Thursday, December 3, 2009

President Obama's Economy

On November 12th I posted a commentary entitled “Business-Related Changes During the First Few Months of Obama’s Tenure” on the Corporate Justice Blog site. I described some of the President’s business-related accomplishments in his first nine months in office. Only fellow-blogger Jo Grant joined me in my optimistic expectations about our nation’s economic future. An anonymous commentator asked whether “the President just optimistically hopes that things are improving.” Steve Ramirez lamented the fact that “there has been little change from the Bush financial policies that got us into this mess.”

I do not disagree with Steve and Anonymous. Things are still very, very bad for too many Americans, and more should be done to help them. And, things are still very, very good for many executives at the financial institutions that caused the crisis. This is truly contemptible. But, none of this detracts from the fact that President Obama and his administration inherited a direly sick economy. And even though they have not nursed our sick economy back to health, they have carefully, cautiously and conservatively implemented policy that may avoided the depression that many economists (including Richard Posner) thought was inevitable.

Today, President Obama is holding a White House jobs forum where business leaders, academics, and economists will discuss our nation’s high unemployment rate. I applaud these nascent efforts to stimulate job growth, but with respect to this initiative, I am far less optimistic. Participants at the gathering will address our nation’s 10.2 percent unemployment rate, but there is no indication that any of the participants will address the much higher unemployment rate among people of color, particularly African Americans and Latinos. Cynthia Gordy at Essence magazine asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs whether the there was a plan to address the disproportionately higher rate of unemployment among minorities. Gordy concluded from Gibbs’ “vague” answer that the unique issues that people of color face will be ignored at the jobs forum.


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  2. Great post. You are as always a source of wisdom and insight.