Audit found Medicaid owed $350 million, while DHHS officials said program had surplus – NC Policy Watch

Lawmakers heard Monday that the state’s massive Medicaid program was in the hole at the end of last year’s fiscal year, despite prior statements by state health officials that the program finished that year with a surplus.

The Medicaid program had $350 million in liabilities for 2013-14, not the surplus of $63.4 million highlighted last fall by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, according to the 127-page financial audit released Monday.

The financial discrepancy was discussed Monday by N.C. State Auditor Beth Wood, as she spoke to the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee about the DHHS financial audit conducted by her office.

The $350 million deficit represented prior liabilities that had been accrued over years, and wasn’t a cash deficit due to the agency overspending its budget by that much in a single year, said Wood, an elected Democrat.  (Source: Read more)

C. Delores was Right – William Reed Columnist

Most Black Americans are downright giddy over the success of Fox’s “Empire” drama television series and its success.  The plot centers around a unique Black family in the world of a hip hop empire.  But, with all its “mainstream” adulation and ratings, the question Blacks should be asking is: “what would C. Delores Tucker say about “Empire” and its connotations of imperialism and colonialism?”

In the 1990s, Cynthia Delores Tucker gained fame accusing America’s Blacks of participating in their own disparagement.  C. Delores Tucker was an antagonist of profanity-laced rap music lyrics that denigrated women and Blacks. Mrs. Tucker had should be should be remembered and revered as role model, renowned civil rights activist and public servant.  Conscious of her race and its needs, led Tucker to an original organizer of the Black and Women’s Caucuses who worked to ensure that Blacks, women and minorities got fair representation within the Democratic Party.

Tucker last years were dedicated to condemning sexually explicit lyrics in rap and hip-hop tracks, citing concern that the misogynistic lyrics threatened the moral foundation of African Americans. She fought against the NAACP’s decision to nominate the late rapper Tupac Shakur for one of its Image Awards and filed a $10 million lawsuit against his estate for comments that Shakur had made against her.

As Tucker sounded the alarm on Gangsta Rap’s impact on Blacks, she was lambasted and harassed as being “narrow-minded.”  At the height of her campaign in 1994 Congressional hearings were held.   When Tucker set her sights on Time Warner’s media empire she focused on Interscope, whose rap subsidiary, Death Row Records, put out the most popular gangsta artists’ recordings.   Tucker purchased stock in Time Warner, and went to the 1995 shareholders’ meeting to ask the company executives there to read aloud the lyrics through which their company reaped such profits.  Of course they refused.

“Empire” has a sound ground.  Over the past generation gangsta rap has become became the most commercially lucrative subgenre of hip hop.   “Rap” is a style of popular music, developed by urban Blacks and disc jockeys in the 1970s, in which an insistent, recurring beat pattern provides the background and counterpoint for rapid, slangy, and often boastful rhyming patter. Hip hop is a genre consisting of stylized rhythmic music commonly accompanying rapping (or emceeing).

JayZ, Ice-T, N.W.A. Dr. Dre and other Blacks have accumulated billions of dollars performing the genre but the subject matter inherent in gangsta rap has caused great controversy.   The genre’s critics accuse it of promoting crime, violence, The genre’s critics accuse it of promoting crime, racism, promiscuity, misogyny, materialism, and self-importance.

In his eulogy, Jesse Jackson proclaimed Tucker had been “a woman regal and royal and rare non-negotiable dignity.”  Tucker gave Blacks the challenge that if a group of people want others to respect them, they have to respect themselves.  Tucker reminds us to stand and strong and responsible for our people and history.  And, understand that if a derogatory phrase is used against you, you’re not open to repeat it.  The people who are part of and sponsors of, this music should reconsider what they say.

As she founded the Bethune-DuBois Institute in 1991, Dr. Tucker began her personal crusade against “gangsta” rap in earnest and rallied against record companies to halt distribution of music she believed derogatory toward women and minorities.  Tucker called gangsta rap “the unholy alliance of gangstas in the suites and gangstas in the streets.”

Surely Tucker started to get most Blacks to stand by “sets of standards,” “principles” and “values.”  That principled work must go on.  Joe Madison is BDI’s current president.  An influential broadcaster, Madison is known as “the Black Eagle.”  A former member of the NAACP’s national board, Madison has also served as executive director of the NAACP’s Detroit Branch, 1974-77.  Rosa Whitaker, a member of BDI’s board of directors, is CEO and President of the Whitaker Group, a Washington, D.C.-based consultancy on trade and investment in Africa.  “They have been deeply involved in missions advocated by my wife” says BDI Chair, William Tucker.  – William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.

Do Blacks Even Know What’s Going On? – William Reed Columnist

Has Black capitalism failed?  Was it even given a chance?   The two basic approaches to the world’s economics are – free market capitalism and planned or command economies. Blacks don’t seem to really know what’s going on in the capitalistic system around them.  Year in and year out, high percentages of Black Americans display woefully inadequate understandings of this nation’s economics.

Blacks’ pattern in America’s capitalistic system in which wealth, and the means of producing wealth, are privately owned businesses and controlled rather than commonly, publicly, or state owned is government-centered. In economics the basic resources or factors are land, labor, capital and entrepreneurship.  American capitalism involves “the exchange of supplies or goods between businesses and the people for money” and the social system under which we live.  Under this system other ethnic groups have thrived while Blacks remained stifled.  Over the past half-century Vietnamese, Koreans, Jews and Arabs have successfully mastered producing and distributing goods as American entrepreneurs and capitalists, while the  majority of Black Americans sell their skills and labor for a wage or salary.

It’s as if Blacks have a “workers mentality” they can’t get beyond.  Sadly, Blacks view themselves as “the working class that is being exploited by the capitalist class.”   For the most part, Blacks are lackadaisical about being entrepreneurs.  Yet, its entrepreneurs that drive America’s economy and account for the majority of new job creation and innovations. America’s 25.8 million small businesses employ more than 50 percent of the private workforce and generate more than half of the gross domestic product.  It’s as if Blacks don’t know entrepreneurship as an employment strategy that can lead to economic and personal self-sufficiency. While Blacks shy away from self-employment, it is a vital facet of the United States economy.  According to the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI) the USA is the most entrepreneurial economy in the world.  The USA is followed by Canada, Australia and Sweden in second, third and fourth place, respectively.  Between 1996 and 2004, America created an average of 550,000 small businesses each month.  Nigeria and South Africa house Africa’s most vibrant economies.

Blacks are consumers rather than producers.  Most often, Blacks’ lives and existence are as clients of “big government.  Contemporary Blacks have low historical rates of entrepreneurship and need to cultivate entrepreneurial spirits independent of politics and who occupies the White House.  Blacks often frown on capitalism and equate it with racism, saying: “whenever Blacks attempt to establish business ventures their efforts were sabotaged by White competitors and supremacists.”  The truth is that the free market system isn’t racist and is the best economic system and provider for Americans of all races.  Note immigrants’ economic successes here.

Black owned businesses in the United States total 1.9 million Black firms.  The growing failure of Blacks to do significant business with other Blacks casts a dark shadow on Black Capitalism.  What’s wrong with the Black culture is that we do nothing to help each other.  Unity and collective capitalism is “out of our league.” African Americans’ annual $1.1 trillion buying power is the 16th largest economy in the world.  Currently 43 million strong, African-American consumers have unique behaviors from the total market.  Currently, a dollar circulates in Asian communities for a month, in Jewish communities approximately 20 days and in White communities 17 days.  A dollar goes in and out of the Black community in 6 hours.

Too often Blacks’ acknowledged “leadership” is primarily politically-oriented.  In regards to the February 2015 Jobs Report, Ron Busby, Sr., President, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. said, “February’s jobs report is encouraging… with 295,000 jobs created last month and the unemployment rate dropping to 5.4 percent, we have good reason to feel optimistic about the future.  However, our economy still has major disparities…and lawmakers could be doing much more to encourage Black entrepreneurship.”

For Blacks to become more effective among America’s capitalistic enterprise system it’s important that parents educate children on the importance of supporting their communities and kind by purchasing products and services from people who look like them.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.

Start Conversations About “Banking Black” – William Reed Columnist

If you are not a part of the solution to Blacks’ problems, it should be evident, that you continue as part of the problem.  The answer to Blacks’ economic woes is in our own hands and control.  The simple capitalistic solution to Black Americans’ economics is to place our money and assets in banks owned by other Blacks.  Third generation Black banker, B. Doyle Mitchell, says “If Blacks used their assets strategically they’d be as rich as other groups in America.”

Banks are Western communities’ most important institutions.  Banks are stabilizing forces in the communities they serve, loaning money to businesses to help them expand and create jobs.  Banks help customers become home owners and existing home owners make repairs and additions to their property.  Every community except Blacks’, finance banks and they in turn finance their people’s needs.

In Washington, D.C. three generations of Mitchells have made an enormous impact on Blacks’ development.  B. Doyle Mitchell’s family is an example for conscious Black consumers to emulate.  In 1934 his grandfather, Jesse H. Mitchell, foundered Industrial Bank with the equivalent of $3.25 million.  Industrial went on to compile an illustrious record servicing America’s most affluent community of Blacks.

Today, there are more than 40 million African-Americans living in the U.S., but less than 1 percent of all federally chartered banks are Black-owned.  Although 13 percent of the U.S. population is African-American, only 0.35% (24 in total) of U.S. banks is Black-owned. African Americans’ buying power is projected to top $1.1 trillion, yet the number of Black-owned banks even lags behind the number of financial institutions owned by Asian-Americans, who made up just 5.1 percent of the total U.S. population of 314 million people and own 40 banks nationwide. 

Blacks need to talk to each other about how “banking Black” advances the system of capitalism in our communities.  Blacks in D.C. have a history of banking Black. After the Civil War, Blacks’ collective capitalism flourished.  Capital Savings Bank, the first bank organized and operated by African Americans, was founded in Washington, D.C., Oct. 17, 1888.  Although Blacks’ incomes and employment options have increased over past decades, Black-run banks have been struggling. These banks, historically headquartered in the heart of traditional Black communities such as Chicago’s South Side, New York’s Harlem and Washington, D.C.’s Shaw, fail out of favor with post-Civil Rights’ up-and-coming Blacks. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. counts just 25 Black-owned banks, the majority of which are on shaky ground, struggling to hold on.  In 2013 60 percent of Black-run banks lost money.

A community is defined as a group of people with a common characteristic or interest.  It’s a body of persons with common concerns.  Check their records, Black-owned banks have been, and are, the backbone of many African American communities. However these banks have limited resources because the greater body of Blacks refuses to deposit monies there. Blacks have trillions of dollars in spending power, however; most Black banks struggle to get any significant population of Blacks to make deposits there.  Contemporary Blacks have an idiotic behavior of spending and putting money away from where they live.  There needs to be a conversation among African Americans about Black banks’ common-cause with Blacks and their communities.

The greatest challenge facing African-Americans is increasing our collective wealth. Toward that the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) recently made a model $5 million investment in African American-owned banks.  The CBCF’s then-chair Rep. Chaka Fattah said, “CBCF has invested in this partnership because we need these institutions to grow and thrive.”   Blacks need to broadly explore and discuss their aversion to putting money in another African-American’s hand.

Too many Blacks are convinced that the White’s ice is colder.  In order to create Black wealth Blacks must recycle their dollars by supporting Blacks’ banks, businesses and creating more.  Black-owned banks are vital to achieving this.  Let the word go out that every Black that who has a checking or savings account should transfer money to a Black owned bank. Not to do so is self-defeating.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.