Bad News: The Racial Wealth Gap Grows

Social justice update: The wealth gap between black and white Americans quadrupled between 1984 and 2007.

From the BBC

In 23 years, the gap rose by $75,000 (£52,000), from $20,000 to $95,000.

The study suggested these figures reflected public policy in the US.

[The Institute on Assets and Social Policy] found that public policies in the US benefited the wealthiest people, through tax cuts on investment income and inheritances, and disadvantaged others through discrimination in housing, credit and labour markets.

Here's the chart:

That's a serious injustice of a trend. And I imagine it would only be worse if home equity were included, given the fact that black neighborhoods probably have lower property values than comparable white neighborhoods.

There are (at least) two components here. One is social and cultural. There's still vestigal racism, whether conscious or not, that makes the black guy or girl less likely to get the house or the promotion. But it's also important to note, as this study does, that there's a political component too. When we have debates about taxes on investment income and inheritances, we rarely acknowledge that these policies not only preserve dynastic wealth, but also deepen a racial wealth divide. It's not good.