Blog Posts Related to the African American Community
- Posted byon December 15, 2011 at 4:15 PM EDT
Four years ago, President Obama spent the day with Pauline Beck, a home health care worker. He followed her throughout her day -- as she got up at 5:00 in the morning to care for an 86-year-old amputee. He saw first-hand the demands of her work.
Their business is a growing industry -- one of the fastest in America. As the population of this country gets older, more Americans are turning to people like Pauline Beck to help make sure they have the care they need. And as the President said this morning, "As the homecare business has changed over the years, the law hasn’t changed to keep up." In the eyes of the law, homecare workers fall into the same category as a teenaged babysitter.
So today, the President did something to help homecare workers like Pauline Beck. He announced his support of a law to extend overtime pay protections and a guaranteed minimum wage to those who do this work:
We are going to make sure that over a million men and women in one of the fastest-growing professions in the country don’t slip through the cracks. We’re going to make sure that companies who do right by their workers aren’t undercut by companies who don’t. We’re going to do what’s fair, and we’re going to do what’s right.
Watch President Obama's full remarks here.
- Posted byon December 14, 2011 at 10:01 AM EDT
In this new White House White Board, Brian Deese, the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, explains how President Obama's payroll tax cut helps families, businesses, and the economy -- and why it's so important to extend that tax cut for 2012.
Watch the White House White Board video here.
- Posted byon December 13, 2011 at 1:29 PM EDT
On Friday, December 9th, the White House honored twelve local leaders as White House Champions of Change in the effort to recruit and retain girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Among those who were honored as Champions of Change there are four remarkable African American women who are all active in the realm of academia, the community, public and private sectors. Earlier today these leaders, Bianca Bailey, Angela Byars Winston, Avis Yates Rivers, and Tamara Brown each discussed creative ways to inspire and encourage young and adult women on the careers and opportunities that are prevalent and available in the fields of science and technology. Each come from different stories and backgrounds; from currently attending college, work as a psychologist, CEO of a technology firm, and a founder of a local technology awareness program, all share a common thread in their passion to promote the sciences and progress for all women.
Many across the Washington area have been diligent in heeding the call to service and have dedicated their careers, time, and resources to ensuring women and girls are participating in the STEM fields. Of the honorees, the four African American women all have different backgrounds and have had the opportunity to reach out to underserved populations. Each have taken great strides to reduce the barriers that drive many girls and women to turn away from high-paying, highly rewarding careers as the Nation’s top innovators. They are each great examples of ordinary Americans taking action to encourage young girls and women to pursue careers in fields that have historically been occupied mostly by men. President Obama has urged every one of us to do our part to get America back on track and these women are outstanding examples of individuals helping to make changes in their community.
During the Champions of Change event, each shared their unique story and offered exceptional ideas for engaging women on being enthusiastic about careers in the STEM fields. They exemplify how so many Americans across the country are working individually and collectively to improve the disparities that persist within their communities. For many, simply having the dialogue will help improve the knowledge and understanding, and potentially open the window for consideration in these fields. Using these four African American women as examples, we can all do our part and support the promotion of young girls and women across America in the STEM fields and help to produce the Nation’s next top innovators.
- Posted byon December 9, 2011 at 2:38 PM EDT
On November 18, I participated in the inaugural event for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies’ launch of its Institute on Civic Engagement and Governance. I had the opportunity to participate on a plenary panel to discuss the challenges and effects of inequality on public policy with Professor William Darity, from Duke University. I reflected on President Obama’s unique record in handling record levels of income inequality.
Data from 2010 on income and poverty from the US Census Bureau highlights that the bottom 20 percent of households in America earn only 3.3 percent of total income in the US. The next quintile, the lower-middle income, earns 8.5 percent of the total, and the middle quintile, the mathematical middle-class, earns 14.6 percent. This means that the poor, and the middle class and lower-middle class earn a combined 26.4 percent of US income. That is, the bottom six-in-ten of America gets less than three-in-ten of the income. This results in a disadvantage for the bottom sixty percent and also develops an economic minority.
It is a challenge to structure policy that addresses the loss of income that Americans have sustained because of foreclosures and home losses, and pension and retirement fund losses that reflects the political majority, not the economic majority. Yet, by balancing tax cuts with income supports, the American Recovery and Revitalization Act that President Obama put in place was very successful in getting the benefits to follow the American people, instead of following dollars. In April 2010 in the President’s Council of Economic Advisor’s Third Quarterly Report on ARRA, they were able to show that between the Making Work Pay tax credit, changes in unemployment insurance, food assistance and additional help to senior citizens, that the poorest 20 percent of American families got 12.7 percent of the benefits, and the next poorest 20 percent, those with lower-middle income, got 18.7 percent of the benefits.
Unemployment rates are unacceptably high and the distribution of unemployment levels is unequal. Some communities have much higher unemployment rates than others. For instance, there have been record level highs in unemployment for African Americans and minorities. Some people will get jobs quickly as aggregate demand is restored, and companies look to hire back to their previous employment levels. But, others will be missed. So, the AJA balances efforts at cutting taxes and extending unemployment insurance benefits that will help accelerate the restoration of aggregate demand with more direct measures to get people back to work.
The AJA proposes to continue our investments in building the American future with targeted infrastructure projects, especially modernizing American schools. The AJA targets a wide range of groups including, public employees, and communities that have high unemployment and high poverty; teachers, low-income workers, minorities and youth. Subsidized employment for these cohorts is cost effective in getting them back on the job.
So, it is very timely that the Joint Center adds to its tools to address America’s problems. And, it is good to know how President Obama’s Administration is carefully balancing its policies. Now is the time we all need to work together to pull America together, creating policies that do not just affect a few, but carefully designed to reach and benefit all Americans.
- Posted byon December 5, 2011 at 6:22 PM EDT
This afternoon, President Obama went to the briefing room to urge Congress to pass tax cuts for the middle class before they go home for the holidays. Immediately following the briefing, the White House launched a countdown clock on WhiteHouse.gov and in the press briefing room, to let people know exactly how much time is left before taxes go up for middle class families unless Congress acts.
It's simple. If lawmakers don't vote to extend the payroll tax cut, taxes for 160 million Americans will go up on January 1st.
President Obama just left the press briefing room at the White House where he called on Congress to extend the tax cut, pay for it responsibly, and expand it so middle class families get a $1,500 break next year.
He told Congress to put country before party and stop wasting time.
Every day, folks are fighting to make ends meet and businesses are working to keep their doors open. The longer Congress waits to extend the payroll tax cut, the more uncertainty it creates for ordinary Americans. So we've put a clock on every page of the White House website, counting down the days, hours, and minutes until taxes for the middle class increase. In the briefing room, where the President just spoke, that same clock is ticking down as well.
And to make sure you have the information you need to know exactly what this means for your family, we've put together a calculator to show how much of your money hangs in the balance.
This calculator illustrates for you what nearly every independent economist has said: letting this tax cut expire will be a blow to the economy. We can’t let that happen. Now is the time to make a real difference in the lives of the people who sent us here.
Check it out and pass it along:
Senior Advisor to the President
- Posted byon November 29, 2011 at 10:55 AM EDT
This Saturday, President Obama took his daughters to a local bookstore to participate in Small Business Saturday. SBA Administrator Karen Mills went to Boston for the grand opening of a small business called Minerva’s Owl, and many others in the Cabinet went to small businesses in their home cities and towns. I had the pleasure of visiting a number of small businesses in the Adams Morgan neighborhood in here in Washington, DC, where I live. Adams Morgan is a vibrant neighborhood with over 250 small businesses, from restaurants and eateries, to booksellers and vintage fashion stores.
We all saw the news reports of crowds lining up late at night to shop on Friday. Black Friday sales can be great for saving money, but small businesses are where you go for individualized service and unique, handpicked, Made-in-America products. That’s why Americans visited small businesses on Saturday—for the personal touches and quality products that you can’t find anywhere else.
Your dollar goes a long way when you shop at a small business. That money goes right back into the local economy. And that’s important, because half of working Americans either own or work for a small business, and small businesses create two out of every three new jobs. The SBA is working hard to make sure even more small businesses can keep growing. We had an all-time record for SBA loans this year, with over $30 billion in lending supportthat helped about 60,000 small businesses buy a new building, get more equipment, or hire more workers. And, right now, the President is calling on Congress to cut in half the payroll taxes for small businesses as part of the American Jobs Act.
This holiday season, we can all do our part to support America’s small businesses as they strengthen our economy and create jobs, by making every day Small Business Saturday.