Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), who led the CBC panel, agreed that both government and the private sector need to create new job opportunities.
“We’ve got to usher more African Americans into green technology fields and get black entrepreneurs to think about building windmills,” he said. “There are things we can do, but they cost money. Frankly one of the negatives that came from the hearing is that whenever we start talking about jobs, even at a time like this, people are always saying we’ve got to find some sort of offset.”
Cleaver said that the CBC believes that the unemployment crisis is serious enough to be declared an emergency, which wouldn’t require an offset to pay for it.
Simms also criticized recent jobs packages passed in both the House and the Senate whose primary focus are tax cuts.
“We’re fooling ourselves if we think tax cuts are sufficient to deal with the problem, particularly those not targeted in any way,” said Simms. “There are other solutions, but they will cost money. The question is what is the priority and what are we willing to pay for it. A lot of it is a question of political will.”