In this article the Guardian's Gary Younge argues the presidency of Barack Obama has done little for American blacks economically. Psychologically, however, things have never been better. Younge ascribes this to the fact that Obama is not a product of the black community and therefore is incapable of either empathising or identifying with the needs of the average black American.
Barack Obama and the paradox behind his African American support base | Gary Younge | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
Younge is correct insofar as, economically speaking, blacks are worse off after four years of Obama, but the primary reason he cites for this - that Obama doesn't fight hard enough for black America - is nonsense.
First, the reason for poor economic prospects is America has experienced the largest economic collapse since the 1930s, but this was not Obama's fault. And, thanks primarily to actions to stabilise the economy taken by his administration, things are starting to turn around. Jobs are being created once more; employment prospects are beginning to improve for all socio-economic groups.
Secondly, the executive branch is at the mercy of congress when it comes to spending money on housing, social security and similar programmes which massively influence poverty rates, never mind creating something new to help the poor. Republican congressmen and congresswomen, fearful of being challenged by well-funded Tea Party candidates in their next primaries, refuse to compromise with the White House over such banalities as raising the debt ceiling (which covers already agreed upon spending). Agreement on new government spending on social programmes is a non-runner.
And this is how things will proceed. After the election the fiscal cliff looms large. If a deal can't be completed the federal government is going to shrink fast, with automatic cuts which will slash economic growth by four percent and put two million out of work. If Mr Younge thinks poverty amongst blacks is high now, he's in for a shock with what's to come. Unless the Democrats take congress, Obama's presidency will indeed be defined by black poverty, but not for lack of trying.