10 Proposals For Eliminating The Racial Wealth Gap

March 27, 2015 | | Forbes |

The racial wealth gap in the United States is stark.

The median white household has $111,145 in wealth holdings, compared to $7,113 for the median black household and $8,348 for the median Latino household, according to a recent study called The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters. [...]

The two organizations that co-authored the study, Demos, a public policy organization promoting democracy and equality, and the Institute on Assets and Social Policy, say these wealth disparities are rooted in historic injustices and that public policies continue to “fuel and exacerbate” them. 

“The racial wealth gap is reinforced by federal policies that largely operate to increase wealth for those who already possess significant assets,” wrote the authors, noting that more than half of the $400 billion in annual federal asset-building subsidies, such to promote homeownership retirement savings, economic investment and access to college, flow to the wealthiest 5% of taxpaying households. The bottom 60% of taxpayers receive only 4% of these benefits.

“The last time we really committed to solving problems of racial equity was the 1960s and so many aspects of that equity haven’t budged in the time since, because we haven’t really focused our public efforts on addressing things like the family income gap between black and white families and the racial wealth gap,” says Catherine Ruetschlin, senior policy analyst at Demos and a co-author of the report. “When we’re not focusing on them as problems to be solved, … we pass through legislation that sounds fair on its face but in effect creates bigger rewards for people who already have wealth than people who do not.”