Apr 16, 2019
A new report is offering forward-looking solutions to help bridge the racial wealth divide in America.
"If the past several decades are to teach us anything about race and wealth, it should be that the racial wealth divide will not be closed without a structural change to the status quo."
--Chuck Collins, Inequality.org
Ten Solutions to Bridge the Racial Wealth Divide was released Tuesday by the Institute for Policy Studies and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, along with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
The report provides an analysis of the ethnic and racial backgrounds of people most impacted by wealth inequality in the U.S. and proposes a set of 10 programs to reverse the trend.
Those proposals are:
- Baby Bonds
- Guaranteed Employment and a Significantly Higher Minimum Wage
- Affordable Housing
- Medicare for All
- Postal Banking
- Higher Taxes for the Ultra-Wealthy
- Fixes to Upside-Down Tax Expenditures
- A Congressional Committee on Reparations
- Data Collection on Race and Wealth
- A Racial Wealth Analysis
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition's chief of equity and inclusion, Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, said that the list of solutions was meant as a road map for policymakers.
"We offer 10 bold solutions broken into three categories: Programs, Power, and Process," Asante-Muhammad, a report co-author, said. "They are presented in hopes of inspiring lawmakers, activists, organizers, academics, journalists, and others to think boldly about collectively taking on this incredibly important challenge."
Primary presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) expressed her support for the policies in an interview with Buzzfeed News and reiterated her position on Twitter.
"We need solutions both broad and targeted, from full employment and raising wages to postal banking and studying reparations," Gillibrand added on Twitter.
\u201cInstitutional racism throughout our society has created a racial wealth gap that holds families back for generations. We need solutions both broad and targeted, from full employment and raising wages to postal banking and studying reparations. https://t.co/0LHAhabJMg\u201d— Kirsten Gillibrand (@Kirsten Gillibrand) 1555422613
Darrick Hamilton, also a co-author of the report and a professor of policy, economics, and sociology at Ohio State University, said that taking advantage of the policies presented in the paper could have long-lasting and positive effects.
"Implementing the policies in this report [is] essential to balancing the historical injustices that created the racial wealth divide in a manner that is universal but race conscious," said Hamilton, who is also the executive director of the Kirwan Institute.
\u201cIn our new report, @DarrickHamilton highlights how Baby Bonds can reduce the #RacialWealthDivide by more than tenfold. Learn more: https://t.co/teQWrKNImV\u201d— Inequality.org (@Inequality.org) 1555430401
The deep-seated, systemic problem of racial inequality is very real, said Philadelphia Tribune reporter Mike D'Onofrio.
"Blacks lag far behind other races in income and net worth," said D'Onofrio. "For every $100 white families make, blacks earn $59.07."
\u201cBlacks lag far behind other races in income and net worth. For every $100 white families make, Blacks earn $59.07. To close the gap, @IPS_DC has proposed a roadmap of 10 solutions. https://t.co/ejz9gAYeHT @powerinterfaith @KirwanInstitute @NCRC\u201d— Mike D'Onofrio (@Mike D'Onofrio) 1555421687
In his reporting, D'Onofrio talked to Kelly Tyler, the senior pastor at Philadelphia's Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church. Tyler, who is also a member of POWER, a group of activist clergy members, said that wealth inequality in America is increasing exponentially.
"The wealth gap is not closing; it's blowing wide open in the wrong direction," said Tyler.
The racial gap is likely to keep pace with that negative acceleration.
Another report co-author, Inequality.org co-editor Chuck Collins, concurred with Hamilton and said that issues like racial inequality are not going to be solved by behavioral changes or minor, individual moves on behalf of the generationally oppressed.
"If the past several decades are to teach us anything about race and wealth, it should be that the racial wealth divide will not be closed without a structural change to the status quo," said Collins.
"Individual behavioral action is not the answer to address structurally established barriers," Collins added, "nor is the patient aspirant idea that this problem will fix itself."
Read the report here.
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