Are we ‘The Worst Generation?’

Filed under COLUMNISTS, OPINION

00-haroldalfordIt appears that a major stock market correction is on its way and the world’s economy is going to take a nosedive. America, being the wealthiest nation, has the most to lose.

The Great Recession started in 2008 and the recovery is very anemic. We tried to address it with the stimulus project, but that was a failure by some accounts.

We were $17 trillion in debt and we threw another $1 trillion up against the wall. Few on Capitol Hill and the White House seem to care about that.

The amount of Americans living in poverty is at record levels and there is no end in sight.

Why?

What is the main reason for Black unemployment? Let’s start with the U.S. Department of Labor.

It is in charge of the enforcement of Executive Order 11246 (affirmative action). For decades, this agency has neglected its duty, particularly in the construction industry.

There are trade unions in construction that ignore Executive Order 11246. Consequently, we have construction unions that discriminate against Blacks, Hispanics and women without any reprisals or penalties from the Department of Labor.

The agency knows this and does nothing about it. Our civil rights groups see it and do nothing but take union sponsorship money. Our elected officials, including Black ones, are afraid of the union muscle and sell out our potential workers.

We need jobs
There’s publicity about “Silicon Valley” discriminating against Blacks in the tech industry. Where is the publicity about “shovel-ready” construction jobs that most people can perform?

It gets worse. The Obama administration is trying to boost the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Doing that will multiply unemployment in our communities. Small businesses will not be able to hire as many people when the minimum wage is beyond their reach.

Education is a key reason for people rising above poverty and despair. Forget about that, if the Gainful Employment Rule is implemented by the U.S. Department of Education. That rule will reduce college education opportunities for at least 40 percent of the Black students in America.

Also, the reduction in funding of Historically Black Colleges and Universities is going to have a very negative impact on educational opportunities for our children.

The most proven way to wealth building is home ownership. The two biggest reasons for the existence of home ownership has been the activity of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These institutions would guarantee the funding of homes for individuals and families. But now, the administration is trying to dissolve Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

How will Americans be able to finance home ownership and build wealth? They won’t.

Shrinking military
The belief that America is strong is good for our economy. So why are they shrinking our military to pitiful levels? As Russia and China are building their military, we seem to be surrendering our strength at the expense of our liberty.

We couldn’t deal with Syria, so ISIS seized a major portion of the Middle East. We ran out of Iraq like we were scared of “bad boys” and it is costing us peace. We are flirting with Iran, a country that has supplied weapons to our enemies in order to kill our troops. We look like punks. No nation is giving us respect.

We need to restore our pride. We must invest in our infrastructure and create business opportunities that will result in jobs by the millions. In my 68 years of life, I have never witnessed my beloved America in such a weak and confused state.

Let’s end this poverty and embrace pure capitalism. Our time is getting short and we better turn things around. We owe it to the next generations of America. The generation before us is known as “The Greatest Generation.” Will history refer to us as “The Worst Generation?”

Harry C. Alford is the co-founder and president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

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