In July of 2007, President Obama gave a speech laying out his commitment to improve life for people in urban America — which for most politicians is a euphemism for black America.

“Today’s economy has made it easier to fall into poverty. … Every American is vulnerable to the insecurities and anxieties of this new economy. And that’s why the single most important focus of my economic agenda as president will be to pursue policies that create jobs and make work pay,” Obama said that day to his mostly black audience.

At that time, the nation’s overall unemployment rate was 4.7%. Whites had a jobless rate of 4.2% while the black unemployment rate stood at 8.1%. Today, the black rate is 15.5%, nearly double that of white job-seekers.

Finding work for the jobless is the best anti-poverty program this nation can mount. But while the Obama administration spends $608 million during the first 17 days of its involvement in Libya’s civil war — it can muster neither the money nor the will to combat black unemployment.

The president’s failure to fight this problem as vigorously as he wages war abroad gets a pass from black leaders, many of whom complain privately but remain silent in public. They’re reluctant to challenge Obama the way Martin Luther King Jr. did Lyndon Johnson in 1967.

Continue reading →