Race, Income and Wealth

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Jabbadabbado, Jun 14, 2010.

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  1. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Brandeis University's Institute on Assets and Social Policy has released a study on the increasing race/wealth gap in the U.S.

    The Racial Wealth Gap Increases Fourfold
    Assessing the wealth holdings of the same families for 23 years (1984-2007) shows that the wealth gap between whites and African Americans increased more than 4 times, from $20,000 in 1984 to $95,000 in 2003. This gap persisted for African Americans and white families in the same income range. For example, middle-income white households had greater gains in financial assets than high-income African Americans; by 2007, they had accumulated $74,000, whereas the average high-income African American family owned only $18,000. At least 25% of all African American families had no assets to turn to in times of economic hardship.


    This is heartwarming news for the evolution of our post racial society:

    What Happened in the Past 25 Years?

    The racial wealth gap results from historical and contemporary factors but the disturbing fourfold increase in such a short time reflects public policies, such as tax cuts on investment income and inheritances which benefit the wealthiest, and redistribute wealth and opportunities. Tax deductions for home mortgages, retirement accounts, and college savings all disproportionately benefit higher income families. At the same time, evidence from multiple sources demonstrates the powerful role of persistent discrimination in housing, credit, and labor markets. For example, African Americans and Hispanics were at least twice as likely to receive high-cost home mortgages as whites with similar incomes. These reckless high-cost loans unnecessarily impeded wealth building in minority communities and triggered the foreclosure crisis that is wiping out the largest source of wealth for minorities.


    In other words, the widening wealth gap coincides neatly with the cresting and long demise of affirmative action programs and progressive taxation.





  2. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    That press release confused the heck out of me. It seems to do a poor job of controlling for other factors in the examples they gave. Though the decline in wealth for African-Americans is concerning, and I'm presuming that decline doesn't even take into effect inflation, which makes that all the worse, since I would think when you're looking at changes for a time span over 20 years, inflation would be a key measure they don't mention in the press release.
  3. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
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    They don't mention inflation in the press release, but in an interview over the weekend one of the researchers said that the numbers were adjusted for inflation so that the numbers roughly compare the same level of purchasing power.
  4. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Let's also not forget gender. It's an unfortunate reality that 50% of the population still earn only about 75% per capita in comparison to males. This is one of the less talked about subjects when it comes to minorities, yet it represents precisely half the world's population.

    However it doesn't mean that a woman will only average a fraction of what a male would for the same work, but they are far more restricted in the jobs available to them. A female CEO may earn the same as a male in the same position, but really how many women manage to become CEO's? Occupations predominantly done by males are typically where the big bucks are made, which is why the per capita income is so much higher for the male population.

    And how about single-parent headed households? How many of those are women? Aren't they burdened enough with so few well-paying jobs open to them that they almost always get stuck with the children in the divorce?
  5. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
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    When female law school enrollment closed in on 50% in the 90s and 2000s (it's actually dropped a bit in the U.S. in the last few years), there was hope that it would cause a dramatic shift in the legal profession. The result however is that 20 years after enrollment started equalizing, women make up less than 20% of law firm partnerships.

    But clearly this isn't just the result of gender discrimination. As a woman, if you finish law school at 25 or 26, you may not object to working long, late hours for 5-7 years, but it becomes nearly impossible to have children and put in the time necessary for a partnership track.

    The reality is that a woman can't do everything. The good news is that there is more choice for women. I know five or six stay-at-home dads now whose wives are doctors, lawyers or business people and make enough to support the whole family. We're not at a point in society, even in very liberal communities like the one where I live, that stay at home dads get a much respect, and the reality is that most of the ones I know didn't become unemployed by choice, and staying at home was a financially attractive option only in retrospect when weighing the costs of getting daycare services for 3 or 4 children.
  6. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    In the UK the Asian population certainly seem to be quite well-off and often run their own very successful businesses. That is partly the mentality of the culture they come from, but it is good that there is not such a gap between them and the middle-class white British people.
    not sure about the African or Caribbean population though. I work with a lot of them in my low income job but I'm not sure how well they do with higher wage work.

    Women in the workplace is certainly better than it was, but there can still be discrimination. Especially at exscutive level.
  7. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 1999
    star 7
    My uncle is a stay-at-home dad. He was an investment banker but times have been tough lately. However, his wife is a physician at Sloan-Kettering, so they do all right. They can afford their apartment on Manhattan Island - one that's big enough for two kids and them.
  8. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Progressive taxation goes back to Adam Smith. Its demise began with Reagan, though. Hmm...That is the last 25 years.

    It's an increase in the income gap across the board. This is why I've always said most racial income disparaties are really a class issue. But even saying the word "class" in America conjures up images of the tyrannies of Stalin and Mao.
  9. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    That's not really, true, though. Racial disparities exist even once you control for class.
  10. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    I said MOST. Like, I know that white liquor store owners deliberately put their stores on Indian reservations where they can't be prosecuted for selling to kids and they can take advantage of a genetic weakness. Obviously that's not just a class thing.

    Of course, America's so unable to talk about class that in my generation, "pimp" is a compliment.
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