Black America and Obama's Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

The cover of this week's edition of The Final Call

The words of Henrietta Hughes captured the attention of many, when in a quivering voice almost in tears at a February 10th town hall meeting in Fort Myers, Florida, she asked Pres. Barack Obama about his American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Ms. Hughes said she had an “urgent need” because she was unemployed, homeless and her family had been living in a car for the past few months. Pres. Obama said he would help Ms. Hughes, and she immediately received assistance from Florida Rep. Nick Thompson and his wife Chene who offered the family a home to live in rent free for as long as needed.

The situation for Ms. Hughes and her family appears to have been resolved, however, her nationally televised emotional appeal represents the terrible anxiety and tremendous suffering being experienced by many whose faces we have not seen and whose names we do not know.

Beginning in early 2008, and continuing throughout the year, The Final Call consistently reported on the reality of America’s economic downturn and specifically, what it means for Black and Latinos. At a time when the Bush administration would not even admit that the American economy was in a recession, The Final Call asked the provocative question “Is the Worst Yet to Come?”

At that time, America was only witnessing the beginning of increased financial woes. The near collapse of Bear Stearns prompted an emergency bail out by the Federal Reserve and JP Morgan Chase & Co. Allegations of financial irresponsibility swirled around HSBC, Countrywide Financial Corporation and other prominent mortgage lenders. Well known companies such as Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, UBS, Goldman Sachs and others at the very high end of financial wealth management suffered heavy losses, and financial lenders and investors, and analysts were struggling for answers.

Almost a year later, America’s economy has continued its downward spiral. The nation has watched as all of the pillars of the America’s economy fall down. America’s housing market remains in critical condition, the “Big Three” American automakers, Ford, Chrysler and GM are struggling to survive, and even more financial lending institutions are facing insolvency. Companies are shedding workers in record numbers resulting in massive layoffs nationwide.

In the book "A Torchlight for America" the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan wrote: “Most politicians are afraid to tell the full extent of the truth that America has seriously mortgaged her future, and that to reduce the deficit will require a great sacrifice.”

Since taking the Oath of Office on Jan. 20, many credit President Obama with delivering truthful, sobering assessments regarding America’s economic crisis, and what steps need to be taken by the American people to get out of it.

Most recently, Pres. Obama, speaking to employees at a Caterpillar plant in East St. Louis, Illinois on Feb. 12 said, “We’ve got to spend some money now to pull us out of this recession. But as soon as we’re out of this recession, we’ve got to get serious about starting to live within our means, instead of leaving debt for our children and our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren,” said Pres. Obama. “The road ahead is not an easy one. Some of our plans might not always work out exactly the way we’d like. Our recovery will likely be measured in terms of years and not months.”

Pres. Obama was speaking about the recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that he signed on Tuesday, February 17th.

His real talk is refreshing after eight years of the Bush administration's obfuscation of facts and outright lies. He has repeatedly called for swift investment in job creation and has discussed assistance for those currently without work, health insurance and in danger of losing their homes.

In this week's edition of The Final Call, we analyze the economic recovery plan, and what it means for Black America.

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