A Black Jobs Bill?

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


Unveiled today, the new jobs bill is an $85 billion plan aimed at addressing today’s Depression-era unemployment rate by extending jobless benefits and providing health care coverage to the unemployed, which is great. My post on Tuesday listed extending benefits as a measure that could help African-Americans weather the “ethnic recession.” But today the New York Times reported that young unemployed African-Americans is not a demographic on Obama’s radar. He’s taken a post-racial era stance with this issue, which would be great if race did not matter. But as New Deal 2.0 blogger Barbara Arnwine posits, a race-neutral approach to unemployment fails to address the blaring job disparities between black people and white folks in America.  And the Congressional Quarterly‘s Clea Benson offers this solution: national policy reforms that specifically target unemployment among particular groups. Their arguments are buttressed by the fact that “the jobless rate for black Americans has remained much higher than that of whites through good times and bad since at least the 1960s.” And at the start of the recession more than a year and a half ago, the unemployment rate for black men was about the same level as the overall national jobless rate is now.

Algernon Austin, a sociologist at the Economic Policy Institute, told CQ, “We do need to get the whole economy working. But if a 10 percent unemployment rate for black men is what we have in the good times, that’s not good enough. The only way we’re going to get this number to approach or equal the 4 percent for white men is by crafting policies that are explicitly aimed at getting that number down to 4 percent.”

Follow Titania Kumeh on Twitter.

 

 

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate