Things aren’t looking too rosy for black Americans and their economic status, despite the fact African American spending power is expect to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015.
A group of scholars met for the African American Economic Summit at Howard University on Friday and they predicted “an alarming picture of the financial ills afflicting the black community even as the nation recovers from the recession,” reports The Washington Post.
Currently the white-black wealth disparity is more than 20 to 1; black homeownership has decreased; and more African Americans are unemployed, meaning income is down. While the economy has been showing signs of recovery, with recent jobs reports showing improvement, unemployment for blacks remains at 13.8 percent. The group of gathered scholars acknowledge that President Obama entered office during the worst economic situation since the Depression. But some think the President needs to more directly address issues of race.
“We are basically talking about an economic system that is shot through with discrimination,” said Bernard E. Anderson, a former assistant secretary of labor, during the meeting. He added that it seemed President Obama had yet to address economic disparities between blacks and whites. “He does not want to be labeled a president who is consumed by racial inequality in this country,” said Anderson, who has previously met with Obama’s economic advisers.
The attendees did not just talk about the problems, they also offered far-reaching, if politically unlikely, policy prescriptions, reports the newspaper. Among the ideas floated was one by Duke University professor William A. Darity Jr., who said policymakers should pursue a large-scale public jobs program to dramatically lower unemployment. Darrick Hamilton, an economist at the New School, added that the government should divert some of the money used to fund the income-tax deduction for mortgage interest to fund “baby bonds” that would provide $15,000 for disadvantaged newborns of any race to invest later in higher education, a business, or a home.