“The Recovery”: Real Wages Fall, Black Unemployment Up

In an interview with the Daily Caller Dr. Ben Carson told of a question he received after a speaking engagement. The question was why he does not often speak of race and his response was:

It’s because I’m a neurosurgeon… You see when I take someone to the operating room and I cut the scalp and peel it down and take off the bone flap and open it there, I’m actually operating on the thing that makes that person who they are. I said the skin doesn’t make them who they are, the cover has nothing to do with who they are. But you know, people who tend to be superficial, you know superficial things mean a lot. People who tend to be deep are able to see through that and evaluate a person for what they are and that’s what Martin Luther King meant when he said judge a person by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. But unfortunately I do think that the policies of this president have not been particularly good in terms of race relations.

You see many of us still get caught in the race trap. Too many people assumed that electing a black President would automatically improve race relations or at least improve the situation of blacks. For many white people they took the easy way out and voted away their responsibility for anything negative that happens to black people, “I voted for Obama so I am not racist, and by electing a black President I have proved that I want to improve racial relations in America, and help poor black people”. I call this intellectual laziness, where it is easier to superficially decide what will improve race relations and the position of black Americans, instead of doing some critical thinking or research. In reality Obama has helped to increase racial tensions while actually diminishing the average socio-economic position of a black person in America.

You know what is harder than going down to the ballot box and voting for a black man in an attempt to wash away racism and magically improve the lives of blacks? Arguing against raising the minimum wage, because it has historically meant a higher unemployment rate for black workers. In this situation you are caste as an uncaring capitalist, or maybe even a racist by the people who pretend to have the moral high ground because they pulled the correct voting lever.

And where did that election get us? Well a left wing group did a study, and found that Americans’ real wages are down since Obama took office and since “the recovery”. And did Obama preside over a narrowing or expanding gap between “the rich” and “the poor”? One of the biggest drops in real wages were felt by those who make between $10.61/hour and $14.21/hour who took a 4.1% decrease in wages adjusted for inflation.

Several job categories suffered even greater losses. “Real median wages fell by 5.0 percent or more in five of the top ten lower-wage occupations: restaurant cooks, food preparation workers, home health aides, personal care aides, and maids and housekeepers,” said a statement from the NELP group.

I am sure Obama supporters could come up with a multitude of reasons why it is not Obama’s fault that wages have dropped, but there are some very obviously economically damaging things he has done. Raising taxes on the rich (and middle class) to help the poor proved to be a failure falling short of the goal; instead of “the rich” keeping their money and providing jobs through expansion, investment, and new businesses, the money was taken by the government to give to the poor. The wages of the poor decreased.

And specifically for the black population, unemployment is up. The 2012 unemployment rate for black men and women over the age of 16 was 13.8% (in June 2013 alone it was clocked at 14.3%), while at the beginning of the recovery in 2008 unemployment for black men and women over the age of 16 was 10.1%. This means that the situation of many African Americans has not improved under Obama, but has been made worse.

And the federal reserve continued quantitative easing at insane levels, which helped increase inflation, so that less can be bought with each dollar earned. Deficit spending and increasing the national debt (over $6 trillion!) wastes even more productivity and economic value because some wealth must go towards paying interest instead of running the government. Obamacare introduced even more regulatory costs and taxes which will remove value from the economy and inefficiently return some of it for worse healthcare. It will also further hurt hourly wage laborers by being reduced to part time in order for employers to avoid providing health coverage.

Instead of intellectual laziness and, in some ways, racism (choosing someone because they are black can be as racist as not choosing someone because they are black) people should look into the policies which would be enacted and ask if they will improve or worsen the position of poor and minority workers. But if all we care about is the outer appearance of skin, instead of what matters, the brain, we are doomed to be locked in this cycle of poor race relations for the foreseeable future.

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