Ralph B. Everett, President and CEO Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies issued the following statement
prior to Barack Obama's State of the Union Address:
We look forward to President Obama's State of the Union address as an opportunity to elevate the debate over how to advance the recovery, bring reforms to areas of government where they are needed and, over time, rein in the deficit. This is particularly important at a time when some are proposing policies that would do far-reaching harm to our economy and to the nation at large.
All Americans have an enormous stake in the outcome of this debate, and particularly in the President's success in rallying the country behind a sensible and effective course of action.
Before the recession started, communities of color lagged behind the rest of the country across a wide range of economic and social indicators – from jobs and housing to education and health care. These communities were hit hardest by job losses during the economic downturn, and they have been slower to regain their footing as the recovery has begun to take hold. And they stand to suffer the worst of the collateral damage should the economy go back into recession.
Accordingly, Congress would be well-advised to work with the President in crafting approaches that address fiscal concerns in ways that do not abandon the competitiveness-enhancing investments that must be made in areas such as our national transportation infrastructure and in our education system, as well as those directed at generating economic opportunity in long-neglected neighborhoods. We expect that the President will make job creation the centerpiece of his State of the Union address, and Congress should join him in that endeavor.
The President has already demonstrated that the right balance of policies and investments can stem a historic recession and put the country on the path to recovery. Going forward, the primary goal should be to keep it going and take additional measures to ensure that opportunity and prosperity take hold in every community. While reducing deficits is a vitally important goal, it is best achieved over time and from a position of economic strength that an expanding recovery will deliver.
We look for President Obama to forcefully make that case in the State of the Union.
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation's leading research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses primarily on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color.