WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Angela Hanks, Chief of Programs at Dēmos, a movement oriented think tank committed to racial justice, released the following statement as President Biden meets with Congressional leaders on the default crisis:
“Last week, the unemployment rate declined to 3.4 percent, and Black unemployment has reached its lowest level on record, 4.7 percent. But Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s dangerous brinksmanship over the debt ceiling threatens to derail this hard-won progress. Allowing the country to slip into default would put millions of Americans out of work and the country will tumble into a recession.
These consequences will be even more devastating for Black workers, who even in the best of times frequently face double the unemployment rate of their white peers.
“Raising the debt ceiling, thereby preventing the U.S. from defaulting on its financial obligations, is a very basic function of our government. But raising the debt ceiling cannot come at the expense of workers, especially those workers who are finally getting a foothold in the labor market; some for the first time ever. After the 2008 recession and the subsequent manufactured debt ceiling crisis, which resulted in a decade of deep spending cuts and a painfully slow economic recovery, it took six years for jobs to rebound. Economic recovery was even slower for Black women, who had not fully recovered over a decade later.
It also would impose counterproductive work reporting requirements on people accessing basic food, health, and housing services. Given the number of workers in the labor market actively seeking work, it’s a solution in search of a problem and threatens to harm families’ economic well-being.
Holding the economy hostage is no way to govern, and Speaker McCarthy’s strategy of using this moment to extract deep cuts that will almost certainly trigger a recession is untenable. The only solution here is a clean debt ceiling increase
“Default would be a crisis for our economy and democracy and threatens to devastate communities across the country. But holding the economy hostage is no way to govern, and Speaker McCarthy’s strategy of using this moment to extract deep cuts that will almost certainly trigger a recession is untenable. The only solution here is a clean debt ceiling increase.”