Liberal champion Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Sunday delivered a stirring defense of Black Lives Matter, characterizing it as a modern and necessary civil rights movement.
The full-throated defense of the movement contrasted with comments from other national politicians, whose remarks on Black Lives Matter have ranged from cautiousto missing the point — like when Martin O’Malley said that “all lives matter.”
One of the most powerful moments in the speech came when Warren criticized opponents of Black Lives Matter, who say the movement to end racial disparities in the criminal justice system is inciting violence. “Watch them march through the streets, ‘hands up don’t shoot’ — not to incite a riot, but to fight for their lives,” she said at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute. “To fight for their lives.”
Warren: It goes even deeper than criminal justice disparities
Fifty years after John Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke out, violence against African Americans has not disappeared. And what about voting rights? Two years ago, five conservative justices on the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, opening the floodgates ever wider for measures designed to suppress minority voting. Today, the specific tools of oppression have changed — voter ID laws, racial gerrymandering, and mass disfranchisement through a criminal justice system that disproportionately incarcerates black citizens. The tools have changed, but black voters are still deliberately cut out of the political process. …
Today, 90 percent of Americans see no real wage growth. For African-Americans, who were so far behind earlier in the 20th century, this means that since the 1980s they have been hit particularly hard. In January of this year, African-American unemployment was 10.3 percent — more than twice the rate of white unemployment. And, after beginning to make progress during the civil rights era to close the wealth gap between black and white families, in the 1980s the wealth gap exploded, so that from 1984 to 2009, the wealth gap between black and white families tripled.
Updated Sept. 4, 2015 1:14 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON—U.S. employment growth slowed in August but the jobless rate fell to the lowest level since 2008, a mixed labor-market reading that leaves the Federal Reserve with a challenging decision on whether to raise short-term rates at its September meeting.
Nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 173,000 in August, the Labor Department said Friday. Revisions showed employers added 44,000 new jobs in June and July than previously estimated.
However, the unemployment rate, which comes from a separate survey of U.S. households, fell to 5.1%, from 5.3% the previous month. The unemployment rate is now lower than at any point since 2008 and right in the middle of the Fed’s long-run projections.
The decline in the unemployment rate strengthens the case for an interest rate increase at the Fed’s Sept. 16-17 meeting. It suggests that slack in the economy is getting eaten up rapidly, which is central to the Fed’s view that inflation will eventually start rising toward its 2% objective after running below the goal for more than three years.
Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, in a Friday morning speech, called the payrolls gain a strong number. “I’d call this a good, right down the middle of the fairway” jobs report, said Mr. Lacker, a vocal proponent of raising interest rates.
Fed officials have said they will take Friday’s unemployment report into account as they weigh whether to raise interest rates. The August report is the last major indication they will get of the health of the labor market before this month’s meeting.
Economists once thought the Fed was poised to act in September, but recent turmoil in global financial markets has muddied the outlook. And Friday’s report could serve as ammunition both for those Fed officials who want to raise interest rates in September and for those who would prefer holding off.
Although the number of new jobs fell below the 218,000 monthly average recorded between January and July, the unemployment rate is now below the 5.2% to 5.3% range where officials thought it would be by year-end. Moreover, its descent shows little sign of slowing down. It has fallen by one percentage point from a year earlier. In their June projections, Fed officials projected the jobless rate wouldn’t fall much more in the next two years. For example, they projected it would be between 4.9% and 5.1% by the end of 2016 and the end of 2017. It is already effectively there. Broader measures of unemployment which include part-time and discouraged workers also continue to fall.
As the jobless rate falls, faint glimmers of firming in wages might be appearing. Average hourly earnings of private-sector workers rose by 8 cents to $25.09 last month, a 2.2% increase from a year earlier. The gain suggests a mild acceleration in worker’s pay. Wages had been advancing at a modest 2% pace since 2010.
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo.—Federal Reserve officials emerged from a week of head-spinning financial turbulence largely sticking to their plan to raise U.S. interest rates before the end of the year.
During the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual economic symposium here, many policy makers signaled that stock-market volatility and China’s woes haven’t seriously dented their view that the U.S. job market is improving, and that domestic economic output is expanding at a steady, modest pace.
Inflation might remain low for longer thanks to falling oil prices and a strong dollar. Officials will continue to keep a close watch on markets and China. But they hope U.S. consumer-price inflation will start inching toward their 2% annual target as the economy’s untapped capacity gets used up, leaving them in position to start raising rates after several months of forewarning.
“There is good reason to believe that inflation will move higher as the forces holding inflation down—oil prices and import prices, particularly—dissipate further,” said Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer in comments delivered to the conference, which ended Saturday.
The Fed has said it will raise rates when it is reasonably confident the inflation rate will rise again to 2%. Mr. Fischer’s comments suggested he believed the economy is closer to that point, although he pointedly avoided sending a signal about whether the Fed will act at its next meeting.
“I will not, and indeed cannot, tell you what decision the Fed will reach by Sept. 17,” Mr. Fischer said.