Aug 25, 2010

Congressional Budget Office and Economic Recovery Act in the News

Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release

August 24, 2010

Statement by the Vice President on New CBO Report on Employment and Economic Impact of the Recovery Act

Vice President Joe Biden today issued the following statement on a new report from the Congressional Budget Office on the employment and economic impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:

“This new analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is further confirmation of what we’ve been hearing from leading economists, the nation’s governors and families across the country: the Recovery Act is working to rescue the economy from eight years of failed economic policy and rebuild it even stronger than before. When the CBO, Congress’s top watchdog and an institution widely-respected on both sides of the aisle, says that because of the Recovery Act as many as 3.3 million Americans are on the job today and the unemployment rate is as much as 1.8 percent lower, it’s impossible for even the most cynical, bent-on-rooting-for-failure critics to deny. So while Republicans in Congress – the same party that got us into this mess in the first place - may want to turn back the clock and drive us back into the same ditch we’re making our way out of, it’s now clearer than ever before that we can’t afford to go backward; we have to keep moving forward and build on measures like the Recovery Act that are creating jobs and making us competitive in the 21st century economy.”

According to the CBO report, “Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output from April 2010 through June 2010,” in the second quarter of 2010, the Recovery Act:
• Raised the level of real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent,
• Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points,
• Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million


Aug. 24, 2010, 3:24 p.m. EDT
Stimulus plan boosted GDP by as much as 4.5%, says CBO
By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The oft-criticized stimulus plan boosted the economy in the second quarter by as much as 4.5%, the Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday.

In a report published the same day as Minority Leader John Boehner's criticism of President Obama's economic policy, the CBO said the stimulus law boosted the economy by between 1.7% and 4.5%, lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points and increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million.

In practice, that means the stimulus plan is the main reason the U.S. economy grew during the second quarter. The Commerce Department estimates the economy grew 2.4% in the second quarter, a figure most economists expect to be sharply revised lower in a report due Friday.

The CBO said the impact from the stimulus law on output and employment, however, will gradually diminish during the second half of 2010 and beyond.

The CBO also upwardly raised the cost of the stimulus plan to $814 billion from $787 billion.

Study: US stimulus package may have averted second recession,stimulus-package-averted-recession.html

Washington - A massive government stimulus package approved last year may have helped the United States avert a double-dip recession in the second quarter, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found on Tuesday.

The CBO said the controversial two-year stimulus, President Barack Obama's signature economic plan that was enacted in March 2009, raised US economic output anywhere from 1.7 per cent to 4.5 per cent between April and June of this year.

An initial government estimate last month said gross domestic output (GDP) slowed to 2.4 per cent in the second quarter. Economists predict that number could be lowered as much as one percentage point in a revised estimate due out on Friday.

The slowdown in growth has stoked fears among some economists that the United States could be headed for a double-dip recession. The world's largest economy began growing again in the summer of last year after experiencing the worst downturn in decades.

The US unemployment rate has remained at 9.5 per cent despite the return to growth. But the CBO said the stimulus package, estimated to cost 814 billion dollars, helped create between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.

Conservative Republicans have sharply criticized Obama's stimulus package as a wasteful and unnecessary spending measure that added to an already skyrocketing budget deficit.

They point to the sputtering US economic recovery as evidence of the stimulus' failure. The Obama administration insists the situation would have been far worse without the package and has pushed for more spending measures to ease pressures on small businesses.
Copyright DPA

OP-ED COLUMNIST Too Long Ignored : Black Boys and Men By BOB HERBERT

Too Long Ignored : Black Boys and Men
Published: August 20, 2010

A tragic crisis of enormous magnitude is facing black boys and men in America.

Bob Herbert

Parental neglect, racial discrimination and an orgy of self-destructive behavior have left an extraordinary portion of the black male population in an ever-deepening pit of social and economic degradation.

The Schott Foundation for Public Education tells us in a new report that the on-time high school graduation rate for black males in 2008 was an abysmal 47 percent, and even worse in several major urban areas — for example, 28 percent in New York City.
The astronomical jobless rates for black men in inner-city neighborhoods are both mind-boggling and heartbreaking. There are many areas where virtually no one has a legitimate job.

More than 70 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers. And I’ve been hearing more and more lately from community leaders in poor areas that moms are absent for one reason or another and the children are being raised by a grandparent or some other relative — or they end up in foster care.
That the black community has not been mobilized en masse to turn this crisis around is a screaming shame. Black men, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, have nearly a one-third chance of being incarcerated at some point in their lives. By the time they hit their mid-30s, a solid majority of black men without a high school diploma have spent time in prison.

Homicide is the leading cause of death for young black men, with the murderous wounds in most cases inflicted by other young black men.

This is a cancer that has been allowed to metastasize for decades. Not only is it not being treated, most people don’t even want to talk about it. In virtually every facet of life in the United States, black people — and especially black boys and men — are coming up short. White families are typically five times as wealthy as black families. More than a third of all black children are growing up in poverty. In Ohio, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty, the percentage is more than half.

There are myriad reasons for this awful state of affairs. As with so many other problems in American society, a lack of gainful employment has been a huge contributor to the problems faced by blacks. Chronic unemployment is hardly a plus-factor for marriage and family stability. And the absence of strong family units with mature parental guidance is at the very root of the chaotic environment that so many black youngsters grow up in.

The abominable incarceration rates among blacks are the result of two overwhelming factors: the persistence of criminal behavior by a significant percentage of the black population, and a criminal justice system that in many respects is racially discriminatory and out of control. Both of these factors need to be engaged head-on, and both will require a staggeringly heavy lift.

Education in the broadest sense is the key to stopping this socioeconomic slide that is taking such a horrific toll in the black community. People have to understand what is happening to them before they can really do much about it. Young blacks who have taken a wrong road, or are at risk of taking a wrong road, have to be shown a feasible legitimate alternative.

The aspect of this crisis that is probably the most important and simultaneously the most difficult to recognize is that the heroic efforts needed to alleviate it will not come from the government or the wider American society. This is a job that will require a campaign on the scale of the civil rights movement, and it will have to be initiated by the black community.

Whether this is fair or not is irrelevant. There is very little sentiment in the wider population for tackling the extensive problems faced by poor and poorly educated black Americans. What is needed is a dramatic mobilization of the black community to demand justice on a wide front — think employment, education and the criminal justice system — while establishing a new set of norms, higher standards, for struggling blacks to live by.

For many, this is a fight for survival. And it is an awesomely difficult fight. But the alternative is to continue the terrible devastation that has befallen so many families and communities: the premature and often violent deaths, the inadequate preparation for an increasingly competitive workplace, the widespread failure to exercise one’s intellectual capacity, the insecurity that becomes ingrained from being so long at the bottom of the heap.

Terrible injustices have been visited on black people in the United States, but there is never a good reason to collaborate in one’s own destruction. Blacks in America have a long and proud history of overcoming hardship and injustice. It’s time to do it again.

Dr. Laura Resigns

Marc H. Morial
President and CEO
National Urban League

Here we go again. One more time, a clueless commentator with a microphone and an audience of millions, has brazenly insulted Black America and reacted as if we were the perpetrators. The latest incident involves Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the host of the Dr. Laura radio show. On August 10th, Dr. Laura made racially insensitive statements and repeatedly used the "n-word" in responding to Jade, a black woman caller, who complained that her white husband's friends and relatives use racial slurs and make racially demeaning comments in front of her. Instead of offering helpful advice, Dr. Laura scoffed, "some people are hypersensitive." She noted that "black guys" use the n-word "all the time," and repeated the word 11 times during the call for emphasis. But her most revealing comment was, "I don't get it. If anybody without enough melanin says it, it's a horrible thing, but when black people say it, it's affectionate. It's very confusing." As she admitted, Dr. Schlessinger most emphatically doesn't get it and she is very confused about what constitutes racism. It is beyond comprehension that she would consider Jade "hypersensitive" for being offended by the n-word.

Dr. Schlessinger's comments, which can be heard in their entirety at, created a national uproar. Millions of people of all races were offended by her insensitive and highly offensive on-air rant. Her resignation on August 18th came just five days after the National Urban League urged the Talk Radio Network to drop the Dr. Laura Show from syndication; and it demonstrates the impact people of good conscience can have when they speak out against intolerance. Several days after the incident, Dr. Schlessinger did issue a written apology which said in part, "I was attempting to make a philosophical point, and I articulated the "n" word all the way out - more than one time. And that was wrong. I'll say it again - that was wrong." That is an understatement. We cannot help but wonder, as did Nita Hanson (Jade's real name), how Dr. Schlessinger, who grew up during the height of the civil rights movement, and who once was a practicing marriage and family counselor, could not understand how hurtful the n-word is to most Americans. It is also disturbing that former vice presidential candidate, Sara Palin would publicly say to Dr. Schlessinger, "Don't retreat…reload." That kind of pandering to the basest element of the American electorate is highly offensive, inflammatory and counterproductive.

Dr. Schlessinger claims she resigned to "regain her Constitutional right to free speech." That is ludicrous on its face. Nobody has prevented her or her supporters from speaking their minds. But nobody is also preventing the public from reacting. It should be noted that following her remarks, several of her affiliates and major sponsors dropped her show. That was their Constitutional right.

As the nation works toward racial reconciliation and a celebration of diversity, we find it necessary to make it clear once again that this kind of divisiveness and casual use of racial slurs have no place among the public discourse.

8/25/10 ▪ 120 Wall Street ▪ New York, NY 10005 ▪ (212) 558-5300

Aug 18, 2010

Senate Again Denies Justice to Black Farmers

Marc H. Morial
President and CEO
National Urban League

"Justice delayed is justice denied"

For more than 10 years, tens of thousands of black farmers have been denied justice and a share of a $1.25 billion government settlement as compensation for decades of discrimination in federal farm loan programs. Many have lost their farms waiting. Some have died waiting. And on August 5th, before going on its summer recess, the Senate prolonged the wait by failing to once again appropriate the funds to right this egregious wrong.

Consistent with an unfortunate pattern that has stalled Congressional action on everything from health care reform to unemployment benefits, the Senate is stuck in a stalemate over the black farmers' settlement due to partisan bickering over how it will be financed. But, as noted in a recent Reuters news story, "The measure brought to the floor included offsets required under congressional 'pay-as-you-go' rules mandating new spending be offset with cuts elsewhere so as not to add to the deficit."

This is a clear case of political obstructionism and a violation of civil rights. Attorney General Eric Holder and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the settlement in February. President Obama included money for it in his current budget. The House of Representatives approved the funds in July. But the Senate has repeatedly refused to add its final stamp of approval. According to John Boyd, Jr., President of the National Black Farmers Association, "It shows that some of the same treatment that happened to the black farmers at the Department of Agriculture is transpiring with the Senate's inaction to help black farmers."

The original class-action lawsuit, Pigford v. Glickman, filed in 1997 and settled in 1999, awarded $50,000 to black farmers who were denied Department of Agriculture farm loans due to racial discrimination from 1983-1997. The government has already paid out more than $1 billion to 16,000 farmers. The new funding is for payments to as many as 70,000 farmers who were denied previous payouts because they missed the deadline for filing.

The black farmers settlement bill has the support of the White House, the Agriculture Department, Senators and House members of both parties, the Congressional Black Caucus and the major civil rights organizations, including the National Urban League. The National Black Farmers Association has taken the fight to Capitol Hill on numerous occasions and has appealed to the White House for help.

When the February settlement was announced, CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee and many others thought that justice had finally arrived. In a statement then she said, "I am encouraged that today's settlement is an opportunity for black farmers who were denied the benefit of USDA loans and programs to begin to be made whole."

But justice continues to be denied. This is a travesty. The federal government has spent trillions on bailouts to banks, corporations and investment firms, but struggling black farmers have been left out in the cold. As John Boyd said, "It seems like the trains leaving the station in the Senate manage not to have the black farmers on them."


8/18/10 ▪ National Urban League 120 Wall Street ▪ New York, NY 10005 ▪ (212) 558-5300 ▪ WWW.NUL.ORG

Aug 17, 2010

Sickle Cell Luncheon - September 1, 2010

2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of sickle cell disease. To celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of two of Cincinnati’s very own sickle cell pioneers, the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati Sickle Cell Awareness Group is cordially inviting you to a luncheon that will honor Dr. Marilyn H. Gaston and Mrs. Cathryn Buford.

The event will be held on September 1, 2010 from 11-1, at the Crowne Plaza Cincinnati North Hotel, 11320 Chester Rd., Cincinnati, Ohio 45246. Tickets are $30.00 per person.

Sickle cell disease is the most common genetic blood disease in the United States. The disease primarily affects Africans and African Americans. Locally, there are more than 700 children and adults in the Greater Cincinnati area that have sickle cell disease, and one out of 10 African Americans carry the trait, meaning they do not have the disease but can pass it to their offspring.

An estimated 20,000 – 30,000 people in Cincinnati are carriers. We must know the facts if we’re going to fight the disease. Normal red blood cells are soft and round and flow through the body carrying oxygen to vital organs. But if you have sickle cell disease, your red blood cells can become hard and sickle shaped. They have trouble traveling through blood vessels and may even clog the vessel.

As a result, organs and tissue can be deprived of their oxygen, leading to damage to the organs and even stroke. Also, the sickle cells can rupture more quickly and lead to anemia (low red blood cell count), making you feel tired, weak and can lead to an early death.

Your support helps provide coping support groups, community outreach and education and our advocacy efforts. Please consider attending this luncheon. For more information please contact Pamela King at 513-487-6506 Thank you.

Aug 11, 2010

State of Urban Jobs - August 2010

What You Need to Know About the State of Urban Jobs! Click here for full report

Urban unemployment continues to plague our communities and hamper our progress. Our State of Urban Jobs site at gives you everything you need to know about jobs including the monthly employment report with job stats for Blacks, Whites and Latinos, the facts about how investing in job creation is the best strategy for reducing the deficit, resume writing tips, job listings and the National Urban League's response to the current crisis. Stay abreast of the latest developments and join NUL economist, Dr. Valerie Rawlston Wilson, today at State of Urban Jobs (under the Interactive tab) from 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm for a live chat on the July 2010 Employment report. Click here to view.

Highlights of the July 2010 Employment Report:

  • The economy lost a net 131,000 jobs in July, as large numbers of temporary Census jobs (-143,000) continue to wind down. Private employment increased by a modest 71,000.
  • The unemployment rate in July remained at 9.5% as labor force participation remained stable. The black unemployment rate edged up slightly to 15.6% (from 15.4%) as the participation rate fell to 61.5% (from 61.9%). The unemployment rate for black men decreased slightly (from 17.4% to 16.7%), as the rate for black women increased (from 11.8% to 12.9%). The unemployment rates for whites (steady at 8.6%) and Latinos (12.1% from 12.4%) also showed little change in July. Rates of teen unemployment (23.5%), particularly among African-American (40.6%) and Latino (35%) youth, also remain elevated as the Senate failed to pass summer jobs legislation. The rate of underemployment (including the unemployed, marginally attached and those working part-time for economic reasons) was also unchanged at 16.5%.
  • The ranks of long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 6.6 million (from 6.8 million) or 44.9% of all unemployed (from 45.5%). This persistently high rate of long-term unemployed along with the weak growth in private employment, and slowed economic growth over the last quarter indicates the tenuous state of the economy.
  • Manufacturing (+36,000), education and health services (+30,000) and transportation and warehousing (+12,200) all displayed modest growth in July as financial activities (-17,000), construction (-11,000), and state (-10,000) and local (-38,000) governments continued to shed jobs. To read more about the crisis in state and local government employment click here. Professional and business services also experienced negative net job growth for the first time since September 2009.

The July 2010 Employment report, along with other timely reports on unemployment insurance, how job creation reduces the deficit and NUL's 6-point Job Creation Plan are available at the new State of Urban Jobs page.

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