Rep. Allen West said Tuesday presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is correct in his assessment that President Barack Obama has ignored the problem of black unemployment, and the Florida Republican believes that anyone should be able to point out the particular jobless plight of the population segment.
“Well, he [Gingrich] is absolutely right — when you look at the statistics and the facts speak for themselves, the national average of unemployment right now is 8.5 percent — in the black community, it’s 15.8 percent, and that's down from close to being 17 percent,” West told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “For black adult males, it’s 16.4 percent unemployment, and for black teenagers . . . it’s 40.7 percent.
“As a matter of fact, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus once said that if anyone else was in the White House other than President Obama, we’d be marching on the White House,” West said. “So we do have a problem — and I think that we have a greater problem in the United States of America when we believe that only certain people can talk about certain issues. This is a big issue for all of America.”
Van Susteren asked West what Obama could be doing differently to address the African American unemployment crisis.
“Well, I think that you need to look at what you could do differently for unemployment all across the United States of America with the right type of tax policies that will incentive growth — especially for our small businesses — and that will help in the inner city,” West said. “You have to look at also the regulatory policies that can help those businesses to be able to thrive. You look at Dodd-Frank and the fact that a lot of our small community banks are not able to lend the proper money . . . to start up small businesses, which is what I’m hearing down in my district.
“And then there are several other things that he can look at: How we can incentive, you know, other people to look at black businesses and with lower capital gains taxes and dividends, returns, so that you can once again incentivize those things to happen — but we’re not,” he continued. “You know, I think it was pretty offensive when the president stood up before the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and told them to take off their bedroom slippers and put on their marching boots and get out there and work for him. Well, right now, we’re not seeing a president that’s working for that black community, which I think about 97 percent voted for him in 2008.”
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