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Republicans are on the wrong side of the African-American jobs crisis

Chair of Seiu Healthcare | , L. Toni Lewis | 8/31/2011, 4:38 p.m.
This summer, millions of working families got a front-row seat to the dysfunctional leadership of...
(June 25th, 2009) SEIU Healthcare, and Committee of Interns and Residents members Toni Lewis, MD and Janetta Dominic Cureton, MD lobbied Congressional Offices as part of the HCAN National Day of Action. ~ Washington, DC ~ Photo © 2009 David Sachs / SEIU

This summer, millions of working families got a front-row seat to the dysfunctional leadership of Republicans in Congress, who proved once again that they just don't get it.

The national unemployment rate is 9.1 percent. For African-Americans, the unemployment rate is hovering around 16 percent. Instead of creating solutions for the jobs crisis, Republicans are killing jobs and destroying the American Dream.

Many African-American families are experiencing the most dramatic blows in this economic depression. The unemployment rate is higher than any other group in the country. Incomes for African-American families plunged by more than 83 percent in the past eight years. And, according to the Congressional Black Caucus, Republicans blocked more than 40 bills intended to create jobs that would help uplift African-American communities. They didn't stop there.

Republicans in Congress rewarded big corporations for shipping American jobs overseas, but voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid to protect tax breaks for billionaires and CEOs. Astonishingly, they continue to propose and pass more reckless policies and budget cuts that disproportionately impact people of color.

Thirty million Americans are still looking for work, while Wall Street banks reap record profits and take home big bonuses-they've made over $100 billion since taxpayers bailed them out. The Republican leadership in Congress is doing nothing to help struggling families put food on the table, fill our gas tanks, save our homes from foreclosure and send our children to college.

Working families in this country are fed up with right-wing politicians coming up with new excuses to make budget cuts that kill jobs and put thousands of teachers and police officers in the unemployment line. We're fed up with tax giveaways to big corporations instead of investment in jobs that are the backbone of the American economy. We're fed up with politicians constantly siding with Wall Street bankers and rich CEOs at the expense of working people.

It is clear: Republicans are on the wrong side of the jobs crisis and on the wrong side of the American Dream. As members of Congress head back to their districts for the August recess, working families, including African-Americans, should hold them accountable for failing to create jobs.

This August recess, it's time to tell politicians to reset their priorities and fix the jobs crisis.