The Economy Booms, Enfranchisement Plummets!

The U.S. Commerce Department announced at the end of January that the economy had rebounded to the tune of a 4.7 percent increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), well in excess of Wall Street predictions. The Commerce Department cited an increase in consumer spending and foreign sales as the driving force behind the economy's strong performance. In related news, The Sentencing Project, an advocacy group tracking U.S. incarceration trends and policies, released a report stating that 1.46 million African American males -- out of a possible 10.4 million African American men of voting age -- were ineligible to vote due to felony conviction. As a result of living within "the System," one out of every seven African-American men is denied the right to vote in the United States of America.While the value of domestic goods and services soars like a constipated bald eagle at a presidential photo op, the freedom to exercise basic political rights sinks faster than a feminist from Salem swimming in a pair of Puritan-esque cement shoes. Remarkably, the White House is officially taking responsibility for the recent upturn in franchises and concurrent downturn in enfranchisement, though Republican leaders suggest the country's governors actually deserve the credit.On Thursday, January 30, 1997, White House spokesperson Jim Crow suggested that these penal-political statistics are only the earliest indicators of the impending success of the Clinton administration's pro-poor Welfare Reform Package."What we've done, in effect, is incorporate public assistance programs into the penal system. Think about it this way: No more public housing projects -- the poor can actually live rent-free in prison. There's even a gym! The meal's are gratis so we can do away with food stamps. You got your job training, your libraries, even GED educational programs. And the men are segregated from the women, which means we get population control and a return to family values at no added cost!" Similar White House statements confirm growing concerns among Commie civil liberties advocates that U.S. prisons are being transformed into exclusive, "gated" communities for African-Americans. This trend towards designer ghettoes also means that traditionally over-incarcerated populations are finding themselves forcibly mainstreamed into the "fortress" cities popularized by prosperous whites in the 1980s.While leftist rights' advocates have reacted to these mutually exclusive penal and economic statistics with alarm, Corporate America is celebrating its change in fortune. By reassigning the responsibility of Welfare (for the poor) to the prison system, federal tax moneys are once again freed for use in corporate Welfare programs (tax incentives, defense contracts and agribusiness subsidies). Gross Domestic Product goes up, Great Society Programs go under. More money, less Black men to earn it. Greater profits and an ever-decreasing body politic. America is shrinking down to an enfranchised population of wealthy "Whites." Progress is on the horizon: Chain Gangs will clear the road for that bridge to the 19th century!

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