The U.S. Economy Still Puts Blacks at the Bottom of the Barrel
If this is a thriving economy, then the next crash is going to obliterate Black people, entirely.
“For nearly every indicator, blacks cluster near or at the bottom – history endlessly repeating itself.”
Trump's rise in the polls is said to be due to a thriving economy, with stocks soaring and official unemployment at a 50-year low. Trump claims blacks also fared very well. Republican and Democratic politicians, including Barack Obama, like to say that a “rising tide lifts all boats” – even the Black dinghies. So Trump is blowing the same horn.
In the states where Trump won – the rust belts of the U.S. – manufacturing workers have taken a turn for the worst. Real wages since 2016 have almost stood still. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders would have provided the same or similar results.
Today's Democratic corral of presidential candidates, many of them sniffing left, would result in similar straits. Inequalities in wealth and income will remain – until we change the relationships of wealth and power in this country and the world.
The people are not thriving. According to a USB study, 4 out of 10 workers find it difficult to pay their bills. These same workers would face a crisis if they confronted a $400 emergency expense.
The unemployment data is a mirage. People that want full-time work settle for part-time jobs, with no benefits or security. Others patch together two or three jobs – or pieces of jobs -- when one used to be enough to maintain a household.
“Real wages since 2016 have almost stood still.”
The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank says about half of U.S. households have less income today (accounting for inflation) than they earned 30 years ago. Over a third of workers earn less than $15 an hour.
Mounting debt among workers and farmers as well as students’ outstanding loans bedevil US families. In the first quarter of this year, U.S. household debt bounded to a record-setting $13.7 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Workers are savaged by collection agencies that garnish their wages and put liens on their meager property.
As real wages stagnate or decrease, employers demand more and more sweat – they call it productivity – to keep the profits coming. Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, pushes his Amazon workforce beyond the brink of exhaustion.
For nearly every indicator, blacks cluster near or at the bottom – history endlessly repeating itself. The lesson has been over-learned: capitalism and imperialism are bad for blacks. The flag of black bondage presided over the U.S. up until the American Civil War. Radical Reconstruction was butchered by the bipartisan Hayes -Tilden Compromise of 1877 that pulled federal troops from the South, condemning Blacks to permanent bottom-of-the-barrel status.
“People that want full-time work settle for part-time jobs, with no benefits or security.”
Imperialism, which Lenin called highest order of capitalism, began with the export of finance capital. Uncle Sam became a full-fledged imperialist shortly after the Hayes -Tilden Compromise of 1877, and now feeds off the largest empire in human history.
Malcolm X equated capitalism and its tool of racism with Americanism. He said, "No, I'm not an American. I'm one of 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism. I'm speaking as a victim of this American system. I don't see any American dream; I see an American nightmare!" In the more than half century since Malcolm’s death, Black people’s economic position, relative to whites, has not changed.
Black incomes have fallen to 76 cents on the white dollar, and Black families possess one-tenth the wealth of the white median household – with half of Black households at zero or negative wealth.
These thriving US economies can kill you.
Ken Morgan is an internationalist, Black rights fighter, and scholar. He can be reached at [email protected].
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