Tavis Smiley: Black people have lost ground under Obama

Host Tavis Smiley argues black people have lost ground in every major economic category over the last ten years.

Tavis Smiley: If the Economy Were a Boat U.S. Would be A Dingy

By Economic Indicators

As President Obama nears the end of his second term in office ’50 for Your Future’ author Tavis Smiley weighs in on the impact of the Obama Administration’s economic policies on the American people and African-Americans in particular.

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“The point of the book that I wrote that came out in January, ‘The Covenant with Black America-Ten Years Later,’ we did a version a decade ago, we found that over the last ten years black people have lost ground in every major economic category, in every major category black folks have lost ground,” Smiley told the FOX Business Network’s Stuart Varney.

Smiley explained that even though President Obama’s policies played a role, he did bear all the responsibility for this.

“Clearly one cannot lay that exclusively at the feet of Mr. Obama, there was a headwind and obstructionism, but his most loyal constituency didn’t gain any ground over the last ten years and that saddens me in a way that I can’t even describe,” said Smiley.

Smiley then disagreed with Varney’s claim that African-Americans’ lost economic ground was largely due to core Obama Administration policy of “all government, all the time,” that “didn’t work for anybody.”

“The rich always get richer and the poor get poorer, this gap between the rich and the rest of us continues to expand.  But here is why I like what Bernie Sanders is saying and respectfully here is why I disagree with you.  What we haven’t focused enough on in this country is poverty, income inequality and economic immobility and all three of those things are tied together.  And so the rich and the lucky continue to do better and we continue to talk about trickle down, if the rich do better than the poor do better, a rising tide will lift all boats, that theory just doesn’t hold.

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Then Smiley addressed Varney’s view that government policies focused on “economic growth raises everybody’s boat.”

“I’m all for economic growth but I’m also for fundamental fairness and that is what this country lacks, and so that a rising tide lifts all boats, if you have a boat, but if you’re in a dingy, much less just diddling around in the water than you are really in trouble,” Smiley continued, “you have to have something to rise up in.  And furthermore if the tide comes up too fast, then you get taken under anyway.  So this notion of a rising tide lifts all boats is nuanced in a lot of different ways.”

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