Reversing the trend of the Clinton era

Jobs and The Economy

The State Of The African American Community

African Americans Dropped Out of the Job Market. The African American unemployment rate went from 10.5 percent in January to 9.8 percent in February, but a record 230,000 African Americans dropped out of the labor market that month. The national unemployment rate currently is 5.6 percent. [Bureau of Labor Statistics,]

African American Unemployment Has Increased Steadily Under Bush. The African American unemployment rate soared by 28 percent since Bush took office in January 2001, reversing the trend of the Clinton era, when African American unemployment declined by 48 percent. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1/09,]

Bush Economy Hits Manufacturing Particularly Hard. The manufacturing industry has lost 2.5 million jobs nationwide since Bush took office in January 2001. Employment for this key sector of the American economy is at its lowest level since October 1958. Of the nearly 3 million private sector jobs lost under Bush, manufacturing losses account for 86 percent. [Bureau of Labor Statistics Release,,]

Jobs Lost in Manufacturing Significantly Contribute to African American Unemployment. The New York Times reported that most African American job losses came in the manufacturing industry. In 2000, there were 2 million African Americans working in factory jobs. Between 2001 and mid-2003, "300,000 factory jobs held by blacks, or 15 percent, have disappeared." [New York Times, 7/12/03]

Under Bush, Up to 700,000 More African Americans Now Live in Poverty. US Census Bureau data indicate that during the Bush presidency, the national poverty rate increased to 12.1 percent and the percentage of African Americans in poverty rose to 24.1 percent in 2002 from 22.7 percent in 2001. According to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Increases in poverty were largest among blacks...The number of blacks who were poor increased by 500,000 or 700,000, depending on which definitional category of blacks is used." [US Census Bureau,; Poverty 2002, 2003pubs/p60-222.pdf; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,, emphasis added]

Under Bush, the Clinton-Era Trend of Declining African American Poverty Rates Has Reversed. The 2002 African American poverty rate marked the first increase in African American poverty since 1992. During the Clinton era, African American poverty dropped to 22.5 percent in 2000 from 33.4 percent in 1992, the lowest African American poverty rate in American history. [US Census Bureau, Historical Poverty Tables,]


left Behind at the Start: Bush Budget Weakens Early Education. Head Start currently serves nearly 1 million children nationwide, about 300,000 of them African American. In addition to early academic instruction, the program also provides food, medical and dental care, and mental health screenings to low-income families. In 2001, 34 percent of children serviced by Head Start were African American. [The Chicago Tribune, 7/25/03; Center for Law and Social Policy,]

Bush Barely Increased Funding To Head Start, Limiting Number of Children Served. Bush's 2005 budget

provides just enough to maintain -- but not increase -- the program's enrollment levels. Given its budget constraints, Head Start currently serves only 60 percent of the total number of children eligible for the program. [House Budget Committee Democratic Caucus, 2/6/04;; Chicago Tribune, 11/2/03]

Bush Budgets Fail To Deliver Mandated Funding For His No Child Left Behind Act. The four budgets Bush has submitted to Congress broke his promise to fully fund No Child Left Behind, falling short by $33.2 billion, including $22.4 billion less for Title I schools. [President's FY 02-05 Budget,]

States Rebuke Bush For Unfunded Educational Mandates. The bipartisan National Governors Association voted unanimously to label Bush's No Child Left Behind Act an unfunded mandate. A November 2003 survey of nearly 2,000 superintendents and principals found that 9 in 10 viewed No Child Left Behind as an unfunded mandate. Between 2002 and 2004, education spending in 35 states was unable to keep pace with increases in inflation and enrollment. [The Wallace Foundation,; Education Week, 1/7/04]

Bush Led Opposition to Affirmative Action Before The U.S. Supreme Court Bush deliberately and wrongly accused the University of Michigan of using a "quota system" for admissions. During his announcement that his administration would oppose the University of Michigan in its affirmative action cases before the Supreme Court, Bush stated that Michigan's admissions policies "amount to a quota system that unfairly rewards or penalizes prospective students based solely on their race." According to the New York Times, Bush's use of the racially charged word "quota" was strategic because of the strong negative reaction the word elicits in polls. The Supreme Court rejected Bush's position, ruling that the Constitution "does not prohibit the law school's narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body." [New York Times, 1/16/03; 6/23/03; United States Supreme Court]

Bush Himself Benefited From Affirmative Action In Admission to College. Bush opposed affirmative action for minority students even though he received a legacy preference in his admission to Yale. As a student at Phillips Andover Academy, Bush earned a "C" average and scored a 1206 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Despite the fact that his academic record and test scores were well below the Yale average, Bush was admitted to Yale under a legacy program that admitted more than two-thirds of alumni sons, "even though a disproportionate number flunked out or were placed on probation." Bush's numeric advantage was greater than those given to minorities at Michigan. [New York Times, 6/23/03; Kristof Op-Ed, New York Times, 1/24/03; Newsday, 1/17/03; Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9/13/02; Yale Book of Numbers Historical Statistics of the College and University 1701 Â- 1976; Newsday, 1/17/03]

84,000 Low-Income Students to Lose Pell Grant Eligibility Under Bush's New Formula. The U.S. Department of Education estimated that 84,000 low-income students will lose their eligibility for Pell Grants under a Bush administration proposal. Bush's plan changed the formula by which eligibility is determined, "making many families appear to have more money available to pay college costs than they really do," thereby reducing the amount of aid they are entitled to. [PIRG Higher Education Project, . asp?id2=7964; Chronicle of Higher Education, 8/1/03]

African American College Students Rely Heavily on Financial Aid to Finance College, Especially As Tuition Costs Skyrocket. According to College Board, tuition and fees at public colleges have increased 35 percent since Bush took office. Black students are "almost three times as likely as whites to come from families living below the poverty level" and "more than 38 percent of all African American undergraduate students receive federal grants, compared to 16.6 percent of white college students." In 1999-2000, 84 percent of African American students graduated with student loan debt, borrowing on average $2,000 more than the typical borrower. Fifty-five percent of African American student borrowers graduated with unmanageable debt, meaning that their monthly repayments are more than 8 percent of their month incomes. [College Board, College Costs 2003,; Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Autumn 2002; US PIRG, The Burden of Borrowing, BurdenofBorrowing.pdf, 3/02]

Pell Grants Are Essential To African American College Students. About 45 percent of African American and Hispanic students at four-year colleges depend on Pell grants, compared to 23 percent of all students. Approximately 4.5 million students currently depend on Pell Grants and "over 70 percent of Pell Grant funds go to students from families with incomes of $20,000 a year or less". [Democratic Education and Workforce Committee, Building a Future for America's Minority-Serving Institutions, 3/22/01; [PIRG Higher Education Project,]


Health Care

Under Bush, The Number of African Americans Without Health Insurance is Rising. In 2002, the number of Americans without health insurance increased for the second consecutive year, to 43.6 million in 2002 from 39.8 million in 2000. The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation reported: "Especially disturbing is that racial and ethnic minorities comprised a disproportionate burden of the uninsured population. Though African Americans are only 12 percent of the population, 20.2 percent of African Americans were uninsured in 2002, up 1.2 percent from the previous year -- the highest one-year percentage increase of all racial and ethnic groups. Twenty-six percent of blacks in poverty were without health insurance year-round." [Census Bureau, Historical Health Insurance Tables, Table HI06, hlthins.html; 9/30/03] [Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Release, 9/29/03]

Prescription Drug Coverage will be Reduced for More Than 1 Million Low-Income African American Seniors Under Bush's Medicare Plan. Under Bush's Medicare legislation, the poorest 6 million American seniors lost their dual eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid, exposing them to substantially higher drug costs. African American seniors comprise 20 percent of this group, meaning 1.2 million will be hurt by the plan. [CPBB Fact Sheet,, 12/11/03; CPBB,, 9/9/03; CPBB,, 12/8/03; Center for American Progress Medicare Roundtable,, 12/4/03, emphasis added]

African American Seniors "More Than Twice as Likely" To Find Prescriptions Unaffordable. In his congressional testimony regarding the Bush Medicare Act, J. Lee Hargraves, an analyst from the Center for Studying Health System Change, reported, "African American Medicare beneficiaries are more than twice as likely to have problems affording prescription drugs." Hargraves further testified that African American seniors, who on the whole are more likely than white seniors to be have lower income, lack supplemental insurance coverage for prescription drugs, and are more likely to suffer from chronic conditions requiring medication. [Congress Daily, 10/16/03]

African Americans Who Rely on Medicare Experience Disproportionately High Levels of Poverty. "While 40 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries have incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, 65 percent of African American beneficiaries fall below 200 percent of the poverty level and 33 percent have incomes that fall below the poverty level itself." In 2003, the poverty level was $8,980 per year per individual. ["Structured Inefficiency," Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, 1/04]

African American Beneficiaries Above 150 percent of the Poverty Level at Particular Risk For Poorer Health Care. 25 percent of African Americans have no supplemental coverage to Medicaid, as compared to 10 percent of whites. Under Bush's Medicare bill, means-testing determines the level of coverage received; therefore, Bush's plan isolates a disproportionate number of African American Medicare recipients who likely have no supplemental insurance but are above 150 percent of poverty and will receive the least coverage under Medicare. "Without assistance to cover this gap, African American beneficiaries lacking other supplemental insurance may be Forced into a risky period of non-coverage. Furthermore, African Americans are more likely to reach the coverage gap faster than whites due to their poorer health status." [Kaiser Family Foundation,; "Structured Inefficiency," Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, 1/04]

Insurance Companies May Not Cover Medication Important to African Americans. Bush's Medicare plan prevents consumers from learning about the types of drugs offered by an insurer prior to selecting a coverage plan. Additionally, insurers may change the list of drugs that they will cover at will, even though enrollees are only allowed to change their plan once a year. The uncertain nature of drug lists is of particular concern to African Americans, who sometimes have different responses than whites to certain types of drugs; for example, African American's with high blood pressure have markedly different responses to antihypertensive drugs like Beta-blockers than white Americans. "Thus, health outcomes and the quality of care for African Americans could be severely compromised by formulary restrictions." Formulary restrictions that would force African Americans to obtain drugs not covered by their Medicare plan "could have an adverse effect on African Americans struggling to afford their share of payments for unique and/or costly medication needs." ["Structured Inefficiency," Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, 1/04]

Bush's Preferential Treatment of HMOs Has "Distinct Racial Implications." Bush's Medicare plan is loaded with perks for private insurers, including HMOs. "The operating norms of HMOs have distinct racial implications that must be considered if private insurers are positioned to play a greater role in providing care to America's seniors ...As private for-profit corporations, HMOs have traditionally sought to achieve greater profit margins by targeting healthier, low cost- clientele and imposing strict controls over access to specialists and utilization of high-cost medical procedures....African American seniors tend to be in poorer health -- disproportionately suffering from chronic conditions that can be costly to treat. Additionally, African American seniors tend to reside in geographical clusters corresponding to racially-stratified residential patterns. As a result there is a possibility that racial discrimination can occur through a process of "medical redlining." ["Structured Inefficiency," Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, 1/04]

Civil Rights

Bush Bypasses Senate to Appoint Charles Pickering To Appeals Court. In the 1960s, attorney Charles Pickering practiced law with active segregationists and as a public official signed on to an open letter affirming his belief in "continuing our Southern way of life." In January, Bush used his power to make recess appointments to name Pickering to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans. Civil rights leaders challenged Pickering's willingness to defend civil rights after Pickering, in 1994, intervened from the bench to reduce the sentence of a Mississippi cross burner found guilty by a jury in his courtroom. [Associated Press,1/16/04; Washington Post, 5/27/03]