EXCLUSIVE: Sanders Economist Calls Obama Administration ‘Financial Holocaust’ For Blacks, Latinos

Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist
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Law professor William Black, an economic adviser to Bernie Sanders, told reporters Wednesday on a campaign conference call that America under Barack Obama is economically catastrophic for minorities, especially blacks.

Hearing a Sanders surrogate use the standard Republican critique was striking enough but Black managed to outdo even Donald Trump, who recently cited high black unemployment to say Obama has done a “terrible job” for African-Americans.

Black, who is Caucasian, casually declared that blacks and Latinos have suffered a “financial Holocaust over the last eight years.”

In an email to the Washington Gadfly Black stood by his remarks, insisting he was referring to the St. Louis Federal Reserve study of economic loss since 2008.

Black, author of “The Best Way To Rob a Bank is To Own It,” calls himself a white collar criminologist. He was one of 170 economists and financial advisers who signed a statement released by the campaign last month supporting Sanders’ Wall Street reforms.

The other scheduled call participants were Warren Gunnels, Policy Director for the Sanders campaign; former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich; University of Texas at Austin government James Galbraith; and Hunter College public health professor Steffie Woolhandler.

None of them objected to Blacks’ remarks on the call or when this reporter inquired later about them.

The otherwise routine call was designed to push back against charges from the Hillary Clinton camp that Sanders’ economic and health care proposals are foolhardy.

Woolhandler, a Manhattan primary care physician, defended Sanders’ single payer health care plan. And Reich insisted that the longtime socialist senator is not some kind of utopian dreamer.

“One of the biggest reasons for this kind of success coming out of the Sanders plan has to do with the magnitude of the plan,” he said. “There is nothing unrealistic about it.”

Perhaps realizing that Black’s comments could prove a public relations nightmare, the Sanders campaign did not reply to repeated requests for the conference call audio.

The audio is only available to the conference call sponsor, not participants. Is the Sanders campaign going to make it public like they have demanded Hillary Clinton do with her Goldman Sachs speeches?

The campaign also declined to say if Sanders agrees with Black’s characterization.

Meanwhile,  the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday night.

But Binyamin Jolkovsky, Editor in Chief of the widely read and influential site, JewishWorldReview.com bristled at the Nazi comparison. “It’s not just that, based on pure fact, any contemporary ‘tragedy’ cannot and will not be analogous to the Holocaust. It’s not just that making the comparison is demeaning,” he said. “It’s practically a given that making it indicates that one is either desperate or the cause being pushed is nowhere as severe as claimed.”

Evan Gahr