Harry Alford

By Harry C. Alford
NNPA Columnist

Our stock market has been correcting itself for quite some time. It appears that the major correction is on its way and the world’s economy is going to take a “nose dive.” America, being the wealthiest nation, has the most to lose. The Great Recession started in 2008 and the recovery is very anemic, if it is a recovery at all. We tried to address it with the Stimulus Project but that was a total failure by some accounts. We were $17 trillion in debt and we threw another $1 trillion up against “the wall.” Thus, our debt today is more than $18 trillion and few on Capitol Hill and the White House seem to care about that. That neglect will cost this nation more and more jobs. The amount of Americans living in poverty is at record levels and there is no end in sight.

What is the main reason for Black unemployment? Let’s start with the U.S. Department of Labor. It is in charge of the enforcement of Executive Order 11246 (affirmative action). Over the past few decades, this agency has neglected its duty, particularly with the construction industry. There are trade unions in construction that totally ignore Executive Order 11246. Consequently, we have construction unions that discriminate against Blacks (Hispanics and women also) without any reprisals or penalties from the Department of Labor. The agency knows this and does nothing about it.

Our civil rights groups see it but do nothing but take union sponsorship money. Our elected officials, including Black ones, are afraid of the union muscle and sell out our potential workers. We need jobs. But they let this persist. It is very much publicized about “Silicon Valley” discriminating against Blacks in the high tech industry. Where is the publicity about “shovel ready” construction jobs that most people can perform?

It gets worse. The current administration is trying to boost the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Doing that will multiply the amount of unemployment in our communities. Welfare will rise even farther than the record levels we have now because small businesses will not be able to hire as many people when the minimum wage is beyond their reach.

The Department of Labor has another stupid idea. They want to shut down small firms and individuals that provide investment advice to small businesses and individuals. In essence, they want to put an end to retirement programs for low income individuals and small businesses. No retirement, instead poverty for the duration of your later years in life. It is cruel.

Education is a key reason for people rising above poverty and despair. Forget about that, if the Gainful Employment Rule is implemented by the U.S. Department of Education. That rule will reduce college education opportunities for at least 40 percent of the Black students in America. Also, the reduction in funding of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is going to have a very negative impact on educational opportunities for our children. Why are they doing this?

The most proven way to wealth building is home ownership. The big catalyst for that is banks and mortgage houses. The two biggest reasons for the existence of home ownership has been the activity of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These institutions would guarantee the funding of homes for individuals and families. But now, the administration is trying to dissolve Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. How will Americans be able to finance home ownership and build wealth? They won’t.

Belief that America is strong is good for our economy. So why are they shrinking our military to pitiful levels? Our navy has never been smaller since before World War II. Our marching troops are at the lowest population in 75 years. As Russia and China are building their military to gigantic proportions, we seem to be surrendering our strength at the expense of our liberty. We couldn’t deal with Syria so ISIS has seized a major portion of the Middle East. We ran out of Iraq like we were scared of “bad boys” and it is costing us peace. We are flirting with Iran, a country that has supplied weapons to our enemies in order to kill our troops. We look like punks. No nation is giving us respect.

My brothers and sisters, we are going down like a lead balloon. We need to restore our pride. We must invest in our infrastructure and create business opportunities which will result in jobs by the millions. In my 68 years of life, I have never witnessed my beloved America is in such a weak and confused state. Let’s end this poverty and embrace pure capitalism. Our time is getting short and we better turn things around. We owe it to the next generations of America. The generation before us is known as “The Greatest Generation.” How will history refer to us – “The Worst Generation?” Help us Lord.

Harry C. Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: halford@nationalbcc.org.


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