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Higher Accountability and Responsibility for Blacks with Obama Victory

Black Voice News, Feature, Corey Washington Posted: Dec 02, 2008

President-Elect Barack Obamas triumphant and historic victory over Senator John McCain for many was inarguably one of the most pivotal and prestigious moments for African Americans. But while Blacks may bask in having perceived representation with the election of Americas new Commander-in-Chief, they too have been elevated to a higher level of responsibility, according to Napoleon Brandford, III.

Brandford, who is Chairman of Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., the leading minority investment banking firm in the U.S., cautions that Blacks should be prepared to demonstrate responsible spending and financial management especially during such challenging periods as now.

People should not be going into debt trying to get to the inauguration, Brandford said. The days of victimization and blaming others for your circumstances will fall on deaf ears. There will be a safety net for those in poverty and the elderly who are disenfranchised, but I can admit
conservative friends of mine voted for Barack because that cleared their conscience of what their ancestors had done to our people.

As momentous as Obamas election was on November 4, the countrys economic plight permeates Americans concerns, regardless of ethnic or economic background and there may be new economic distress on the horizon.

We are still in a credit crunch environment and the next crop [of issues] is the credit card crunch. Americans have gotten away from saving and therefore have a live-for-today mentality. Instead of setting aside money to buy anything, they go put purchases on a debit or credit card and now we are in the highest level in history for consumer debt, Brandford said.

To combat rising debts and falling profits, credit card companies are cutting back on approving new credit applications. Large credit card companies, such as Chase and Citibank are considering eliminating part of the debts of accounts with high balances in exchange for arrangements where card holders pay half of the entire debt, for example, Brandford said.

There is no swift change to the economy and Barack is not going to do anything until he becomes president. The current economic climate is the making of the current president [Bush] and Barack doesnt want to assume any of that as his. He wants to identify the problem and come up with a game plan to solve it.

The continuing foreclosure fallout, the credit crunch and Wall Street fiasco are all at the forefront of issues that have all eyes on President-elect Obama. However, Brandford recognizes that President-elect Obamas looming presidency during substantial economic woes shines a light on historical issues pertaining to African Americans that go beyond how they will manage personal finances now and into the future.

From a philosophical standpoint there has been a paradigm shift that will have a dramatic effect on men not specific to any age group from Tupac to Barack, you could say. And what that means is you have a well-educated and articulate, welldressed family man with a highly educated and attractive wife and two beautiful Black kids he is the father of. So, responsibility and being a provider will be the stature for African Americans.

Napoleon Brandford, III is Chairman of Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., LLC, the nationslargest African American and women-owned bond underwriter. The firm serves primarily institutional clients and provides investment banking services to state and local governments throughout the country. The firm does not provide investment services to individual investors.

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