Georgia state Sen. Julian Bond yesterday excoriated President Carter's record on black and poor people's issues, saying the president deserves an F on his economic report card.
A delegate for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), Bond said he did not know whether blacks at the Democratic National Convention would "lock step or think for themselves," but that he would go to the last ballot with Kennedy.
"In 1976, this nation turned to a man who clearly knew the words to our hymns, but who in less than a year had forgotten the numbers on our paychecks," Bond told National Alliance of Business members here.
Labor Secretary Ray Marshall also spoke to the NAB yesterday, and defended the Carter administration's economic record, which he said "has proven that jobs programs can work."
Since the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act was expanded in 1977, it has accounted for a quarter of the employment growth for teenagers and three-quarters of the growth for black teenagers, Marshall said. t
Marshall said the high unemployment rate was a result of crises in the automobile and construction industries, and that the administration has tried to target the most troubled areas of the economy.
Bond, though, rejected the administration's approaches.
"All these programs, expensive and well-intentioned, have failed to guarantee the right of every citizen to a job," he said.
Bond was also critical of Carter's budget cuts, saying that they had been taken from the poor.
He said that since the civil rights gains of the 1960s, the relative economic position of blacks has deteriorated by all statistical measures of well-being, including employment, income and infant mortality levels.
"It's almost as though we were climbing a molasses mountain in snowshoes while everyone else took a ski lift to the top," he said.
"The right to vote may lose meaning for people forced to choose between tweedledum and tweedledee, between grits and Grecian Formula number 2," he said.