FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Where’s the Jobs Stimulus?

by Rev. JESSE JACKSON

Unemployment has soared above 10 percent, but that figure doesn’t count those forced to work part-time, those who have given up in despair, young people who were never able to get hired. There are now 25 million people unemployed.

For African Americans, it is worse. African Americans are experiencing a silent depression. Unemployment is more than 18 percent; underemployment even higher. And among black teens, unemployment is more than 40 percent.

This is combined with a staggering loss of wealth among what was the emerging African-American middle class — a group devastated by the collapse of the housing bubble. African-Americans were prime targets of mortgage companies peddling misleading mortgages, with low entry rates, hidden fees and exploding interest-rate escalation clauses. Having redlined urban areas for decades, mortgage brokers then targeted them for subprime mortgages. Too many families aspiring to own their own homes assumed that their jobs were secure and that they could always remortgage after their low entry rates expired — and got caught.

Now foreclosures eradicate the value of neighboring homes, even when the homeowners pay their mortgage. Loss of jobs endangers more homes. As prices go down, homes are worth less than their mortgages, so families can’t refinace. And increasingly, young men and women can’t find jobs to help their families in the crunch.

“The untold story is that between unemployment, a significant drop in property values, the wave of foreclosures and a lack of credit, there is a whole generation of African-American wealth that is disappearing,” said Jean Pogge, executive vice president of ShoreBank, a community bank serving minorities in Chicago.

Economists now project that unemployment will continue to rise next year, probably to more than 11 percent. That will mean unemployment rates of more than 50 percent for black teenagers. Worse, many believe the recovery will be a jobless one, with corporate profits, the stock market, and of course, Wall Street recovering years before the jobs come back.

The federal government must act. What we need now are direct employment projects: an urban corps that will employ young people and provide them with work in everything from cleaning parks to refitting buildings; a green corps that will employ people directly in reforesting America and fixing up national parks. Congress needs to expand the money going to infrastructure projects and put construction workers to work in repairing sewers and roads. States and localities should get aid on the condition that they sustain employment.

But more than that, we need a fundamental commitment to rebuild America — and to make certain that the jobs are kept in America. The president should lay out a 10-year program to make America energy independent that includes public investment in the green equivalents of projects like the Tennessee Valley Authority and Hoover Dam. This also would include major investments in wind farms and solar energy, the refitting of buildings and modernization of America’s electrical distribution infrastructure. These investments should be combined with buy-America provisions, ensuring those taxpayers’ dollars are spent on putting people to work here. America needs to help lead the new green industrial revolution — but we won’t succeed without a clear policy to ensure that we make things in America again.

In the short term, we should finance this construction and put people to work. We should commit now to pay for it over time, taxing Wall Street with a securities transaction tax that would slow down speculation and generate more than $100 billion a year.

But these are details. What is needed is commitment and energy. Nothing is more devastating than a long-term depression that crushes hope, squanders skills and leaves men and women in poverty. We need action, experimentation and bold efforts now.

This column originally appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times.

 

More articles by:

Jesse Jackson is the founder of Rainbow/PUSH.

Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
Ryan LaMothe
A Christian Nation?
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Finger on the Button: Why No President Should Have the Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons
W. T. Whitney
A Bizarre US Pretext for Military Intrusion in South America
Deepak Tripathi
Sex, Lies and Incompetence: Britain’s Ruling Establishment in Crisis 
Howard Lisnoff
Who You’re Likely to Meet (and Not Meet) on a College Campus Today
Roy Morrison
Trump’s Excellent Asian Adventure
John W. Whitehead
Financial Tyranny
Ted Rall
How Society Makes Victimhood a No-Win Proposition
Jim Goodman
Stop Pretending the Estate Tax has Anything to do With Family Farmers
Thomas Klikauer
The Populism of Germany’s New Nazis
Murray Dobbin
Is Trudeau Ready for a Middle East war?
Jeiddy Martínez Armas
Firearm Democracy
Jill Richardson
Washington’s War on Poor Grad Students
Ralph Nader
The Rule of Power Over the Rule of Law
Justin O'Hagan
Capitalism Equals Peace?
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: From the Red Sea to Nairobi
Geoff Dutton
The Company We Sadly Keep
Evan Jones
The Censorship of Jacques Sapir, French Dissident
Linn Washington Jr.
Meek Moment Triggers Demands for Justice Reform
Gerry Brown
TPP, Indo Pacific, QUAD: What’s Next to Contain China’s Rise?
Robert Fisk
The Exile of Saad Hariri
Romana Rubeo - Ramzy Baroud
Anti-BDS Laws and Pro-Israeli Parliament: Zionist Hasbara is Winning in Italy
Robert J. Burrowes
Why are Police in the USA so Terrified?
Chuck Collins
Stop Talking About ‘Winners and Losers’ From Corporate Tax Cuts
Ron Jacobs
Private Property Does Not Equal Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Mass Shootings, Male Toxicity and their Roots in Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
The Fordist Academic
Frank Scott
Weapons of Mass Distraction Get More Destructive
Missy Comley Beattie
Big Dick Diplomacy
Michael Doliner
Democracy, Real Life Acting and the Movies
Dan Bacher
Jerry Brown tells indigenous protesters in Bonn, ‘Let’s put you in the ground’
Winslow Myers
The Madness of Deterrence
Cesar Chelala
A Kiss is Not a Kiss: Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children
Jimmy Centeno
Garcia Meets Guayasamin: A De-Colonial Experience
Stephen Martin
When Boot Becomes Bot: Surplus Population and The Human Face.
Martin Billheimer
Homer’s Iliad, la primera nota roja
Louis Proyect
Once There Were Strong Men
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones
David Yearsley
Academics Take Flight
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail