Rev Jesse Jackson: Black Voters Deserve A Return On Election Investment
WBBM-AM ^ | November 10, 2012
FR Posted by 2ndDivisionVet
The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Saturday said that President Obamas reelection was a great victory, but that it would be incomplete with a reconstruction of urban America and an investment in the communities where the blacks who voted overwhelmingly for the president live.
Were happy and full of pride, in the presidents reelection, Jackson told the crowd at the Saturday morning forum at Rainbow/PUSH headquarters, 930 E. 50th St., but our houses remain raggedy our schools remain closed.
Despite attempts at voter suppression in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, Jackson said, blacks turned out en masse to vote, enduring waits that stretched into hours in many places. We waited, we voted, we believed, Jackson said. Now we want to get well.
We voted early, we voted long. Our votes won, he said.
Rev. Jackson, who spoke longer, louder, and more forcefully than he has in some time at the Saturday morning Rainbow/PUSH meeting, asked the crowd, What do we want? We want, we want, we want, we deserve, we deserve a return on our investment.
Whats good for us is good for everybody. Whats good for blacks is good for everybody., he said. We bled too much, we died too young, we cried too much, we prayed too long, now we want a return on our investment.
Referring to those voter suppression efforts, he said, these acts of meanness had unintended consequences. Rather than keeping blacks and Latinos away from the polls, voter ID measures and the curtailing of access to the voting booths made people more determined to vote. Suppression became stimulation and people fought back, he said.
We fought back, and the battle was won, but the war still remains, he said. If we vote and dont bargain we get nothing. A Jacuzzi filled with stagnant water will not get you well, Jackson said. You have to stir the water. Jackson said blacks, who voted for Barack Obama for state senator, for U.S. Senator, and now twice as President of the United States, should demand, bargain, and march if necessary, for an end to patterns of race discrimination, (for) our share of jobs. We want faster public transportation to connect us to where the jobs are.
He said black American also needs access to capital, noting, Its cruel to say. jump in the pool, when there is no water.
He also called for fair trade, a domestic trade zone. We need a domestic OPEC, he said. In Chicago, for example, there are 100,000 vacant homes or abandoned lots; 40,000 in Baltimore. If we were to rebuild 25 percent, if we take down the boards and put in window panes, fix the broken sidewalks, cut the grass, fix the roofing, wed create more jobs than there are people, just rebuilding where we live.
Jackson said, there must be a plan for reconstruction of urban America.
Saying that automobile companies and banks got bailouts, were the people who provided the votes we want to be bailed out. We need jobs, education, healthcare now. If we can be targeted for voter registration and voter turnout, target us for reconstruction, now.
We are the new mainstream, Jackson said. We are the America of shared hopes and shared dreams. We have the power, we have the votes.
We waited, we voted, we believed, now we want to get well. He then asked the crowd, Do you want to get well? Are you willing to fight to get well?
Its time to sing a new song, of joy and hope, Jackson said.
Its time to march again. March for healthcare, march for jobs. When we march great things come our way.
ROBERT SAMUELSON: The welfare state is huge, and we must reform it
WASHINGTON If you doubt theres an American welfare state, you should read the new study by demographer Nicholas Eberstadt, whose blizzard of numbers demonstrates otherwise. A welfare state transfers income from some people to other people to improve the recipients well-being. In 1935, these transfers were less than 3 percent of the economy; now theyre almost 20 percent. Thats $7,200 a year for every American, calculates Eberstadt. He says that nearly 40 percent of these transfers aim to relieve poverty (through Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance and the like), while most of the rest goes to the elderly (mainly through Social Security and Medicare).
By all means, lets avoid the fiscal cliff: the $500 billion in tax increases and federal spending cuts scheduled for early 2013 that, if they occurred, might trigger a recession. But lets recognize that we still need to bring the budget into long-term balance.
This cant be done only by higher taxes on the rich, which seem inevitable. Nor can it be done by deep cuts in defense and domestic discretionary programs (from highways to schools), which are already happening. It requires controlling the welfare state. In 2011, payments for individuals, including health care, constituted 65 percent of federal spending, up from 21 percent in 1955. Thats the welfare state.
Yet, the subject is virtually taboo. Because Americans disapprove of government handouts, we dont even call the welfare state by its proper name, preferring the blander term entitlements (the label used by Eberstadt). Mitt Romneys careless comment about the 47 percent receiving government benefits implying theyre all deadbeats squelched any serious discussion in the campaign.
Interestingly, his figure is probably low: More than 50 percent of Americans may already receive benefits. Obamacare will raise this, because families with incomes up to four times the federal poverty line ($91,000 in 2011 for a family of four) qualify for insurance subsidies.
Granting the welfare states virtues the safety net alleviates poverty and cushions the effects of recessions its time to pose basic questions. Who deserves support? How much? How long? How much compassion can society afford?
Programs have strayed from their original purpose. Take Social Security. Created to prevent destitution among the elderly, it now subsidizes the comfortable.
Is this what Franklin Roosevelt intended? Should Social Security be tilted more toward the less affluent? Good questions, but politicians rarely ask them. Anyone who does risks being attacked as hard-hearted.
Welfare programs tend to expand. Advocacy groups discover coverage gaps. Economic downturns understandably sow sympathy for the needy. Arcane eligibility rules are liberalized. In 2010, a fifth of food stamp recipients had incomes exceeding twice the federal poverty line (about $45,000 for a family of four), estimates a study by David Armor and Sonia Sousa of George Mason University.
The welfare states great contradiction the reason its politics are so messy is that what seems good for the individual is not, when multiplied by thousands or millions of cases, always good for society. The welfare states costs may depress economic growth.
The need is not to dismantle the welfare state but to modernize it gradually, preserving its virtues, minimizing its vices and not doing it abruptly so as to derail the recovery. But first we need to admit it exists.
Resist we much.