The Obama administration released a report that explains how the so-called “fiscal cliff” impacts African Americans at a time when so many black families are struggling to make ends meet.
The report highlights the number of middle class families impacted by a tax increase on Jan. 1, including the number of African Americans that could lose their tax credits for children, college and small business.
It’s significant information to share since there are many black Americans who don’t fully understand details about the fiscal cliff simply because it hasn’t been broken down specifically for African Americans.
It’s not entertaining, but it is important.
The administration says in addition to the report, the White House is also hosting several African American groups and leaders at the White House to discuss how the fiscal cliff would adversely affect African American families around the country.
President Barack Obama met with several civil rights organizations including Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, the NAACP, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, and the National Urban League.
The administration’s efforts comes as Congress is wrestling with the “fiscal cliff” — mandatory cuts to domestic and military spending of $1.2 trillion over 10 years that begin in January unless Congress reaches a deal.
“I believe America only thrives when we have a strong and growing middle class. And I believe we’re at our best when everybody who works hard has a chance to get ahead. That’s what I believe,” Obama said this week. “I believe both parties can — and will — work together in the coming weeks to get that done. We know how that gets done. We’re going to have to raise a little more revenue. We’ve got to cut out spending we don’t need”
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama also conducted several interviews with national African American radio hosts, including Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, Warren Ballentine, Yolanda Adams and Michael Baisden.
“I want to send a very clear message to people here,” Obama said. “If Congress in any way suggests that they’re going to tie negotiations to debt ceiling votes and take us to the brink of default once again as part of a budget negotiation — which, by the way, we had never done in our history until we did it last year — I will not play that game. Because we’ve got to break that habit before it starts.”
The White House says it plans to engage the public on the fiscal cliff, especially with African Americans, and provide examples of how black families could suffer financially.
• A median-income African American-headed family of four (earning around $53,000) could see its income taxes rise by $2,200.
• 99 percent of African American families who make less than $250,000 a year would not see an income tax increase under the President’s plan.
o In addition, roughly 2.0 million working African American families and roughly 3.4 million African American children would continue to benefit from the President’s improvements to the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
• An upper-middle-income African American married couple with a 15-year-old at home and a 19-year-old in her second year at a public university; the couple’s income is $120,000.
• A single African-American mother with three young children, ages 11 months to 6 years, working full-time at minimum wage ($14,500 annual income).
Meanwhile, Obama visited a family in Northern Virginia Thursday to hear about what it would mean if their income taxes went up in 2013. The administration asked families to share their concerns with the administration.
“Tiffany, who is a high school teacher, responded. Her husband, Richard, works at a Toyota dealership,” Obama said. “They actually live with Tiffany’s parents, both of whom are still working. And so what Tiffany pointed out was that an increase of $2,000 or so for her and her husband in this household would actually mean $4,000 that was lost. And a couple of thousand dollars means a couple months’ rent for this family.”
“For them to be burdened unnecessarily because Democrats and Republicans aren’t coming together to solve this problem gives you a sense of the costs involved in very personal terms,” the president said. “So the message that I got from Tiffany and the message that I think we all want to send to members of Congress is this is a solvable problem.”
“That’s the right thing to do for our economy,” Obama added. “It’s the right thing to do for families like Tiffany’s and Richard’s. And it’s very important that we get this done now, that we don’t wait. We’re in the midst of the Christmas season; I think the American people are counting on this getting solved.”