White House: Here’s How American Jobs Act Will Help African Americans

White House: Here’s How American Jobs Act Will Help African Americans


On the heels of President Barack Obama’s speech to announce the $450 billion American Jobs Act, the White House gave specifics Friday on how the legislation would benefit African Americans, who have an unemployment rate of 16.7 percent.

The roundtable with reporters included Danielle Gray, deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, Marie Johns, deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration, and Ronald Kirk, U.S. trade representative and former mayor of Dallas, Texas.

According to Gray, projections from independent forecasters indicate the American Jobs Act would provide 1.9 million jobs next year.

Gray outlined the four main proposals of the act, which include substantial tax relief for small businesses, primarily by slicing in half their payroll taxes; modernizing and rebuilding America through infrastructure investment (nearly a quarter of the act’s funds would go toward that effort); “an aggressive strategy” to tackle long-term unemployment; and tax relief to workers, achieved in part by extending payroll tax cuts to them.

Other specific provisions of the Act — many which were touted as bipartisan — include extending unemployment insurance benefits; providing $2 billion in subsidizing employment opportunities modeled after the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund; a $35 billion investment to curb layoffs of teachers, firefighters and cops; providing easier access to capital for small businesses and reducing regulatory impositions on these businesses; investing in school infrastructure; providing a tax incentive for employers who hire veterans; and barring discrimination of the unemployed.

The White House believes the American Jobs Act will help African Americans in a number of ways:

  • An estimated 1.4 million unemployed blacks will benefit from extended unemployment insurance, which would continue into 2012.
  • About 20 million black workers will benefit from the extension and expansion of payroll tax cuts.
  • More than 100,000 African American-owned small businesses will benefit from the plan’s reducing employer payroll taxes in half, providing business owners with an added bonus for hiring new employees and extending provisions that provide an incentive for investment.

Kirk said President Obama also believed that a “thoughtful balanced approach to trade is a great way to help us grow our economy,” and said that some of the trade proposals on the table would ensure that trade adjustment assistance was available as a safety net for small businesses.

Johns said President Obama’s plan to help small businesses through the American Jobs Act followed previous legislative measures that have helped small businesses.

According to Johns, the administration’s Recovery Act and Small Businesses Jobs Act enabled the Small Business Administration to put $42 billion in capital in the hands of small businesses.

She acknowledged that economic recovery was “uneven” among African Americans as compared to others but stressed that now was an opportune time to start a small business. She said African American entrepreneurs needed to learn more about resources the SBA provides.

The Obama administration representatives also maintained that the president was in tune to the plight of unemployed African Americans.

“I think the president believes this is a serious problem and the onus is on us to do everything we can to tackle this,” said Gray.

Asked why the president did not mention high minority unemployment in his jobs speech Thursday, Kirk said the president was sympathetic to the plight of minorities but took care to avoid polarization. Kirk maintained that it was his belief that ”substantively our people are sophisticated enough to understand the way the president expressed what he did.”

Kirk emphasized that President Obama’s jobs plan “is one part of his strategy.” The president understands there are “no silver bullets,” Kirk said, but “this is what we can do right now to help address an immediate short term need.”

The trade ambassador also said he believed the president was aware that “we need long term education, infrastructure, in innovation … because that’s where America wins in the global marketplace.”


  1. […] White House: Here's How American Jobs Act Will Help African AmericansPolitic365On the heels of President Barack Obama's speech to announce the $ 450 billion American Jobs Act, the White House gave specifics Friday on how the legislation would benefit African Americans, who have an unemployment rate of 16.7 …House Republican leaders pledge to seek common ground with Obama on his new …Washington PostObama's jobs speech draws 31.4M viewersUSA TodaySmall-Business Owners Respond to Obama PlanNew York Times (blog)Wall Street Journal -BusinessWeek -ABC Newsall 14,283 news articles » […]

  2. I'm sorry, but how many headlines do we read EVERY week about how "economists were surprised by…"? It's the same as "scientists now think…". These speculators are book smart and street dumb.

    I'll stick to the facts from real business owners and people that produce tangible products and services for a living (i.e. not economists, journalists, lawyers)

  3. This entire financial and job mess was created by the people, out of greed and get rich quick mentality. And blaming a Pres. is as stupid as it gets. The Capitalist-Consumerism System is a doomed system over time. As it relies on supply and demand. The planet has finite resources that will run out eventually, and a population growth into the 50 billions, will turn the planet into a starving ant heap. Unless and until there is some world controls in place , Until then these pathetic capitalist-consumerism fiascoes will continue world wide . Regan, Clinton, Bush , Obama can do nothing about that. Still when we have millions of poorly educated masses who can vote if they can read, they will never understand beyond their parochial world, of chewing greasy hamburgers, drinking cheap watery beer and gawking at NFL games every Sunday-Monday, what is really happening on our planet and in our country the USA.. And flag waving solves nothing.but gives the illusion of power that cannot be sustained.

    • Capitalist? Don't talk with your mouth full. Or, do you groe your own food, supply your own fuel, etc? Did you make that computor your typing into? Radio shack? Where did you get the parts?

  4. Obama is gonna go down as one of the worst presidents.
    Blame bush policy and spend till we are broke isn’t working.
    You wanna talk African Americans unemployed, how bout focusing
    all Americans who are. You say republicans need to work with you.
    How much did you work with them when you had the majority.
    Let’s ban special interest groups and lobbyists from paying for elections,
    and let the man run on his own merits. Spending the first 3 years in office
    doing the lobbyists and special interest I.O.U’s for winning me the election is turning this country into a broke down, unuseable commodity. Obama was
    anti war, well where are our troops. I’m pretty sure we have destroyed 1000
    fold in Iraq, Afghanistan, and there we sit. Either country destroyed our buildings.
    Companys came to American for freedom and unity, now they are leaving for the same things. Fine and restrict companys till they feel choked and you wonder why they leave. You want job growth, stop importing walmarts, stop allowing companys to just pack up and leave, stop companys like ATT&t from inflating there prices. Slow down inflation when time are tough. The only thing the price
    of a oil barrel has the do with the little guy is his dwindling pocket book. How about the news report on opening jobs and companys and stop scaring Americans about the losses only. Stop with stock driven markets, how is it a bushel of coffee beans is 20$ one day and 25$ the next. It’s the same coffee as the day before. That make no sense, accept to the big companys and the rich who can actually afford to shift a stock. Only by millions and billions of dollars can it change. The deep blue collar guys has no chance to change his future. He has to risk his life on the whims of what the rich decide. I think ill invest is apples today, driving stock up, getting the little guys excited to invest, the money bags sees the upswing and bails with his fortune and the little guys loses his life savings. Thats the worst idea ever.

  5. […] White House: Here's How American Jobs Act Will Help African AmericansPolitic365Kenneth Mallory, a political correspondent for Politic365, is an award-winning journalist and attorney who has free-lanced for several publications, in addition to serving as a general assignment reporter for the Washington Afro-American Newspaper. …Someone Had To Say ItOpEdNewsTiny, Targeted, and TemporaryNational Review Onlineall 1,032 news articles » […]