published Monday, July 15th, 2013

Smith: Where are the jobs? The Obama administration and black unemployment

Recently, I was doing one of my favorite things: reading. An article titled, "Obama will make blacks vote Republican" set the hook.

I began reading text written by Larry Elder, a self-described Republitarian who is a best-selling author and a talk radio host on KABC. I later learned he has Chattanooga connections.

This article and others archived at show how much he was influenced by his hard-working dad, one of the first black Marines.

Randolph Elder, the inspiration behind Larry's latest book, "Dear Father, Dear Son" and his mom shared common beliefs about dependency on government despite political differences. Larry Elder's personal bio states, "My Democrat mom and Republican father did agree on one thing: that government welfare made it 'too easy' for the able-bodied to 'get on the county.' And my Dad always said, 'If you try to get something for nothing, you end up with nothing for something.'"

Elder's claim that President Barack Obama would make blacks turn to the Republican Party is based on the harmful, current policies eroding wealth, opportunity and personal responsibility.

"Four years into Obama's recovery, many blacks are asking, 'So, where are the jobs?'"

Elder continued.

"When Obama entered office, the black unemployment rate was 12.7 percent. As of August 2011, it still stood at 16.5 percent."

Elder includes a quote from Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus serving in 2011: "If [former President] Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House."

Elder notes "the median income of black households declined more than twice as much as the income of white households under Obama's tenure. Blacks have lost their homes at a higher rate than whites. By taxing the 'rich,' placing health care under federal oversight and spending $1 trillion on 'stimulus,' Obama's policies have produced the worst recovery on record."

I read back through other opinion pieces by Larry Elder. I found consistency in his beliefs and principles ... a trait becoming extinct these days.

In a 2012 essay, "The Monolithic Black Vote -- And My Republican Dad," Elder explained, "Lower taxes, less government spending on domestic programs and fewer regulations mean a better economy for everybody. These were the policies of the '80s under Reagan."

He rhetorically poses, "The results for minorities? In late 1982, Reagan's second year in office, the unemployment rate for blacks was 20.4 percent. By 1989, after his last year in office, the unemployment rate had fallen to 11.4 percent -- a 9 percent drop. In late 1982, the unemployment rate for Hispanics was 15.3 percent. By 1989, it had fallen to 8 percent -- a drop of over 7 percentage points. White unemployment, by contrast, fell 'only' 4 percentage points."

Capturing discussions between his mom and dad, Elder recalled his Republican father declaring, "No poor person ever gave me a job," Meanwhile, his Democrat mom supported taxing "the rich folks who can afford it."

A third article authored by Larry Elder, "America's Enemies Are Colorblind," discussed the absolute hatred of our nation's enemies, whether foreign or domestic, with no regard to race.

Larry Elder's writings demonstrate that over-taxation steals from family budgets and small businesses; rejection of school choice traps children of all ethnicities in failing schools; rewarding fatherless homes through government subsidy explains an illegitimacy rate in the black community that has exploded from 25 percent in 1965 to 73 percent in 2012.

America's enemies are, indeed, colorblind and too frequently exist as government policy.

Robin Smith served as chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 2007 to 2009. She is a partner at the SmithWaterhouse Strategies business development and strategic planning firm.

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nucanuck said...

Republicans and Democrats can argue over health care policy, gay marriage, guns and such, but when it comes down to who really rules the economy, it is The Banker Financial Party and they don't care much about who wins all the little partisan disputes. Our Congress may yell and fight with each other on many issues until it comes down to corporate economic interests, then they vote as one. The corporate lobbyists write the bills and Congress dutifully passes them.

"So, where are the jobs?" We all pretty much know the answer. Many millions were shipped off-shore to lower cost providers. Many more million are slowly being eliminated by the IT revolution that's growing by the day. Now even farm workers are being replaced by robots. We no longer need millions and millions of workers and that trend is accelerating. We have millions of well trained capable people who have almost no chance of joining the work force.

The developed industrialized world is mature and not growing as it did in the last century. That appears to be a megatrend. If the above is true, then we have a permanent surplus of people who will remain dependent on family and government. This is not a corporate concern and yet Congress acts in unison to accommodate corporate needs. If Congress is doing the corporate bidding and corporations are not growing jobs, we have a permanent problem.

We now have to consider how to respond to a permanent flat-to-down jobs condition AND a growing population. Do we feed those for whom there is no work or do we leave them beside the road to die? This is a very uncomfortable issue that leads us to the prickly question of dealing with our own rates of reproduction. Do we have the courage to have that discussion?

July 15, 2013 at 12:28 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

The story on the NAACP focuses on their calls to end "unfairness" but has no report on any calls for blacks to finish high school, stop having so many out of wedlock/early births, and stop shooting each other over gang territory or general "disrespect." Until so called black leaders focus on real problems unemployment and other issues will only get worse.

July 15, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Racial participation rates are not unimportant, but that is really a sub-issue to the number of jobs available in the total workforce. Education certainly helps one's odds of finding a job, but there again, does not create jobs.

We have to face the very real probability that growth is no longer a given and the need to devise a system that can thrive without growth as a cornerstone. If we knew that the number of jobs was a constant, what would we do differently? That may be the bigger question.

July 15, 2013 at 2:39 p.m.
riverman said...

Very intelligent post nucanuck.

July 15, 2013 at 4:24 p.m.
conservative said...

What Ms. Smith wrote is certainly true.

However, the old saying about the horse being out of the barn applies here.

Who wants to hire someone with sagging pants,a criminal record, tattoos, chip on their shoulder, bad attitude, broken English, ill mannered, wearing excessive jewelry, bad or no work record, wild clothing and hair, to do other than minimum wage work?

Did you ever notice the looks and attitudes of Publix employees of any race?

There are countless people who will not change and will always be minimally employed. The food stamps, welfare, subsidized housing, medicare, free school lunches etc fill the wage gap.

They are content and firmly planted on the government plantation and the Liberals/Demoncrats/Socialists will never free them.

July 15, 2013 at 6:51 p.m.
Facts said...

nucanuck, Your post hits the bullseye on the power of money. The reason Bob Corker sponsored an amendment to permit legalization of illegal immigrants prior to an enforcement system being operational was very simply because the greed in corporate America wants cheap labor.

As stated earlier, I refuse to deal with uneducated individuals seeking employment regardless of any status of race, gender or documentation. A company's employees ultimately create the reputation of the company. Period.

July 15, 2013 at 6:52 p.m.
charivara said...

Robin in Wonderland.

July 15, 2013 at 7:52 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

Yes, more like la-la land. She has so distorted the facts it does not serve anyone well to try to refute them. It is really embarrassing except she is smart enough to know better.

Any disadvantaged/unemployed person that puts their faith the the good old GOP will soon wake up to the treachery.

Jimmy Carter pegged that mindset well. Robin attends a church that has spent millions on its sanctuary, changed its name so it is not openly associated with the Southern Baptists, while people in Chattanooga, even in Hixson, starve and go without medical care. Is this a proper a Christian action by Robin and her church, does it dishonor Luke 4:16-21 in order to pump up the egos of the well-dressed parishioners?

I seldon see the right side of the editorial paper put that kind of scriptural quote at the bottom of the page. It doesn't sell well in the circles that they live.

July 15, 2013 at 11:18 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Facts, the Hispanic labor is not always cheaper on an hourly basis, but when you factor in reliability and productivity, they have come to be seen as the better resource. I do think businesses have not wanted the undocumented pipeline closed down and only after the jobs contraction in 2008 and 2009 did the push to clean up the system gain traction.

In my 35 years as an employer, I often looked past educational attainment and tried to discern raw intelligence and attitude. With a few exceptions, that worked pretty well, but it wasn't a skill that I could delegate. I never had any Hispanic workers, but my wife did and while they had their paperwork in order, we assumed that some were illegals. Their dependability far exceeded her experience with those locals making the same $9-10 an hour. Sad.

I wish that I knew how the US could regain control of the political process...away from the money interests...but short of a collapse wherein all power comes into question, I don't see any change on the horizon.

Not only are we shrinking the overall workforce, we have a horrific drop in the quality of the few jobs that are created, with more and more being part time. Those folks are not going to buy new cars or maybe any car at all. They may live with their extended family for many years. We are seeing unbelievable changes in the entire socio-economic picture.

July 16, 2013 at 1 a.m.
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July 16, 2013 at 4:37 a.m.
MyGen said...

Wow. I guess I'm surprised and saddened to see that even in Chattanooga the tactics used by the IRS against a Christian are supported.

Inquiringmind disagrees with a piece written about an African American writer and his beliefs so he targets the place of worship and beliefs of the messenger.

I keep forgetting that the Democratic Party is the party of the people. I forget because it's really not. Really pathetic and revealing.

July 16, 2013 at 8:43 a.m.
inquiringmind said...


Not sure what "gen" you are MyGen. Actually I was not "targeting" the place of worship of the messenger, it is a "city on a hill" and shows the world who it is. I was trying to piece together where the personal Christian charity of the writer begins and where self-love stops. But that is a hard pill for most of us to swallow.

Ms. Smith is a publicly identified conservative politician. She has served as an official in the GOP and makes her political opinion known. She also attends a church whose religious duty professes certain moral and ethical values and activity towards the people of the world. It is fair to see how she balances her obligations to the ethical values of those two activities, or not.

Her effort in the article is not to improve the lot of the unemployed, to show how Christian love is given, to encourage debate and reconciliation on important issues, or to promote peace, but to foster falsehoods and misrepresentation for political purposes.

History has shown Democrats fix the financial train wrecks republicans cause. We may want to critique some of the social solutions Democrats have achieved (the way we do the welfare system) with the perspective of history, but the bottom line is the failure isn't the GOP or the Dem's it is all the people in the little churches scattered about the countryside who say what they believe on Sunday and then live quiet lives of hypocrisy the rest of the week.

As Pogo (Walt Kelly) said, "we have met the enemy and he is us;" and "even the whitest doves have feet of clay."

Or as Bill Shakespeare said (approximately), "The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in our hearts."

July 16, 2013 at 9:41 a.m.
MyGen said...

I am a twenty-something.

I don't know the place of worship of Mrs. Smith, but in addressing an article devoted completely to economic policy with absolutely no mention of Christianity or faith, you are the one who is targeting because of someone's faith.

Changing the subject doesn't change the reality of this article that the policies of Ronald Reagan, president when I was born, were better for minorities than those of Mr. Obama. What does that have to do with where this lady goes to church and her faith?

July 16, 2013 at 9:57 a.m.
Stewwie said...

Great points, MyGen.

Inquiringmind, if you have a beef with Robin's facts, then address those specifically. Leave out the unnecessary attacks on Robin's faith and her church.

July 16, 2013 at 1:23 p.m.
chet123 said...


July 16, 2013 at 9:57 p.m.
MyGen said...

My conclusion-There's a whole lot of people who are very intimidated by this lady's opinion because personal attacks are in your comments.

July 17, 2013 at 7:52 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

Unless a person's faith is irrelevant to the person and the world, it is fair to ask how one's public and private actions derive from one's faith. Why else would all the GOP jump on Bill Clinton for his indiscretion?

Obviously one's public personna ought to reflect one's faith and values as the core of all ethical action or that faith and value is worthless to everyone, and the ethics of the person ought to be suspect as Machiavellian. Ms. Smith invites the comparison by her membership in a Christian church.

As I said, there was no attack on Ms. Smith's faith only questions about how her faith claim fits with her public advocacy. Perhaps such questions are a little uncomfortable for you but that the whole point. There were no facts in her article only innuendo.

And, my dear 20-something, you could use a history lesson about Ronald Reagan. If you want to go back to a president who actually did something for African Americans and the poor, go to Bill Clinton. He presided over the largest peace time expansion of the economy, had the largest percentage for home owners in the history of our Republic, and ran a budget surplus and has a special place in most African American hearts. Or, you could go back to Lyndon Johnson who pushed the Civil Rights Act through congress the old-fashioned way, knowing it would destroy the Democratic Party in the South as the racists ran to the GOP (I guess Lester Maddox, Bo Calloway and George Wallace, to name a few, were a little before your time.) Unfortunately both Johnson and Clinton, like good old Richard Nixon between, also went the way of Robin and lost their moral compass. But at least they tried to do the right thing.

The GOP controlled house and the filibustering senators are the one's who are standing in the way of helping the black community, trying hard to do no thing, not the president. He can only propose legislation. It is not possible to conduct business in Congress because a minority is seeking to force its belief and opinion on the majority. But, MyGen, you may not remember how our Southern Senators used the filibuster to stop desegregation legislation for years.

By the way, Ms. Smith is free to espouse what she believes for the whole world to hear, but I doubt intimidation is in her plan. That is probably one reason she had such difficulty with Tennessee Republicans earlier in her life.

July 17, 2013 at 10:01 a.m.
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