While acknowledging the hard-hit black community and budding criticisms in its ranks, President Barack Obama said in a speech Saturday night to the Congressional Black Caucus that he wouldn’t give up — and urged members of the black community to join him to jump-start the still-sluggish economy.
“I expect all of you to march with me, and press on,” Obama said. “… Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. We are going to press on. We’ve got work to do.”
The unemployment rate among African-Americans is 16.7%, nearly double the national average, while 40% of black children live in poverty. Such facts have made fiscal reforms a priority for caucus members, some of whom — most of them Democrats — have criticized Obama for not doing enough on the issue.
They include Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, who at a caucus “jobs’ tour town hall” in Detroit this month described the unemployment rate among blacks “unconscionable.” She said the strategy to fix it was unclear, adding that the caucus was “getting tired” of waiting for one.
In his speech Saturday, Obama called the situation for many blacks “heartbreaking, and it’s frustrating.” But he also touted achievements of his administration — such as on the earned income tax credit, anti-foreclosure programs and consumer financial protections — for making a difference, while admitting more work lies ahead.
“In these hard years, we have won a lot of fights (and) we’ve done a lot of good,” he said. “But we’ve got more work to do. People are still hurting.”
As to the criticism, the president said that “nobody feels the burden more than I do.” But in a rousing end to his speech, he said he knew addressing problems wasn’t going to be easy.
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Article courtesy cnn.com,
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