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What African Americans Need to Know About the Budget and Deficit Wars

For many African Americans, the raging battle over the budget and the deficit occurring inside the beltway between Capitol Hill and Pennsylvania Avenue is as distant as the Orion nebula and often reduced to us versus them. Either it is what Obama says versus what the Republicans say, meaning that if Obama and the Democrats say it must be good and that if the Republicans say it, it must be bad.

Frankly, both positions are absurd and miss the major economic concern of the populous, which is job creation. There are fungible differences between the two approaches, for both promulgate facile arguments to support their positions. Namely, that focusing on deficit reduction does nothing to address job creation. The deficit is a political football that should be the least of our worries if maintaining the American dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a valued idea.

Neither the Obama nor Ryan plan is designed to address the poor, or the economic maladies impacting the African American community ranging from education to wealth development. Neither Obama’s nor Ryan’s approach address the declining value of the dollar.

Obama’s plan to abrogate the Bush Tax cuts for the nation’s top 2 percent of taxpayers will not come close to solving the deficit problem, nor will Ryan’s approach to give tax breaks to the rich by cutting programs for the poor. Again, neither approach will solve the problems of inflation in gas and food prices, wage stagnation for those who have jobs or create jobs for the masses, who tend to overwhelmingly be African Americans.

Both plans avoid the cyclic nature of recessions, which occur nearly every six years and tend to have a cumulative effect on African American households, many of which have a single wage owner and are more than likely undereducated. –torrance t. stephens, ph.d.