As reported by Agence-France Presse (AFP): African Americans are worse off and have less access to health care than white Americans this year compared to 2010, an annual report released Thursday says. In the 35th annual “State of Black America” report, the National Urban League (NUL) said African Americans have slid down on an “equality index” that ranks blacks against white Americans on issues ranging from income, home ownership, access to loans and health insurance, and education. Black America fell to 71.5 percent on the equality index in 2011 compared to 72.1 percent last year, largely because of the slumping US economy, the NUL said.
The Permanent Economic Crisis: Updated Coverage of Financial Power and Inequality
While much of the U.S. is now forced to hear of an economic crisis few are aware or concerned with the permanent economic crisis for African America and the African world. This Black American “permanent recession” is often hard to identify because of repeated references to a mythology of “buying power“ meant to convey an economic strength which simply does not exist. A focus on colonialism or the colonial model does help to identify this as part of a wider permanent crisis facing us all. No one escapes being connected to the rest and all are subject to the interwoven relationships between wealth, income and power.
Update! April 2011
The recently-released “State of Black America” report from the National Urban League shows yet again the worsening conditions for Black and other “Americans.” As reported by Agence-France Presse (AFP): “African Americans are worse off and have less access to health care than white Americans this year compared to 2010, an annual report released Thursday says. In the 35th annual “State of Black America” report, the National Urban League (NUL) said African Americans have slid down on an “equality index” that ranks blacks against white Americans on issues ranging from income, home ownership, access to loans and health insurance, and education. Black America fell to 71.5 percent on the equality index in 2011 compared to 72.1 percent last year, largely because of the slumping US economy, the NUL said.”
Update! March 29, 2011
- According to a new report form the Economic Policy Institute there was, quite naturally, a worsening of existing wealth disparities as the result of the most recent recession. For instance, “For African Americans, the picture is dramatically worse. In 2009, 39.9% of African-American households had zero or negative net worth. The median net worth of black households was $2,200 in 2009, the lowest ever recorded, while the median net worth among white households was $97,900, or 44.5 times that of black households. Finally, from 2007 to 2009, average black wealth declined by 37%, compared to 28% for white wealth over the same time period.”
Update! March 2011
- It’s the Inequality, Stupid! This is the title of new coverage to the issue of wealth (mal)distribution in this country. As they summarize in the story at MotherJones.com, “A huge share of the nation’s economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31, 244.”
Update! November 2010
- Dedrick Muhammad again takes aim at the racial-wealth divide using Washington, D.C. as his most recent example of the problem. “The DC Fiscal Policy Institute notes that in Washington DC the average household income for the richest fifth increased by 81% or $78,900 from 1980 to 2006. For the middle fifth there was an increase of 31% or $11,000 and for the poorest fifth only a 3% increase equaling $400. In over 25 years, the richest of DC increased their household income by almost $80,000, while the poorest saw their increase disappear by spending an extra dollar a day over one year. Similarly, from 1980 to 2005 over 80% of the total increase in all of America’s income went to the top 1 percent.”
- Paul Jay of The Real News Network says during an interview with Robert McChesney of Media Matters that for workers’ wages to have the buying power of those in the 1970s the current average hourly wage of roughly $13 would have to be raised to $55.
UPDATE! May 2010
“The gap between Black and white household wealth quadrupled from 1984 to 2007, totally discrediting the conventional wisdom that the U.S. is slowly and fitfully moving towards racial equality, or some rough economic parity between the races. Like most American myths, it’s the direct opposite of the truth. When measured over decades, Blacks are being propelled economically downward relative to whites at quickening speed, according to a new study by Brandeis University.”
UPDATE! April 2010
- Barack Obama has said that Africa cannot blame Western imperialism for its current crises. But a new report shows that this so-called African “corruption” only accounts for “3%” of the “trillion pounds” pillaged from the continent and expatriated to the West. It is to be hoped that he reads it and offers a public apology followed by massive and substantive policy changes that work towards reparations.
- More than £1tn may have flowed out of Africa illegally over the last four decades, most of it to western financial institutions, according to a new report.
- “Even using conservative estimates, the continent lost about $1.8tn (£1.18tn) – meaning Africans living at the end of 2008 had each been deprived of an average of $989 (£649) since 1970, according to the US-based research body Global Financial Integrity (GFI).
- The report says globally in recent years much attention has been focused on corruption – the proceeds of bribery and theft by government officials – and this only makes up about 3% of the cross-border flow of illicit money around the world. The proceeds of commercial tax evasion, mainly through trade mis-pricing, contribute 60% to 65% of the global total, while drug trafficking, racketeering and counterfeiting make up 30% to 35%. The report says Africa’s percentages are likely to be roughly the same.”
UPDATE! October/December 2009
- World Socialist Website “The new Forbes 400: Provocative wealth amidst social misery“
The 400 richest Americans have so far weathered the second year of the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression with a combined $1.27 trillion, according to Forbes magazine’s annual list. The “provocative wealth” of the 400 richest Americans is indeed obscene. Global wealth imbalance, or the “misallocation” of resources, continues in the hardest times to worsen. “And the combined wealth of the Forbes 400 is larger than the GDP of India, the world’s 12th largest economy, and home to 1.2 billion people.” Closer to home, in this nation’s capital, this wealth imbalance appears as a Black unemployment rate (49%) which is the highest in the world.
Update! September 2009
- Democracy Now! “The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today”
Amy Goodman spoke with Kevin Bales, a leader in the abolition movement to end modern-day slavery and co-author of The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today. Bales estimates some 27 million people labor as slaves today—more than at anytime in history. Bales has also helped expose modern-day slavery in the United States, where he estimates between 14,000 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the country each year. He writes, “There has never been a single day in our America, from its discovery and birth right up to the moment you are reading this sentence, without slavery.”
UPDATE! June/July 2009
- The Socialist Worker: How the other 0.00000003 percent lives
“The 10 percent of Americans who rely on food stamps, the 25 percent of Ohioans who are waiting in lines at food banks, the 500,000 people who lost their jobs last month and the millions more who can’t find work–these people aren’t laughing.” Contrast this versus the top 10 wealthiest people, the .000000003%.
- The Nation: Race and Extreme Inequality
“Since 1968, the year Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the income gap between blacks and whites has narrowed by just three cents on the dollar. In 2005 the median per capita income in the United States stood at $16,629 for blacks and $28,946 for whites.”
- The Nation: The Rich and the Rest of Us
“We will never achieve social and economic justice for those at the bottom of our economic pyramid until we tackle wealth concentration at the top…. The richest 1 percent of Americans currently hold wealth worth $16.8 trillion, nearly $2 trillion more than the bottom 90 percent. A worker making $10 an hour would have to labor for more than 10,000 years to earn what one of the 400 richest Americans pocketed in 2005.” See this described HERE by Noam Chomsky in terms of a “virtual parliament” where elite investors have international “veto” power in their ability to punish “democracies” which move nations in directions which hurt their profit-making.
UPDATE! March, 2009
- The National Urban League State of Black America Report
The 2009 Equality Index stands at 71.1% compared to a revised 2008 index of
71.5%. Relative to 2008, the change in this year’s overall index was marginal, indicating a general continuation of the status quo. Economics remains the area with the greatest degree of inequality (from 57.6% in 2008 to 57.4% in 2009), followed by social justice (from 62.1% to 60.4%), health (from 73.3% to 74.4%), education (from 78.6% to 78.5%) and civic engagement (from 100.3% to 96.3%).
UPDATE: January 3, 2009
- Who Will Get the 2.5 Million New Jobs? Dr. Ron Walters
While we cannot understand his being “mystified” by inaction when it comes to addressing Black unemployment we do understand Walters’ description that such levels have “always been a crisis.” It is an important question he raises whether or not Obama’s claims to a nationwide jobs increase will help African America. History, economics and the necessity of poverty suggest not. Read the entire story here.
UPDATE: December 18, 2008
As we continue to monitor events related to this issue we find a new report which helps provide more context for understanding the role poverty plays in maintaining disparities both in material wealth and, more importantly, power. African poverty (externally and internally within the U.S.) must be sustained. As summarized in a statement by engineer George Rich whose wealth was largely derived by siphoning raw materials from the African continent, “If you ever intend to have children, and want them to live prosperous lives, you damn well better make sure that we control the African continent” (p. 223). And according to a recent report from the Institute for Policy Studies:
“While the U.S. Treasury Secretary moved quickly to request help for desperately ailing financial firms, he refused to impose strict limits for executive compensation at the bailed-out firms. The top nine U.S. banks, all of which will receive cash infusions from the government, paid their chief executives a combined total of $289 million last year. That sum is more than twice the value of all U.S. aid in 2007 to the five African countries at the bottom of the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index.”
See more and download the entire report: Skewed Priorities
UPDATE: September 18, 2008
A recent study released by the Economic Policy Institute shows that in the years preceding the current national crisis African America devolved economically from 2000 – 2007. And in the diaspora a new film by Danny Glover, Bamako, – a film he and his colleagues have struggled to make and continue to struggle to distribute – describes a similar permanent crisis facing the African continent. New discussions, with different and new subjects, must lead to similar organization and wildly different results. Why not start here or perhaps with the 4th World?
Compiled by Jared Ball