Tag Archives: economy

President Obama: Surface Transportation Reauthorization is Critical to America’s Future

The White HouseToday President Obama held an event at the White House urging a bi-partisan push by Congress to extend a critical piece of legislation — the federal surface transportation authorization.

On September 30, the current surface transportation authorization, which serves as the blueprint for transportation investment in America, is set to expire.  It is crucial that we maintain the current investment in the nation’s roads, sidewalks, trails, and transit ways in order to keep buses and trains running, and keep the people who maintain and drive the vehicles working.

In his remarks the President highlighted how essential infrastructure investments are to supporting America’s economic recovery, noting that Congress’ failure to extend the authorization would cost thousands of jobs. Additionally, a ten day delay in reauthorizing would result in a $1 billion loss (or $100 million for each day it is delayed).

PolicyLink applauds the President for recommending immediate renewal of the existing surface transportation authorization in order to sustain our existing efforts to connect Americans to opportunity.

Millions of Americans rely exclusively on public transit, walking, or biking to get to work, to the doctor’s office, to school, and to the grocery store. Nearly 20 percent of African American households, 14 percent of Latino households, and 13 percent of Asian households live without a car.

At a time when approximately 80 percent of transit agencies are implementing fare increases and service cuts, the nation must prioritize investment in transportation to ensure that Americans are not left stranded without transportation options.

Given that today marks 700 days since the existing surface transportation legislation expired, we urge the President and Congress to also work together to enact a new surface transportation authorization that:

  • Creates affordable transportation options for all people;
  • Ensures fair access to quality jobs, workforce development, and contracting opportunities in the transportation industry;
  • Promotes healthy, safe, and inclusive communities; and
  • Invests equitably and focuses on results.

This approach is both equitable and smart — for every $1 invested in public transportation, $4 in economic returns are generated.

Our nation’s very future is at stake.  We must make sure that our transportation investments help all Americans participate and prosper.

To support these principles and engage in activities to promote a more equitable approach to transportation investment, join the Equity Caucus at Transportation for America.

New from “America’s Tomorrow:” Our Cities, Our Communities, Our Nation (VIDEO)

New from “America’s Tomorrow:” Our Cities, Our Communities, Our Nation (VIDEO)

In the first video installment of the PolicyLink multimedia series “America’s Tomorrow: Equity in a Changing Nation,” PolicyLink Founder and CEO Angela Glover Blackwell spoke with Manuel Pastor about the breadth of the nation’s changing demographics and what it means for equity.

Today’s video features an interview with Angela and Fred Blackwell, who is executive director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (SFRA).  In the interview, they look closely at the decline of African American populations in major metro areas like San Francisco, New York, St. Louis, and Chicago, and what it means for the future of America’s cities and communities.

Please watch their short conversation and tell us what impact you think these new demographic realities will have below in the comments section.








Changing the Odds for America’s Boys and Men of Color

Changing the Odds for America’s Boys and Men of Color

Today in Sacramento PolicyLink will deliver testimony at the California Assembly Select Committee hearing on the Status of Boys and Men of color to address the critical barriers impacting African American and Latino male youth across the state and the U.S.

Compared to other ethnic groups, young boys and men of color in America are more likely to:

  • Have far less access to quality schools, teachers and after-school programs that provide safe spaces to learn and play
  • Encounter disproportionately harsh disciplinary and punitive practices and policies
  • Experience severely high levels of poverty, joblessness, incarceration, and violence

These statistics reveal a national crisis about which PolicyLink Founder and CEO Angela Glover Blackwell and Maria Echaveste, former Deputy Chief of Staff for President Clinton, had this to say:

“Our convictions derive from on-the-ground observations of what’s happening to the most marginalized, as well as the lived experiences of black men and boys with whom we are intimately familiar.

“We wouldn’t dare let a 10-year-old African American kid leave home in pants sagging way lower than they should; no matter that his white classmates in “cool” Berkeley do the same without being stereotyped or stunted.

“We hear the angst and frustration of a nephew, locked up when he was 16 for committing the sort of crime for which a white teen is remanded to community service: ‘Tia,’ says he, now 30, ‘I’m trying to do better but I can’t get a job. When they hear I have a record …’

“For us, the personal, professional and policymaking are bound together. We are emboldened as mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts and advocates by what our kin have endured, even as we push for truly at-risk males from other families of color to get a fairer chance.”

You can read more in today’s Sacramento Bee opinion section.



Angela Glover Blackwell Speaks Out on America’s Widening Racial Wealth Gap

Startling news is making headlines this week as the Pew Research Center’s analysis of new Census data has revealed that America’s racial wealth gap has worsened due to the economic recession and an “uneven recovery.” The findings show that whites on average have 20 times the net worth of African Americans and 18 times that of Latinos.

In response, PolicyLink Founder and CEO Angela Glover Blackwell issued the following statement:

“The Pew Research Center’s analysis of America’s growing racial wealth gap is alarming and a trend that economic and social equity advocates have long known to be a significant problem, not just for people of color but also for the nation. Analysts have already predicted an aggregate wealth loss in African-American and Latino communities of over a quarter of a trillion dollars between 2009 and 2012 due to the foreclosure crisis, resulting in a whole generation of Americans of color that won’t have the security provided by a good job, quality education, affordable health care, or owning a home.

“By 2042, people of color will be the majority in America – already the majority of children under age two are of color. This means children born today will be mid-career by then. We must begin today to build the foundation of tomorrow’s America by making targeted investments that will enable all to prosper, and lifting up equity as the superior growth model for the nation.”

Blackwell also spoke with American Urban Radio Network yesterday about this racial wealth gap, changing demographics and other issues as explored the new PolicyLink multimedia series “America’s Tomorrow: Equity in a Changing Nation.” You can listen to the entire segment below.

What do you think this widening racial wealth gap means for America’s future? Is there a relationship between that and our growing racial and generation gap? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Angela Glover Blackwell Interview with American Urban Radio by PolicyLink


We Can’t Slash Our Way to Prosperity

We Can’t Slash Our Way to Prosperity

We cannot slash our way to prosperity.

Yet, in the face of ongoing joblessness and economic hardships for low-income Americans, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform has put harsh cuts to domestic investments ahead of much-needed job growth strategies – a recipe for destabilizing a fragile economic recovery and putting true fiscal stability farther out of reach.

Poor people and people of color have been hit first and worst by the recession – and the cuts proposed by the co-chairs would only make things worse for them. The backs of America’s poor are nearly breaking — now is not the time to pile on more cuts.

Even as the co-chairs propose to push off retirement to age 69, they were silent on whether to extend a $700 billion tax giveaway for America’s wealthiest. Even as the co-chairs propose an arbitrary revenue cap on a growing, aging nation, they call for lower corporate taxes and eliminate critical tax credits that support equitable development in our communities.

Getting Americans back to work and growing our economy should be job number one. We must build tomorrow’s economic foundation today. To that end, there are some noteworthy suggestions in the report. Imposing a 15-cent gas tax increase could both reduce the deficit and improve and expand our crumbling transit systems. Trimming the bloated Department of Defense budget is also long overdue. The co-chairs also voiced welcome support for an infrastructure bank to help leverage private dollars to build truly 21st Century transit systems, electrical grids, and other infrastructure. It would have been nice to see more far-sighted investments like these in the report.

It is crucial that we balance economic growth with well-considered cuts and tax increases. We must tackle our long-term debt issues, but the short-term economic recovery must take precedence. With the right mix of smart investment and –when prudent — spending cuts, shared prosperity is just over the horizon, if we lift our eyes to see it.

Got ideas for ensuring America’s economic future? Share them in the comments.

Week 6: Equity is the Superior Growth Model

Week 6: Equity is the Superior Growth Model

Read the Chapter 3 ExcerptLast night’s election doesn’t change the reality of America’s future. Without a focus on equity, the future is bleak — no matter who’s in office.

Even as we navigate a difficult political environment, we must remember that equity is crucial to our nation’s fortunes in the decades ahead.

To compete in the 21st century economy, we must create an America where all people are enlisted and empowered to push our economy forward.

Just as our physical infrastructure is crumbling, so, too, is our community infrastructure — the people and places that make America. We need investments in health and housing and education that strengthen all communities, especially the ones that have been left behind for decades.

Simply, equity is the superior growth model.

For the final week of the Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club, we look at how to ensure growth is equitably felt in all communities. Today’s starter questions.

People of color will be the American majority by 2050. What would a truly equitable America look like in 2050?

How do we make that America a reality?

Thank you to the more than 5,000 people who have visited the book club over the past six weeks — and the hundreds who have shared their thoughtful perspectives on race and America’s future.

The hunger for this type of conversation was clear. If you want to help us figure out what’s next for this effort, please comment (with a valid email address) down below.

Thank you for participating,
Angela Glover Blackwell

Week 4: Immigration, Incarceration, and Climate Change

Week 4: Immigration, Incarceration, and Climate Change

Read the Chapter 3 ExcerptWe know that the challenges facing all Americans are often felt even more acutely in communities of color – from the obvious (immigration, education, incarceration) to the less obvious (metropolitan growth, climate change).

In our changing nation, these challenges may be different, deeper and more complex than the questions of overt discrimination that occupied attention in an earlier era.

For Week 4 of the Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club, we look at some of the urgent challenges facing our communities. Today’s starter questions:

How do we better integrate immigrants equitably into the American economy and civic life?

How can communities of color work together to bring down the sky-high incarceration rate, especially among boys of color?

Where you live often has the biggest impact on your access to opportunity. How can we focus on the necessary work of improving entire regions without losing sight of the particular challenges facing low-income communities?

Thank you for joining the conversation today.

–Manuel Pastor

Week 3: Race and the Economy

Week 3: Race and the Economy

Read the Chapter 3 ExcerptThe national economic debate has focused on the divide between Main Street and Wall Street. But nobody seems to talk about the crisis on Martin Luther King Boulevard and Cesar Chavez Avenue.

Last week’s unemployment numbers show the depth of economic crisis in communities of color. The jobless rate among blacks is nearly double that among whites (16.1% versus 8.7%). More than one in four Latinos now live in poverty. The recession is not colorblind.

For Week 3 of the Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club, we look at how race and the economy interact. Today’s starter questions:

1. What do you think explains the persistent economic gap between white people and people of color?

2. What would you like to see President Obama do to address the economic needs of people of color?

Thank you for joining the conversation today.

– Manuel Pastor

When does THIS become the story?

When does THIS become the story?

Today’s new unemployment numbers were ambiguous enough to give each side of the political debate something to chew on. Overall, payrolls fell by 95,000 jobs, thanks to cuts in local government and federal Census jobs. But private sector hiring actually increased by 64,000 jobs.

But this macro-scale look at the problem obscures the real, continuing, and terrible disparities between and among demographic groups. You can read the details here, but the chart should tell it all: