- Post 21 January 2012
- By Associated Press
- Hits: 446
“The central role played by government employment in Black communities is hard to overstate. African Americans working in the public sector earn 25 percent more [than the general population of Black workers]. Government jobs have long been regarded as respectable, stable work for college graduates, allowing many to buy homes, send children to college and achieve other markers of middle class life that were otherwise closed to them.” -Timothy Williams
According to a 2011 study by the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, “Any analysis of the impact to society of additional layoffs in the public sector as a strategy to address the fiscal crisis should take into account the disproportionate impact of reductions in government employment has on the Black community.” Said differently, every time a local, state or national politicians talks about making government smaller, they are talking about eliminating government jobs that employ 25 percent Blacks workforce. During years past, Blacks spoke of racial discrimination in the work place often quoting this tell all phrase “we (Blacks) are the last hired and the first fired.” Now in the interest of saving our economy “good public sector jobs,” once held by Blacks, are being eliminated through budget cuts in government services.
It's important to remember that Blacks have depended upon government jobs since the Reconstruction period when the United States Postal Service hired freed slaves. The relationship continued throughout the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century. During this period, racial discrimination barred Blacks from many private sector jobs, and carried over into the 1960s when government was vastly expanded to provide more services in hospitals, schools, municipal and state protective services, and public transportation.
During the last year while the private sector has added 1.6 million jobs, state and local governments have cut 142,000 jobs added to the 750,000 cut since the beginning of the recession, we see the loss of almost one million public sector jobs. All the data indicates this huge loss of public sector jobs has fallen disproportionately on the Black working and middle-class family. Unless help comes soon, we can expect more layoffs in the immediate future. The USPS - where 25 percent of its work force is Black - has eliminated 220,000 jobs in order to stay afloat. How does Illinois (specifically Chicago) fare with these grim statistics clouding our future? Meredith Whitney of Bloomberg news notes Illinois is tied with New Jersey and Ohio as the second in the worst financial shape.
Thus, one can only expect more painful layoffs on a state level.
Yet, there is always hope and there is a possibility that this dangerous trend can be reversed. What our nation needs is a 'Bail Out of State and Local Government.' And let's not play games with what our government can and cannot do! U.S. Cong. Jesse Jackson said it out loud at the 2012 Rainbow PUSH Coalition King Legacy Breakfast, “We need for our Federal Government to Bail Out State and Local Government.” Opponents to this idea argue that a Federal Bail Out for State and Local governments will cause a constitutional gridlock. But many would counter that argument by noting if the US could spend $800 billion fighting a wasteful and senseless war in Iraq, it can spend $125 billion bailing out our state and local governments. And, if necessary it can continue the Bail Out for as long as it takes to bring about an end to the recession or a complete economic recovery. One thing for sure we will not need to spend another $100 billion in Iraq this year. That Bail Out for Big Oil is over! Why not use the savings to help put Black women, Black men and our Black youth to work?
If a 'State and Local Government Bail Out' happens, immediate layoffs can be avoided and some of those who have lost their jobs can return to work! What better way to restore the America economy than to rebuild her local and state public sector infra structure and services sectors? What better way to strengthen the African-American family than to return its members to work in good paying public sector jobs? What better way to help our under performing Black public school students than to insure they have a competent public sector paid teacher in the class room? What better way to fight inner-city crime than to employ in public sector jobs the five out of 10 youth who are out of work. It is time for We the People to get busy organizing and mobilizing. NOW RUN AND TELL THAT!