PUBLISHED TODAY IN INSIDE NOVA OCT 29TH
By Terrence Boulden
A lot of campaign promises and accusations have been made by Republicans and Democrats during this election season. But there are a few facts that have surprisingly gone largely unnoticed here in Virginia. One major fact is that African-Americans have fallen further behind in nearly every economic statistic since Mark Warner was elected Senator in 2008.
I’ll be the first to say that I think Mark Warner is a nice man. But it’s important that we hold our elected leaders accountable for what they said they would do. The African-American community turned out in record numbers to elect Mark Warner, but where is the return on the investment?
Warner claimed to serve as a bipartisan leader who would work to help lift the economic outcomes of all Americans, but the facts show that this simply hasn’t happen. For example if you look at poverty, the national poverty rate recently decreased to 14.5%, its first drop since 2006. Although the overall rate decreased for America, the poverty rate remained unchanged at an alarmingly high 27.2% for African-Americans. And since 2008, when Mark Warner was elected, Blacks have suffered the greatest in the area of poverty compared to other ethnic groups. The facts show that the poverty rate has increased 2.5% for Blacks, from 24.7% to 27.2%, while it has only increased 1% for Whites, from 8.6% to 9.6%. That’s right! Not only is the poverty rate for Blacks nearly three times more than Whites, poverty has grown at more than twice the rate for Blacks as for Whites since Mark Warner has been Senator.
Take a look at the median household income as another example of how African-Americans have fallen further behind. From 2008 to today, median household incomes for Whites have increased by $2,740, but it has only increased $380 for Blacks during the same period. That means the household median income gap between Blacks and Whites are growing wider under the policies of Sen. Mark Warner.
While the jobs and unemployment picture appears to be doing better across America, with a national rate of 5.9%, this economic outlook looks bleak for our community, as Blacks are experiencing an 11% unemployment rate, which is double that of the White unemployment rate of 5.1%. And while Black Americans are only 10% of the employed population, they are 22% of the long-termed unemployed.
We must hold our elected officials accountable for their campaign promises. This must be true for Republicans and Democrats. Mark Warner’s opponent Ed Gillespie has run a campaign focused on robust economic growth that lifts income, poverty, and job opportunities for everyone, no matter where you’re from or where you live.
Early in his campaign, Gillespie released a detailed five-point policy proposal for Economic Growth (EG2) that would get the economy moving again. His plan focuses on unleashing American energy, tax and regulatory relief, education reform, removing the anti-growth provisions in the health care law, and addressing our national budget crisis.
Go to Ed’s website and study it for yourself. Forget whether he has an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ beside his name at the voting booth. Let’s evaluate the campaign promises of our political candidates and then hold them accountable for their actions. Because African-Americans cannot afford six more years of falling further behind.
Terrence Boulden is President of the Virginia Black Conservatives and lives in Woodbridge.