Is President Obama Standing Up for the Poor?
Tavis Smiley and Cornel West weigh in
- Duration 6:06
- Date Oct 10, 2011
Tavis Smiley and Cornel West weigh in
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This transcript is automatically generated
So thank you played well right now the unemployment rate nine point 1% across the country but for African Americans.
It's a shocking 16%.
So here's what -- Obama said to members of the Congressional Black Caucus about that.
Well in the margins you.
Thank you know.
Go to press -- Comments like that have many in the black community feeling like the president is abandoning the -- Travis smiley is the host of that had a smiley show and Cornell west -- -- is a professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University.
They both just completed the poverty tour which premieres on PBS tonight and they are both my -- good morning to town.
Are urging them to -- bills and very good to -- your status let me start with you because I know when you heard the president say that to the African American community you had a specific -- what was it.
First of all -- with all due respect to the president -- -- my PBS -- He would never say it.
Stop -- stop complaining stop crying -- -- Jewish Brothers and sisters about the crisis in the Middle East.
Would never should that not say that -- Hispanic bothers and sisters about immigration.
-- -- set you would never -- that to the AARP.
About Medicaid and Medicare for seniors but that that language was troubling for me.
-- and I've been on record saying that already but beyond that let me just suggest though that poverty I appreciate the leading and the poverty in America is not a black problem it is an American problem the new war in this country Gretchen all of the former middle class.
And the thing we learned on this tour that we can't any longer and if we ever could we can no longer color -- poverty.
Americans of all races colors and creeds are falling more and more into property fifty million Americans now almost live in poverty.
And as you well know the growing number most encompasses women and children that's not a black problem that's an American problem.
-- US let me get your thoughts on this because we went to the census to figure out these facts and figures since -- war on poverty began in 1964.
We have spent almost sixteen trillion dollars on welfare programs and yet.
Poverty continues to go up amongst whites and blacks but specifically more amongst blacks.
How do we explain all of that money that we spent and it doesn't seem to be helping the problem.
-- itself like a lot of money but actually is not that much when He actually look at the higher ethical on the our society come and it we really connect the greed.
Of Wall Street oligarchs and the greed of corporate brutal crack billions and billions and billions of dollars.
And the end of the statistics you put forth in regard to what has been all poor people it's clear it's been -- mean spiritedness there's been -- mediocrity.
And amend -- that the associated.
With -- Republican Party -- -- -- -- and brutal -- but not enough Democrats also speaking clearly in terms of this.
Vast wealth inequality that's been escalating so.
Just Miley should we spend more money then -- sixteen trillion wasn't enough is that the argument.
I think just about -- -- frankly wasn't enough and the evidence abounds because the economy is not growing at the rate.
They don't that -- -- grow.
The problem though is not to blame poor people for being poor.
As Herman Cain He had been the issue is not saying that protesters are anti capitalist the issue is Wall Street.
Not a single they've been they've been arrest involved left and right at these protests but not a single banker has gone to -- what they -- to rate.
And -- the national treasury Wall Street now sitting on a trillion dollars.
That they will not turn around and reinvest in the economy.
Because they don't know how long this is gonna go -- -- recalcitrant.
Makes this a self opponent prophecy we gotta put the blame squarely where it belongs it's not on the American people.
It's on the backs of these bankers and these banks -- We're just raped and again and registered and -- doctorate.
Somebody who very much disagrees if He was a man that you just mentioned which is the the GOP candidate who wants to become president.
Herman Cain must listen to what He -- right.
They have -- -- the victim card.
My parents never say it that we hope that the rich people lose something so we can get -- -- no my dad's idea was.
I wanna work -- enough so I can -- a Cadillac not take somebody else's.
Doctor west but I feel about his ideal -- -- -- brother Herman Cain he's exhibition a late coldness -- -- people callousness toward working people nobody's talking about.
A zero sum game we know that 42% of our precious children of all -- live in.
Our near poverty.
They didn't -- We can't blame the children we can't somehow act as if context doesn't make a difference -- -- McCain reflects precisely.
The kind of coldest for poor people that that I was -- How -- -- -- in his book that recently came out his dad had three jobs.
Just so He could eventually -- dream one day of buying a Cadillac and that was the American true American dream for him what's wrong with that.
-- -- Rollins and they're not Americans who are doing just like Herman -- of all races cause increased engenders.
Working multiple jobs the problem isn't the money that they're making work -- these multiple jobs.
Doesn't go as far as it used to go number one number two -- language is all wrong how do you have a jobless recovery and what is what is need to be working port if you work.
You ought not to before again -- McCain's story is a great story of overcoming.
But there are Americans who would try do that every single day.
But the leaders in Washington are not serious about the challenges they face.
And helping to devise plans to eradicate poverty to make object to create more American jobs.
-- store if not it's a great -- was not all that unique given that most Americans are doing the same thing against the odds every day.
Planet brings us full circle back to Washington and the president which is how we started this conversation I know that you could still be believed.
That he's failing to stand up for the -- and that's part of your series the poverty tour kicks off on PBS tonight if you want to see.
More of this in action and great speaking with you this morning Tavis Smiley and doctor Cornel what they -- -- time that you remotes.