End Wealth Inequality And Grow Employment in America
Recent studies indicate that the wealth gap between whites and blacks is growing in Wisconsin and throughout the country. The figures paint a grim picture as we celebrate Black History Month in February.
• The wealth gap between white and black households is at its highest level since 1989, when whites were 17 times wealthier, according to a report from the Pew Research Center.
•WalletHub measured financial inequality among racial groups in each state and the District of Columbia, analyzing 21 key metrics, ranging from the median household income to unemployment rate. The results show that Hispanic and black Americans remain firmly entrenched at the bottom of the economic ladder.
And lest we think Wisconsin is progressive in this regard, the WalletHub study showed the Badger State among the worst in several key indicators, including wide gaps between races in median household income, home ownership, poverty rate, educational attainment and the number of people insured.
Racial equality continues to be couched in moral terms that often ignore economic reality, according to findings in PolicyLink research.
"Equity — just and fair inclusion of all — has always been a moral imperative in this country, but a new consensus is emerging that equity is also an economic imperative," the report finds.
It adds that "scores" of economists and financial institutions are beginning to realize that "rising inequality and low wages for workers on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder are stifling growth and competitiveness ..."
"Solutions" to the problem vary from raising the minimum wage to gaining more entrepreneurial opportunities for minorities to an outright end to institutional racism.
The wealth gap has existed for the entirety of black history in this country, from the days of slavery forward. Much progress has occurred since those dark days, but much still needs to happen before wage and wealth equality comes to fruition, particularly now that "minorities" are becoming the majority in this country.
One thing is certain — it likely won't be a matter of a rising tide lifting all boats. The Pew Research report shows American households — of all races — still struggling to recover from the most recent recession of 2007 to 2010. During that period, median net worth of American families decreased by 39.4 percent, from $135,700 to $82,300. Rapidly plunging house prices and a stock market crash were the immediate contributors to this shellacking, according to the report.
While the economy is slowly coming out of that mess, there remains no easy fix for income inequality. The key likely lies in public policies that promote a more level playing field and that create opportunities for everyone across a broader spectrum of jobs.
One thing is certain, according to the reports: We must seek to end income inequality to better the country and its economy.
"Advancing equity — ensuring that all people, regardless of their race or zip code, have the resources and opportunities they need to reach their full potential — is both the right thing to do and a smart economic strategy," according to PolicyLink.
An end to racial inequality isn't just a nice, fuzzy feeling for a month during the year. It is a necessity for economic growth.