via: thecharlottepost.com – A little more than a year ago, Feb. 17, 2009, newly inaugurated President Barack Obama took his first corrective action to quell the escalating economic crisis.
That action was to sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, known as the stimulus bill, a $787 billion package to create and preserve jobs and spur economic growth.
But, one year later, a non-partisan study by the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University has found that despite the president’s noble efforts, the economic stimulus has not only failed to boost the economy for African-Americans and other historically disadvantaged people, including women, but it has produced starkly disparate results between white workers and people of color and failed to correct long-standing racial disparities.
“I know that a lot of the programs that were developed in the 1930s and ‘40s were developed in such a way that didn’t target people who were the most marginalized such as African-Americans, Latinos and other groups like Native-Americans,” said John Powell, executive director of the Kirwan Institute on why the study was done.
“And I was concerned that unless we did that during this deep recession, you could actually end up with a set of programs that would not only not serve those communities well, but also push those communities further behind.”
Powell compared the stimulus to those established during days of Jim Crow when racially disadvantaged groups were not even considered in economic initiatives. The report tells why his comparison is not extreme:
“While overall unemployment has started to decline (and decline for white workers), black workers may soon reach the 2010 unemployment rate which was once projected to occur if a stimulus or recovery bill was not enacted,” the report states.
“This suggests that many of the employment gains from American Recovery and are not reaching workers of color.”
The report continues, “White unemployment has started to decrease (from a peak of 9.4 percent in October 2009 to 8.7 percent in January 2010), while black unemployment rates continues to rise (from 15.5 percent to 16.5 percent during the same time period). Latino unemployment rates have also decreased slightly but remain very high, decreasing from 13.1 percent in October 2009 to 12.6 percent in January 2010.”
Among other disparities listed in the report:
• One in five children were living in poverty in 2008, and poverty rates for children of color are climbing above 40 percent in some states;
• While one in 10 workers are unemployed nationally, one in six black workers and one in eight Latino workers are unemployed;
• Nearly half of all subprime loans went to African-American and Latino borrowers, even though many qualified for prime loans;
• African-American and Latino homeowners are expected to lose $164 ? $213 billion in assets due to the housing crisis;
• The percentage of children in poverty is likely to peak at 21 percent in 2010;
• Neighborhoods and communities are also being reshaped by the detrimental impacts of the housing crisis and recession;