President Barack Obama will make his 2013 State of the Union address to America tonight. We know he will touch on immigration reform, gun violence and maybe even LGBT rights, but what will he say to African Americans, specifically? He will discuss enhancing U.S. manufacturing but will not mention that jobs will not be coming back or that China has surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest trading nation. And he will not address or explain why his economic policies have not helped African Americans.
The president will not say that the economy is contracting again and that the fiscal cliff deal he asked for hurts blacks and helps wealthy corporations. Reality suggests that blacks and other or minorities in America have already fallen off the cliff without a concern from politicians or the mainstream media.
Although the House voted to approve the tax deal by a margin of 257-167, the only winners were big corporate interests and the wealthy. Sure there is a tax clause for individuals making $400,000 annually but there is nothing for the middle class and low-wage earners who typically comprise the underclass — blacks and other minorities. According to the 154 page bill that ( a bill members didn’t read since they only received it three minutes before voting on it), what is clear is that the president’s economic policies thus far have hurt minorities in the middle and under classes more than the wealthy. Although Obama proclaims to want to tax the rich, the bill he requested and signed continues the typical patterns of corporate welfare. Ending the payroll tax holiday will be devastating on the black community while NASCAR will receive a $78 million tax break. The bill also provides tax breaks of $59 million to producers of algae-based fuels, $222 million for businesses located on Indian reservations, $62 million for a tax credit for businesses in American Samoa, including a Starfish Tuna cannery, and $222 million for a rum tax rebate for distilleries in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Even Hollywood studios got a tax break by being allowed to write off the first $15 million of their production costs, although profits though domestic ticket sales hit a record $10.8 billion in 2012. While the middle class continues to suffer, the only lesson from the contrived fiscal cliff debate one can learn is that the people who are in a position to spend millions on lobbyists and can give millions more to the campaigns of lawmakers
Yes, although both Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama indicated the deal would rein in total debt that now tops $16 trillion, the bill passed by the U.S. Senate to avoid the cliff’s automatic steep tax hikes and across-the-board spending cuts, adds nearly $4 trillion to federal deficits over a decade. That’s correct, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the last-minute deal cuts only $15 billion in spending while increasing tax revenues by $620 billion.
I expect President Obama to bring the house down in his address, and that it will reinforce his ability to walk on water to the majority of African Americans and likewise, I expect it will be short on substance and solutions that will service the needs of the black community.
So unlike his inaugural address, the president’s State of the Union speech will talk about some new initiatives on manufacturing, education, clean energy and infrastructure. Moreover, it will have a heavy economic focus. The problem is that it will continue to serve those who are not hurting as much economically. He will also talk about the “sequester” — scheduled to go into effect on March 1, but he won’t state how it will impact the most vulnerable in America if it takes effect. In essence, if you are expecting to hear about what he can do specifically for African Americans — don’t hold your breath.