[Marxism] Fwd: Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote | The Nation

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Oct 1 14:51:25 MDT 2016

An oft-repeated myth about the Clinton administration is that although 
it was overly tough on crime back in the 1990s, at least its policies 
were good for the economy and for black unemployment rates. The truth is 
more troubling. As unemployment rates sank to historically low levels 
for white Americans in the 1990s, the jobless rate among black men in 
their 20s who didn’t have a college degree rose to its highest level 
ever. This increase in joblessness was propelled by the skyrocketing 
incarceration rate.

Why is this not common knowledge? Because government statistics like 
poverty and unemployment rates do not include incarcerated people. As 
Harvard sociologist Bruce Western explains: “Much of the optimism about 
declines in racial inequality and the power of the US model of economic 
growth is misplaced once we account for the invisible poor, behind the 
walls of America’s prisons and jails.” When Clinton left office in 2001, 
the true jobless rate for young, non-college-educated black men 
(including those behind bars) was 42 percent. This figure was never 
reported. Instead, the media claimed that unemployment rates for African 
Americans had fallen to record lows, neglecting to mention that this 
miracle was possible only because incarceration rates were now at record 
highs. Young black men weren’t looking for work at high rates during the 
Clinton era because they were now behind bars—out of sight, out of mind, 
and no longer counted in poverty and unemployment statistics.

To make matters worse, the federal safety net for poor families was torn 
to shreds by the Clinton administration in its effort to “end welfare as 
we know it.” In his 1996 State of the Union address, given during his 
re-election campaign, Clinton declared that “the era of big government 
is over” and immediately sought to prove it by dismantling the federal 
welfare system known as Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC). 
The welfare-reform legislation that he signed—which Hillary Clinton 
ardently supported then and characterized as a success as recently as 
2008—replaced the federal safety net with a block grant to the states, 
imposed a five-year lifetime limit on welfare assistance, added work 
requirements, barred undocumented immigrants from licensed professions, 
and slashed overall public welfare funding by $54 billion (some was 
later restored).


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