Donald Trump has predictably come under attack from the left for his harsh criticisms regarding the effects of the Democratic Party’s policies on the African-American community. Trump has stated that the Black community is worse off today than they were before Obama took office, in spite of all his campaign promises to make life better for them.
At Thursday’s White House press briefing, spokesman Josh Earnest responded to a question about Trump’s claim, stating that one would be “very hard-pressed to make a case that somehow the African-American population in the United States is somehow not better off” now, compared to before Obama’s presidency.
While the reporter acknowledged that the unemployment rate among blacks has dropped over the last seven or eight years [of course, we know how trustworthy unemployment numbers are], that’s just one area with positive numbers [at least on paper], out of many where the numbers are worse.
The reporter brought up “homeownership rates, labor force participation rates, the poverty rates…income inequality, wage stagnation” and stated that “these impact minority communities worse than the mainstream community.”
The black unemployment rate in July was 8.4 percent, compared with 12.6 percent when Mr. Obama took office in January 2009. But the jobless rate for whites, now at 4.3 percent, has fallen slightly more than it has for blacks in the past eight years — down 37 percent for whites and 33 percent for blacks.
On a range of other government data, blacks are faring worse under Mr. Obama. The black labor force participation rate has fallen from 63.2 percent in 2009 to 61.2 percent last month.
Black homeownership last month was 41.7 percent, down from 46.1 percent in 2009 — a drop of nearly one-tenth.
The percentage of black Americans living below the poverty line has risen from 25.8 percent in 2009 to 26.2 percent in 2014, according to the most recent Census Bureau data. The number of black food-stamp participants increased 58 percent, from 7.3 million to 11.7 million.
The White House spokesman did not respond to any of those facts, but instead pointed to the fact that “the President has never made the case that the work is finished, that the job is done.” Further, he added that President Obama is “interested in being succeeded in office by someone who is committed to building on the progress that we’ve made thus far as opposed to tearing it down.” In other words, Hillary Clinton will “build on” Obama’s “progress,” and Donald Trump would only be “tearing it down” if elected.
Reporter: “Let me ask you a follow-up to Michelle’s questions about Donald Trump and the African American population and so on. Hyperbole and rhetoric perhaps aside to some extent, the charge is essentially that the African American community is worse off in some ways under President Obama than before, over the last seven or eight years or so. And yes, I know part of the answer is that the unemployment rate has been cut significantly in that particular, community, but there are other measures, as you know, like the rate of poverty, homeownership, median income, and others that are not — that are worse off.
“So again, some of the hyperbole aside and some of the rhetoric aside, isn’t it a fair criticism that the African American community, minority communities in some ways are worse off now, eight years after President Obama?”
Josh Earnest: “Well, look, even the Republican leader in the United States Senate acknowledged about a year ago that the American people are better off since President Obama took office. And so I think you’d be very hard-pressed to make a case that somehow the African American population in the United States is somehow not better off based on President Obama’s tenure in — “
Reporter: “But there are metrics that suggest that is the case — homeownership rates, labor force participation rates, the poverty rates. There are 1 and 2 percent changes, but these are significant. And in terms of income inequality, in terms of wage stagnation — problems that the President has acknowledged exist — we know that these impact minority communities worse than the mainstream community.”
Earnest: “Well, I think what the President would say is that — and I would — I think the point here is, the President has never made the case that the work is finished, that the job is done. I think the point is that President Obama is interested in being succeeded in office by someone who is committed to building on the progress that we’ve made thus far as opposed to tearing it down.
“And the kinds of proposals that have been put forward by the other side would have the effect of eroding our progress, primarily because they would have a devastating impact, fiscally and economically, by doling out significant tax cuts to those at the top of the income scale and leaving the rest of us to pay the tab.
“So the President believes that that is a strategy that we have tried, and it has not worked. And to go back to that strategy now would make the situation worse and for everybody in America, including the African American population.”