Barackonomics – Are You Cashing In?



By:  James Clingman

There was Reaganomics in the 1980’s, and some of us had the Reaganomic Blues during that time.  Old Ronnie ushered in a period of economic empowerment, for some, that is still remembered, by some, as the best ever.  To this day, the “Conservatives” are making every attempt to reincarnate the Great Communicator, by holding séances otherwise known as political debates, like the one we saw held at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, during the Republican primary.  Those folks love themselves some Ronald Reagan – and they loved Reagonomics.

Now we have Barackonomics.  No, we have not seen the result of Obama’s economic policies yet, but the current environment is rife with excitement, anticipation, and “hope” for the “change” millions voted to see.  We will soon find out what the big picture holds, but even prior to the election, Obamania ushered in a new language, a new zeal for politics, and a new economic arrangement for Black folks, the likes of which I have never seen.

Always watching for the economic advantages available to Black people, during the campaign I saw hordes of brothers and sisters making money.  Although it was reported that the lion’s share of the $650 million or so raised by the campaign flowed into the dominant media outlets, Black owned media receiving very few of those party favors, some of our more enterprising Black entrepreneurs managed to hitch a ride on the Obama gravy train.

I attended one of the Obama rallies held at the University of Cincinnati, during which I saw Black vendors – as matter of fact, I saw only Black vendors selling everything from Obama Action Figures, to Obama Bobble-Head Dolls, to glow-in-the-dark thingamabobs, to placards, buttons, glasses, cups, banners, and T-shirts of all designs and themes.  Barack should have copyrighted his name and image.

My old friend and world renowned painter, Gilbert Young, called me to announce his latest creation: a painting of Barack Obama that Obama himself signed and endorsed.  The painting is titled, “History + Hope = Change” (  Now you know there will be bushels of money made from that painting.  And, as they say, “It’s all good!”

I can’t recall seeing Black vendors selling Reagan items, or those of the other 42 Presidents for that matter; no, not even Clinton and Kennedy.  (I wonder if Gilbert Young did a painting of Reagan; just kidding, Gilbert.)  So I was encouraged to see so many Black folks cashing in on Barackonomics, at least as long as the phenomenon lasts.  It’s about time.

It’s good to see Black folks finally getting in on the economic side of politics, especially the folks at the bottom of the heap.  Yes, big business got its share, as it always does; the television companies and their affiliates, newspapers, radio stations, and the major marketing and advertising firms received a windfall from the Obama campaign.  But, finally, thousands and maybe even millions of brothers and sisters got in on the act as well.

My advice is for them to stay with Barackonomics as long as they can.  Come up with new ideas, new products, and new services to sell.  The ICE Supreme Man (, Ashiki Taylor, in Atlanta, has created a new flavor “Obama Medley;” Farley’s Coffee ( Executives, Raymond Wilford and Ricky Tillman have developed an The 1st Family House Blend gourmet coffee featuring coffee from Kenya.  I am sure there are hundreds of other enterprising Black folks across the country who are making money via Barackonomics, and I see no problem with that.

I do see a problem with Black folks just settling for the moment, however. We had better get a good understanding of the fact that economics runs politics, and this time is no different from all the other presidential elections when it comes to economics.  Let’s not merely live for the moment and then go back to sleep in the next couple of months.  Let’s take the small lessons of Barackonomics and do big things with them.  Let’s support one another with the knowledge that there is enough, more than enough, to go around.

Don’t back off now; raise the bar even higher.  Be creative and innovative; devise new entrepreneurial ventures and strategies to capitalize on Barackonomics.  You can’t pay your bills with hope, history, or hysteria.  Emotional investments do not pay dividends.  Euphoria is not bankable.  Inspiration that is not followed by perspiration – taking some action, doing some work – will be as fleeting as a shooting star.  If we don’t turn, “Yes we can!” into, “Yes we did!” beyond the election, beyond the inauguration, and beyond the parties, then shame on us.

Allow your inspiration to catapult you to collective economic empowerment by establishing equity funds, bartering groups, urban gardens, food cooperatives, rotating credit associations, small business associations, cooperative purchasing programs, youth entrepreneurial training programs, and all of the entities we need to survive and thrive in this dire economic environment.  If we do these things, and more, we will have justified our emotional euphoric response to Barack Obama being the 44th President of the Untied States.  If we fail to do these things, we will miss out on the economic benefits that always find their way to the “special interests.”  Aren’t we special?  Don’t we have our own interests?

You had better believe the “big guys” will capitalize on their investment in Barack Obama.  Question is: “Will we?”  Let’s understand that part of the “change” we voted for is grounded in economics, at least I “hope” it was.  And let’s commit that the “change” we receive will be much more than mere “chump change.”


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You can learn more about James Clingman and buy his books by visiting his web site Blackonomic$Click here to go there now.

2 Responses to “Barackonomics – Are You Cashing In?”

  1. Jack Bain Says:

    Kevin Price over at got a Reagan talking figure for Christmas that teaches about freedom. What does a Barack Obama doll teach? Or does his have nothing to say? I haven’t seen yet.

  2. I totally agree, however, in order for African-Americans to “cash in” on Obama’s economic policies we must be poised and affluent in certain industries to do so: construction, heath care, and the environment. This is where much of the money is earmarked to go. Heads up: we must start now if we want to break into these industries and/or especially start a business. For instance, the construction industry has long been a haven for unions and “the old boy network.”

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