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An open letter to the candidates.

Dear Presidential Candidate:

Congratulations on receiving your Party's nomination for the highest-elective office in our country. I am sure you will make every effort to explain how you will make our country better if you are elected.

I am also sure you will make a conscientious effort to persuade the African-American community to support your candidacy. For that reason, I strongly encourage you to answer these four questions when you speak to African-American audiences.

* How can you assure a satisfactory rate of economic growth during the next four years?

Our economy is now tottering feebly in its recovery from the 1990-91 recession. Most economists expect growth as measured by real gross domestic product, to be in the neighborhood of 2.5% to 3% during 1992. Such a low rate of growth will not be enough to spur significant job creation, reduce unemployment, expand profits or generate sufficient revenues to make even a modest in our deficit problem. Equally important, slow growth will not generate the conditions necessary to address our nation's problem of racial inequality.

* What is your goal for job creation during the next four years?

Although the American labor force is growing more slowly now than during the past decade, we still need many new jobs to accommodate the needs of young people, adults who are working longer and the increasing number of immigrants. In order to meet these demands, we need at least 25 million new jobs over the next four years. These jobs would reduce the high unemployment and dislocation caused by downsizing in American companies.

* What will you do to narrow the persistent gap in income between the African-American and majority populations in this company?

Today, the average African-American family has an income of about $20,000, compared with $36,000 among white families. Thus, African-Americans must get by on about 56 cents for every dollar available to a white family. That ratio has barely changed in almost two decades and stands as one of the enduring legacies of racial inequality in America. Even more, nearly one-third of all black families live in poverty, compared with less than 10% of white families. Our nation cannot exercise moral leadership in the world with such inequality.

* Finally, what will you do to help African-American business development and business expansion?

Today, there are more than 424,165 black-owned and operated business in the United States. But the African-American community has the lowest participation in business ownership of any racial or ethnic group in our nation. The barriers to fuller participation in the ownership of business diminishes economic opportunity for African-Americans and helps perpetuate the persistent inequality in income and wealth.

The presidential campaign gives you an opportunity to take stock of where we are in addressing important issues of national concern. All too often, presidential candidates appeal to the black community for support without saying precisely how they will address the critical economic problems that plague the community. The stakes are much too high this year to tolerate campaigning as usual, so I urge you, Mr. Candidate, to please honor us by providing serious and thoughtful answers to these four questions. Only then will you be deserving of our support.
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:presidential candidates; economic aid to African Americans
Author:Anderson, Bernard E.
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Aug 1, 1992
Words:532
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