The Cowardly Ryan Has No Heart

Another example of why Republicans can’t maintain respectability came this past week when Paul Ryan, chair of the House Budget Committee, walked back his statements regarding the culture of poverty that exists in the inner city.

Speaking on Bill Bennett’s show “Morning in America,” Ryan said– among other things- that there is a “tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value of work.”

The Congressional Black Caucus claims Ryan’s statement was “highly offensive.”  How the truth is offensive is anyone’s guess.  Everyone with eyes can point to any inner city in the country and clearly see the chaos and dysfunction that permeates it.

And black Democrats couldn’t pass up another chance to embarrass themselves and prove yet again, why no one takes blacks who vote Democrat- or black Democrat politicians- seriously.

Barbara Lee (D-CA) called Ryan’s statements a “thinly veiled racist attack” and added, “Let’s be clear, when Mr. Ryan says ‘inner city,’ when he says, ‘culture,’ these are simply code words for what he really means: ‘black.’”

So?

Aside from whites and Latinos who also live in the inner city, whether Ryan meant “black” or not, isn’t important because it isn’t a racial issue.  But the merits of what he said are undeniably true.

More importantly, it’s NO coincidence that these same inner cities, which have been run and ruined by progressive politicians and suffer from a culture of moral, spiritual, and economic poverty, are all under the political leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus. So in essence, Paul Ryan was unintentionally calling the Congressional Black Clowns out on their lack of political leadership and influence upon the districts they represent.  That’s one reason why the CBC is calling Paul Ryan racist.  The CBC wants to deflect attention away from their contributions to this problem, which directly indicts their perpetual failures as political leaders.

But even more troubling is that Ryan- who went through the trouble of drafting a 200-pg report on the federal government’s fifty-year failure on the “War on Poverty,” detailing how welfare programs trap beneficiaries in poverty- is now apologizing for what he said, claiming his statements were “inarticulate.”  Ryan has also agreed to meet with the CBC, which means he’s volunteered to grovel as penance, hoping for absolution.

This is nothing more than another public example of black power (black grievance) leveraged with the manipulation of white guilt.

Sadly, in post-modern America the truth is now referred to as “inarticulate.”  When that truth is spoken, and people are “offended,” it’s apologized for.

With all due respect to Congressman Ryan, his retraction due to the CBC’s campaign of public intimidation shows that he’s a coward and he typifies the essence of today’s Republican party.  It’s one reason why so much effort is made by conservatives to distinguish themselves from Republicans.  Republicans have no courage, vigor, initiative, backbone or testicular fortitude to speak the truth and condemn those who would seek to silence them, regardless of the issue.  By acknowledging the CBC’s foolishness, Ryan gives these benefactors of affirmative action credibility in attributing his statements- and the party he represents- to racism.

Doing this also demonstrates that Ryan and the GOP, still aren’t ready to commence serious outreach to poor and minority communities.

Ryan shouldn’t be apologizing for the truth that data and common sense affirm.  What characterizes the inner cities- rightly called ghettos– is a culture of poverty which unproductive and inefficient welfare programs aid and abet.  This is why everyone who can do so, leaves the inner city as soon as they get the chance.  This should be said over and over and over.  What else do people call high rates of illegitimacy, fatherlessness, abortion, broken families, violent crime, drug and alcohol abuse that isn’t accompanied by any moral stigma, but funded by federal and state governments? It isn’t called the American Dream I can guarantee you that.

No one expects anything more from the CBC than the racial charade we see here; the bar really is that low- completely earned, by the way.  By acknowledging their empty cries of racism, congressman Ryan has allowed the CBC- emblematic of black Democrats and their white counterparts, everywhere- to excuse the inexcusable behaviors that characterize and contribute to the culture of poverty.  This is precisely why alleviating high rates of poverty in America will never happen.  Democrats need poor people as a constituency so they excuse their behaviors and Republicans are afraid of calling Democrats on it.

Paul Ryan should’ve ignored the CBC in the same manner the CBC ignores its constituents.  He also should’ve doubled down on what he said on Bennett’s program, standing firm on the truth.  Instead he gave the CBC unearned credibility and proved once again, that Republican leadership is just as gutless as Democrat leadership.

Is it any wonder why our country continues to proceed in the direction it is?

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Tavis Smiley Is Right

 

Last week, Tavis Smiley garnered attention for what he said on Sean Hannity’s program.  Specifically, Hannity asked Smiley if black Americans were better off after five years of the presidency of Barack Obama.

 

Smiley’s answer- which should have been a shock and surprise to exactly no one was that blacks aren’t better off and that eventually the socio-economic data would demonstrate that blacks will have certainly lost economic ground in all categories when the Obama administration culminates.

 

Again, what he said isn’t shock.  Conservatives- particularly black conservatives have been saying this for years.

 

The so-called shock is that Smiley, a black liberal, broke taboo and said it publicly.  And he said it on FOX News, no less.

 

Since January 2009, blacks have suffered economically- be it consistently high unemployment numbers, the statistical drops in income and wealth, and a drop in homeownership- in comparison to their own numbers prior to Obama’s inauguration and in comparison to their white peers.

 

Look at the unemployment rate which has devastated the economic potential of blacks as the first indicator.  Since Obama was elected, black unemployment has been below thirteen percent only twice- January of ’09 and July ’13. Twice. It’s been at or above fourteen percent, forty times and it’s been at or above sixteen percent, eleven times.

 

Black teens have fared much worse.  During this same period, black teen unemployment has never been below thirty percent. Not once. It has been at or above forty percent, thirty times.

 

That black teen unemployment has maintained such a high number isn’t a bad indicator for black America’s current reality; it is disastrous for the future of black America.  Diminishing the opportunities for black teens to enter the workforce delays their exposure to- and development of- the necessary skill set(s) that create prospects of economic ascendency which comes as a result of increased wages and or promotions into employment accompanied by salaries rather than wages.

 

This situation is compounded because many of these same black teens are subjected to substandard public education (dominated by teachers unions that fund the party that blacks vote overwhelmingly for). Coupling that substandard education with the lack of economic opportunity and prosperity and a (permanent?) underclass is intentionally being created which will be forced to seek financial support and economic stability from government provisions. Or worse, the underclass will seek economic prosperity through the black market and other violent and gang-related activities.

 

But is Obama to blame for this sorry state of affairs?  Yes, he’s partially responsible and as Smiley said, he should be held responsible. He is the president after all.

 

But more important to note and understand is that it isn’t necessarily Obama who’s the problem; it’s the party and the policies of his party that are ultimately to blame.  Whether Obama, Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden is president, these folks are simply emblematic figureheads and are ultimately interchangeable. It’s the economic policies that are the cause of so much economic destruction which is concentrated in black America.

 

This is what Tavis Smiley and his ilk intentionally and continually ignore.

 

Remember what the Congressional Black Caucus acknowledged– those wayward, black sheep who continue to embarrass themselves, Congress and black America?  They see and give lip service to the oppressive economic difficulty that blacks are subjected to.  But for them- and according to their own admission- racial solidarity and party policies are much more important than the economic well-being of their constituents.

According to Sentier Research and reported by the New York times- between June 2009 and June 2012, median annual household income for blacks fell 11.1 percent to $32,498 (from $36,567). The drop for whites was 5.2 percent; for Hispanics it dropped 4.1 percent.

 

According to Census Bureau reports (2010) and reported by CNN Money, whites ($110,729) had twenty-two times more wealth than their black counterparts ($4995).

 

Also, according to the same report, of all the homes who report receiving food stamps, 26.4 percent are black yet blacks are only 13 percent of the total population.

 

And this year, black homeownership has hit an eighteen-year low.

 

With these kinds of stats, it’s no surprise that the black poverty rate now stands at twenty-eight percent compared to just ten percent for whites.

 

Yet, exit polls from both the 2008 and 2012 election saw blacks give Obama and the Democrat party ninety-five and ninety-three percent of their votes, respectively.  In 2008 it was (emotionally) understandable; in 2012 it was neither understandable nor justifiable.

 

Sadly, blacks will continue to give whatever charlatan who receives the Democrat nomination for president in 2016 the majority of their support, continuing the humiliating pattern of reflexively voting against their own self-interest without a moment’s pause.

 

So yes, Tavis Smiley is absolutely correct.  Blacks have been- and will continue to be- worse off under the first black president and the president should be held responsible.

 

But blacks aren’t absolved from their contributions to these problems and should also be held responsible. Blacks actively underwrite their own socio-economic demise, particularly in favor of racial solidarity by continuing to demonstrate political loyalty without demanding anything of substance in return.

 

It’s far past time for blacks to understand that it’s increasingly difficult to generate sympathy for problems they’ve actively helped create.

 

Blacks aren’t victims; they’re co-contributors to their fate- in more ways than they care to admit.

 

For The Congressional Black Caucus, Race Trumps Economic Prosperity

This week, The Hill reported that for many black Americans, racial identification and empathy with the first black president trumps economic concerns.  This unfortunate bit of news- though a shock to absolutely no one- remains troubling, nonetheless.

This “empathetic” response was triggered by president Obama’s so-called impromptu remarks regarding the emotional reaction, mainly from pockets of black America, to the not guilty verdict of the George Zimmerman trial.

The Hill lists several economic indicators such as declining income, declining home ownership and the high unemployment rate to demonstrate just how poorly black Americans have fared under the nation’s first black president.  Yet, for the black political class (as well as black Americans generally), racial identification with the president takes precedence over socio-economic prosperity.

The Hill also notes how black politicians- some being members of the Congressional Black Caucus, are reluctant to criticize the president- constructive or otherwise- for fear of emboldening the political opposition.  Black politicians and black intelligentsia prefer the salve of racial identification to the hard and responsible task of genuine congressional and executive leadership- all at the expense of economic opportunity.

Unfortunately, “black leadership” is just as much a euphemism as “choice” and “equality.” These racial tribal chiefs are again publicly- and foolishly- embracing “race” and passivity regarding Obama’s economic stewardship rather than fighting for improved economic opportunity for their constituents.

It’s not the first time members of the Congressional Black Caucus have chosen the commonality of the president’s color as a priority over increasing economic opportunities for blacks. Last summer, Emanuel Cleaver noted: “With [such high] unemployment, if we had a white president we’d be marching around the White House.” He also said: “The president knows we are going to act in deference to him in a way we wouldn’t to someone white.”

So “racial empathy” means the president’s blackness trumps black unemployment.

For progressive black politicians to be this trivial with regard to the economic plight of so many Americans is disrespectful and shameful.

Since Barack Obama has been president, unemployment rate for blacks has been below thirteen percent only once (Jan. ’09) and has risen above 16 percent, thirteen times.  Furthermore, the unemployment rate for black teens has yet to drop below 30 percent and has risen above 40 percent, twenty-nine times.

The Congressional Black Caucus is obviously not too concerned with the unemployment rates in its representative districts.  But it should be known how their constituents have fared during president Obama’s “recovery.”

Keep in mind that the national unemployment rate is currently 7.6 percent and 13.7 percent for blacks.

– Karen Bass (CA-37) – 11.9%;

– Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) – 11.6%;

– Joyce Beatty (OH-03) – 12.1%;

– Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) – 15.2%;

– Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) – 14.6%;

– Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) – 11.7%;

– Corrine Brown (FL-05) -17.4%;

– Hank Johnson (GA-04) – 15.6%;

– G.K. Butterfield (NC-01) – 15.5%;

– Robin Kelly (IL-02) – 17.9%;

– Andre Carson (IN-07) – 13.9%;

– Barbara Lee (CA-13) -11 %;

– Donna M. Christensen (VI) – no stats given;

– John Lewis (GA-05) – 15.5%;

– Yvette Clarke (NY-09) – 12.7%;

– Gregory W. Meeks (NY-06) – 8.7%;

– William Lacy Clay Jr. (MO-01) -14.7%;

– Gwendolynne Moore (WI-O4) – 14.4%;

– Emanuel Cleaver II (MO-05) – 10.7%;

– Eleanor Holmes-Norton (DC) – 11.4%;

– James E. Clyburn (SC-06) – 16.4%;

– Donald M. Payne Jr. (NJ-10) – 15.7%;

– John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) – 24.7%;

– Charles B. Rangel (NY-13) – 14.9%;

– Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07) – 13.4%;

– Cedric Richmond (LA-02) – 12.5%;

– Danny K. Davis (IL-07) – 16.5%;

– Bobby L. Rush (IL-01) – 16.8%;

– Donna Edwards (MD-04) -9.5%;

– David Scott (GA-13) – 15.1%;

– Keith Ellison (MN-05) – 9.5%;

– Robert C. Scott (VA-03) – 13.1%;

– Chaka Fattah (PA-02) – 16%;

– Terri Sewell (AL-07)-16.1%;

– Marcia L. Fudge, Chairwoman of the CBC, (OH-11) – 17.7%;

– Bennie Thompson (MS-02) – 14.4%;

– Al Green (TX-09) – 10.7%;

– Marc Veasey (TX-33) – 13.3%;

– Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20) -17.1%;

– Maxine Waters (CA-43) -11.3%;

– Steven Horsford (NV-04) – 12.9%;

– Melvin L. Watt (NC-12) – 15.3%;

– Frederica Wilson (FL-24) – 16.0%.

The average unemployment rate of the districts represented by the CBC is 13.8 percent.

Members of CBC currently represent many of the districts that are suffering the highest unemployment rates in the country.  Yet these so-called leaders choose to embrace racial empathy and racial solidarity rather than being actual leaders who should be pressuring the president to implement policies or reduce regulations that could diminish the absurd levels of unemployment for their constituents.

The CBC has become a national embarrassment- not only to their constituents, but to the congressional body itself.

And that’s saying something.

Black Americans who continue to elect political charlatans like these are unfortunately complicit in their own socio-economic asphyxiation.

With loyalty like this one can understand why the Democrat party takes blacks (elected and unelected alike) for granted and why the GOP ignores them completely.

It’s far past time- in a twenty-first century America which will soon celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s unforgettable “I Have a Dream” speech- that blacks rethink their reflexive and emotional embrace of race and “racial empathy.”

Refusal to do so in favor of the continued idolization and commodification of race will inevitably facilitate black America into a moral and political irrelevancy.

And the sad fact is that the black Americans who do so will have no one to blame but themselves.