Restoring Upward Mobility for All Americans

Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 12:47 PM

By Tara Wall

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We are facing a choice this November that will have consequences for America — and especially urban America — for the next century.
 
We have a historic president who promised us the world. But here we are, four years later – and we are far from it. 

Today, nearly one in six Americans — 46 million people — are living in poverty, the highest poverty rate in a generation. Right now, the national unemployment rate is 7.8 percent. The condition for minorities, detailed in a recent study by the National Urban League, is even worse.

But we don’t need the study to see what is in front of our eyes: Among black Americans, unemployment is 13.4 percent — and nearly 40 percent of black youth live in poverty.

Two million more Hispanic Americans live in poverty than when President Barack Obama took office and over 2.4 million are unemployed. And the number of women in poverty is at its highest level in 17 years.

We are nowhere close to the promised recovery — and we shouldn’t be surprised.

A cycle of government dependency doesn’t get people back to work or give them the dignity and respect they deserve. After fighting for the last 30 years to reach economic quality, we are sliding backward. 

The Urban League's study shows that almost all the financial gains that the black middle class made during the past three decades have now been wiped out. As Americans, we all need to pause and reflect on this calamitous situation. 

We can’t allow our country to become one where it is easier to get a government subsidy than it is to find a job. We need to make it easier for people to support themselves.

It is clear that under Obama’s leadership, Black America is not moving upward. We have seen more than an 11 percent decline in our annual household income over the last four years, according to Census data.

The Pew Charitable Trusts recently issued a report estimating that 68 percent of black middle-class children will not do as well as their parents. We are watching the decline right now. And that should provoke outrage.

We are not a community that relishes dependency on government. We’ve seen the demoralizing effects up close.

My own maternal grandmother, forced to raise five children alone in the 1950’s, made a point of not wanting the government’s help to do it.
 
And the choice between dependency and opportunity is very much on the ballot this November. The last four years demonstrate that proposition with terrible force.

Liberal trickle-down government is what Barack Obama has offered. If re-elected, he is promising four more years of the same.

As long as so many of our best people are unable to find work, we will be trapped in a cycle of downward mobility and government dependency.

America — and not just Black America — needs a shift in direction to an economic order in which every citizen can fulfill his or her dream. 

The only pathway to that objective is the pathway of economic growth. Republican nominee Mitt Romney understands this moral imperative and what it takes to get us back on the path of economic prosperity.

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan summed it up in Cleveland Wednesday when he said: “Wherever we are in life, whether we are rich or poor, black, brown, or white, American by chance or by choice, we are one nation, rising or falling together.”

Let us rise together this November.

Tara Wall is a veteran journalist who writes from an urban-conservative perspective. A former George W. Bush appointee and director at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families, she is a senior media adviser to the Romney/Ryan campaign.

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