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Trump once again floats the idea of being president beyond two terms. Also on the Monday rundown: A new national report ranks children's well-being, from coast to coast; and a Family Care Act gains support.

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Use Stimulus to Target African Americans Hit Hard by Job Loss?

July 15, 2009

NEW YORK – With unemployment among African-Americans reported to be rising four times faster than that of whites in New York, some advocates say federal stimulus dollars can and should be aimed at reducing African-American unemployment.

Emmaia Gelman, director of green policy at the Center for Working Families in New York, says the state is getting hundreds of millions of dollars to train workers and pay for construction jobs that will make homes and businesses more energy efficient. She says some of that money ought to be used to target unemployment among hard-hit minorities.

"It's clear that minority communities in New York City are more economically distressed than others, so we don't use the funds to the exclusion of anybody, but you certainly target where the need is most severe and where the impacts can be greatest."

In a speech to the NAACP Convention last year, President Obama emphasized personal responsibility. He said no matter how many government programs we launch, none of it will make any difference if we don't seize more responsibility in our own lives. Gelman says people need jobs in order to take responsibility, and she believes Obama is right to be focusing on green jobs. Still, she says, federal stimulus dollars could do more, if more money were set aside to attract private investment.

"We could make stimulus funding go a lot further, like maybe at the rate of ten to one or better, if we used it to leverage private investment. The alternative is that we just spend the stimulus money, and once it's spent, it's spent."

Gelman says the New York Assembly did its part this session to promote renewable-energy jobs and sustainable community development when it voted unanimously in favor of the Green Jobs - Green New York Act (AB 8901). That bill's fate is now in the hands of the Senate, which is deciding which bills to act on after the recent leadership coup.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY