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The story of Tyrone Banks of Memphis exemplified that of many blacks today. As reported in Black Wealth Magazine, Banks was one of many African-Americans who saw his economic prospects brightening. A single father, he worked for FedEx and as a custodian part-time. “He built a handsome brick home and put his eldest daughter through college.” Then the recession rolled in like a dark storm. His mortgage rate shot up and he lost one of his jobs. Now he faces bankruptcy and foreclosure. “Not long ago, Memphis, where a majority of residents are black,” the magazine said, “the city saw a rising black working and middle class. Now rising unemployment and growing foreclosures have combined to destroy black wealth and income[.]”
The second way Obama has hurt his fellow blacks is by dumping billions more dollars in welfare programs which, while helping some in considerable need, at the same time, take away responsibility and initiative from those who have grown dependent on the myriad subsidies. Today, a record one in six Americans is a recipient of federal anti-poverty programs, expanding to meet the needs of recession victims, USA TODAY reported August 30. But also to make them serfs of the Democrat-led governing body.
More than 50 million low-income folks, many of them black, are on Medicaid, a survey by USA TODAY found. That’s up at least 17 percent since Obama’s recession chewed away good times. His fiscal policies are largely to blame for the lingering economic trench. More than 40 million people are on food stamps. Nearly 10 million people get unemployment insurance, nearly four times as many as in 2007. Benefits have been extended eight times beyond the basic 26-week program. So, the long-term unemployed get 99 weeks of jobless benefits, enough to discourage many from going job hunting. More than 4.4 million people are on welfare. Roughly half of them are black. The cost of Medicaid has jumped up 36 percent in the past two years. Jobless benefits have soared from $43 billion to $160 billion. The food stamp bills had risen 80 percent. Welfare is up 24 percent. Conservatives fear the safety net will be difficult to shrink even when the recession ends. Some African-Americans by that time may have lost the will to fend for themselves. To make matters worse, the Heritage Foundation says President Obama‘s FY 2011 budget request would increase welfare spending by $953 billion, 42 percent increase over FY 2008.
The way Obama may hurt blacks the most, however, is by showing his incompetence. Yes, he broke the color barrier by becoming a black President. But Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major baseball because he was such a talented ballplayer. Color didn’t down-grade other blacks with acting talent of Denzel Washington, Will Smith or Morgan Freeman or singers like Aretha Franklin, Beyonce, or Ella Fitzgerald. Or who show the athletic prowess of Hank Aaron, Michael Jackson, or Gale Sayers. Or demonstrate the diplomatic skills of Condoleezza Rice or Colon Powell. These African-Americans have that special, exceptional quality beyond race. Sadly, Obama’s exceptionalism is proving to be superficial at best.
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