama for Greater Job Creation

A Labor Department report released in early November showed unemployment among African Americans having climbed to a near Great Depression level of 15.7 percent. Meanwhile, the jobless figure for the rest of the nation reached 10.2 percent €" the highest unemployment rate since 1983. It was for those reasons that President Obama came under pressure from some of his friends last week.

The NAACP, the AFL-CIO and the Hispanic rights group La Raza joined forces to pressure the Obama administration to do more to create jobs for a recession-plagued nation. The normally pro-Obama groups made it clear that they felt his $787 billion stimulus had favored big banks and corporations and had not gone far enough to create jobs.They called for significant increases in government spending for schools and roads and billions to provide fiscal relief for financially strapped state and local governments.

In an attempt to avoid appearing to be an Obama critic, the NAACP€s Senior Vice President Hilary O. Shelton said, €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.€

Obama€s stimulus package followed stimulus plans of the past and essentially involved pumping billions of dollars into banks and big corporations with the belief that they would in turn make loans and create jobs so that more Americans would be employed. But thus the classic stimulus approach has not worked. There are also reports that many financial institutions are €sitting on the stimulus dollars€ and failing to make loans as they wait on better economic times.

Meanwhile, the Economic Policy Institute €" a liberal research group €" issued a statement last week saying that despite what it labeled Obama€s €effective and bold€ recovery package, the nation is facing a prolonged period of high unemployment.

Obama has not ruled out a second stimulus package but such a program will face strong opposition from conservatives in Congress who believe government spending is already out of control.

However, conservatives and Republicans have as yet failed to offer any comprehensive alternative to the Obama stimulus. The current recession has gripped the nation since December 2007.