The financial crisis and recession of 2007 has all but eliminated the black middle class in America.
Economists say the Great Recession lasted from 2007 to 2009. In 2004, the median net worth of white
households was $134,280, compared with $13,450 for black households, according to an analysis of Federal Reserve data by the Economic Policy Institute. By 2009, the median net worth for white households had fallen 24 percent to $97,860; the median black net worth had fallen 83 percent to $2,170, according to the EPI.
Algernon Austin, director of the EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy, described the current wealth gap this way: “In 2009, for every dollar of wealth the average white household had, black households only had two cents.”
Since the end of the recession, the overall unemployment rate has fallen from 9.4 to 9.1 percent, while the black unemployment rate has risen from 14.7 to 16.2 percent, according to the Department of Labor.
“I would say the recession is not over for black folks,” Austin says. He believes more black people than ever before could fall out of the middle class, because the unemployment rate for college-educated blacks recently peaked and blacks are overrepresented in state and local government jobs that are being eliminated due to massive budget shortfalls.
Do you want to know why the GOP’s first target after Obama got elected was to eliminate middle-class government jobs at the state and local level? Now you know. Eliminate the road to the middle class for blacks and they lose sociopolitical power. Breed resentment among everyone else. Government workers are “lazy” and “spoiled”. Government jobs are equivalent to “welfare”. It’s jobs where “they” work. Republicans played the class and race cards perfectly and the results have been the virtual elimination of the black middle class in America in just four years.
African-Americans have been crushed by the Wall Street-fueled recession. These numbers are horrifying to the point where I feel physically ill. And the best part is conservatives now want us to finish the job by abandoning the Democrats or abandoning voting altogether while they in turn do everything they can to keep blacks out of the voting booth through Voter ID laws.
Two percent. That’s the percentage of median household wealth the average black household compared to the average white one. This is what Wall Street did to black America, they leveled it with bulldozers, took the money, and then said “Sorry, we can’t afford to help you anymore. Go to hell.”
This is what the last decade of greed and hatred has done. It has literally put the middle-class on the block to be sacrificed to the rich, but especially the black middle class is seeing their world crumble. Gone. And the Republican Party is doing everything they can to make sure we are never heard from again.
And no, I don’t blame President Obama for what happened before he was elected, and I don’t blame him for not magically fixing this issue already. Remember, this happened at the state level. The response was, especially in red states in 2010, that Republicans in charge of states said “We have to cut government spending and that has to start with government jobs.”
Jobs held by a disproportionate amount of African-Americans. You do the math.
Remember that. Remember you have a voice. Use it.