The Stimulus is Not Getting to the Grassroots
The stimulus bill was designed to help stabilize the national economy and get hurting communities off the ground. Communities of color were told that the stimulus would be a boon to Black and Brown communities. A year later, the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity has studied the impact of the stimulus on minority communities and the results are not pretty. According to their report -- ARRA & the Economic Crisis -- One Year Later: Has Stimulus Helped Communities in Crisis? -- the results are poor or worse:
Although consistent state level data on ARRA contracting to minority firms is not widely available, figures from federal procurement indicate troubling and disparate contracting patterns. While Black‐, Latino‐, and Women‐ owned businesses represent 5.2%, 6.8%, and 28.2% of all businesses respectively,12 as of February 1, 2010, they had only received 1.1%, 1.6%, and 2.4% of all federally contracted ARRA funds.13 Of the $45 billion in direct federal contracts allocated by February 1st 2010, less than $2.4 billion (5% of the total) were allocated to Black‐, Latino‐, and Women‐ owned businesses.
This is unacceptable in an environment in which Black and Brown communities are worst hit by the economic downturn, with some Black communities suffering from unemployment rates above 30 percent (In October 2009, the jobless rate for black males age 16-to-24 was 34.5 percent in my home city of Washington, D.C., a place that has made out reasonably well in the current recession and Milwaukee, Wisconsin has recently had a Black male unemployment rate hovering around 50 percent) and dangerously high dropout and criminal justice supervision rates, a unique, special, and acute problem has been established that requires attention above and beyond what our leaders – elected and appointed, and without regard to race are willing to acknowledge.