Conservative black activist Horace Cooper says there is a good reason the unemployment rate hit an all-time low last month for African-Americans – President Trump’s economic policies.
The unemployment rate fell to 6.8 percent in December, which is the lowest rate ever recorded by Labor Department in the 45 years it has been tracking the statistic.
Cooper – who is a member of the conservative, free-market African-American group Project 21 – told The Daily Signal not only is 6.8 percent the lowest unemployment rate on record, it also represents the narrowest gap between black and white Americans at 3.1 percentage points.
Trump stated on Wednesday that he is “very proud” of the low unemployment, and tweeted earlier in the week, he was “so happy about this news!”
The African American unemployment rate fell to 6.8%, the lowest rate in 45 years. I am so happy about this News! And, in the Washington Post (of all places), headline states, “Trumps first year jobs numbers were very, very good.”
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018
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On the campaign trail, Trump promised a “New Deal for Black Americans,” which included high-paying jobs. “What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump?” the then-candidate asked at rally in Michigan in August 2016.
Cooper said Trump should rightly take credit for the rapid turn of events for African-Americans.
“We saw nothing like that during the Obama administration,” he said. “(F)rom 2009 to 2015, black America’s unemployment rate turned to the worst numbers that we have seen as a community. It was the very policies that he pushed that caused this disparity.”
During much of President Barack Obama’s time in office, the gap between blacks and whites ranged between 6 and 8 percent. It was only well into his second term, after Republicans gained control of both chambers of Congress and put a full stop on Obama’s agenda, the difference began to shrink.
“And it didn’t surprise me, because the policies of President Obama were more focused on handing out food stamps, and assistance, and government handouts, rather than seeing to it that the most important civil rights of all, your right to be independent, your right to be self-sufficient, (were) being honored with policies of limited government. That’s not Obama’s plan,” the scholar stated.
Cooper also pointed out that two million fewer people are receiving food stamps under Trump than Obama due to the improving economy.
The Heritage Foundation’s Genevieve Wood asked Cooper what specifically Trump was doing different than Obama to help the economy, and thereby the economic conditions of minorities.
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“One, he is not bringing new regulations into place, but (two,) he is actually rolling back the bad regulations that we saw before,” replied Cooper. “So businesses are opening up and it turns out the pool of people that are most available right now, because of multiple years of bad regulatory and economic growth, are black Americans.”
“And those people therefore are rushing into the marketplace. This is great news,” he exclaimed.
The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times also credited Trump’s rollback of regulations in creating a new pro-growth business climate, which the Republican tax reform bill passed last month only enhances.
According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Federal Register of rules and regulations is at its lowest page count in a quarter-century.
The calendar year concluded with the register numbering 61,950 pages, down 35 percent from the all-time record set under Obama last year of 95,894 pages. The last time the register was at its current level was 1993.
The National Association of Manufacturers’ fourth-quarter member survey found that nearly 95 percent of respondents said they are positive about their companies’ future, which is the highest level on record for the survey’s 20-year history.
Wood also queired Cooper what he thought of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s and the Democrats’ plans to use Martin Luther King Day to rail against Trump’s economic policies and specifically the new tax law, arguing it is bad for African-Americans.
“Here’s the irony, what the left wants to tell black America is, ‘Who are you going to believe, them or your lying eyes?'” Cooper responded. “If you want to look at your bank account, if you want to look at the value of your home, if you want to make that the test, then you’ll look and you’ll say, ‘Wow, the news is amazing. My uncle, my cousin, even my next-door neighbor, they’re getting jobs that they didn’t have.'”
The writer further pointed out, “When you look at Martin Luther King, most people remember the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. What they don’t recall is that the main reason for the big rally at the Lincoln Memorial (in August 1963) was a jobs program.”
“Black Americans were worried and concerned that there weren’t a lot of great economic opportunities,” Cooper continued. “And that’s how this (March on Washington) got organized. The essence of what black America and the civil rights effort was about was letting people be able to get the kinds of things that control their own lives.”
In 2016, liberal PBS host Tavis Smiley agreed with his fellow African-American’s assessment that the Obama years were not good for blacks from an economic standpoint.
“Sadly, and it pains me to say this, over the last decade black folk, in the era of Obama have lost ground in every major economic category,” Smiley told HuffPost. “Not one, two or three (categories), but every major economic category, black Americans have lost ground.”
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