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Guest Columnist - Dr. Barbara A. Reynolds

Dr. Barbara A. Reynolds | 8/10/2011, 8:09 a.m.
Dr. Barbara A. Reynolds

Activists Must Turn the Spotlight

When people want a Wyatt Earp to ride into town with guns blazing to defend the townspeople and a horde of Danny Doolittles show up there is sure to be dismay in Dodge City. Nevertheless when the smoke clears and the townsfolk finally realize if they organize a tough take- no prisoners- posse of their own, they can still win the war, then all hope is not lost.

The GOP and their nasty sidekicks, the Tea Party, succeeded in manufacturing a crisis over the federal debt ceiling because they have only one game plan: to destroy President Barack Obama and his base of working class and middle class Americans by any means necessary. If that means shutting down the government, pushing the nation into default, wrecking the economy, the means justify their end.

Their plot required refusing a vote to raise the debt ceiling without forcing a deal from the Democrats to exclude increases in revenues. That position protected the rich, but if left unchallenged would have pushed the country into default, thus creating havoc when certain government checks could not be issued, and interest rates hiked. And all that misery would be blamed on the President in an effort to deny him a second term.

The major problem is that in the first phase of the budget fight to cut $917 billion over the next decade not one red cent comes from the millionaires, the billionaires, and the corporate welfare bunch. This shameful exercise must be axed. Not one red cent should come from those the GOP has labeled expendable or collateral damage without severe retaliation from the streets to the ballot boxes.

The rest of the year cannot be spent with our noses buried in spreadsheets, numbers and arithmetic. The spotlight must be on people. What does it mean to send children to failing schools in Washington, D.C., where politicians and civil rights leaders would not dare to send their own children, for veterans to return from Iraq to homeless shelters and for families to cope with losing their homes?

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies recently held a meeting where it was stressed that the median wealth of a white family is now 20 times that of a black family." Between 2005 and 2009, the median net worth of black families fell to $5,677 compared to $113,149 for white households. "Equally tragic is the median wealth of single black women has dropped to $100 compared to $41,000 for single white women, according to Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeaver, executive director of the National Council of Negro Women.

According to White House backgrounders, the Democrats protected most social and education programs, including Pell grants, funding for black colleges, Social Security and Medicare.

Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett in an interview with Essence Magazine said a trigger has been inserted in the legislative package that specifically protects such programs as Medicaid, food stamps, Social Security, Medicare, the earned income tax credit.

"This part will be in the hands of a 12 person bi-partisan super-committee whose task it is to come up with $1.5 trillion more in cuts from the domestic and the defense side by November 2011. If they do not come up with the cuts then a trigger will be invoked to cut costs across the board."