President Joe Biden has been promoting his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan as the way to restore the U.S. economy. While the package is impressive and goes a long way to help the average American, it doesn’t go far enough to bring wealth equality to Black America, said economist and reparations scholar Dr. William “Sandy” Darity.
Speaking with CBS News, Darity said the plan is a significant and meaningful move in the proper direction for this country — a dramatic step forward and a major reversal from a period “when the government had been mobilized to support Wall Street and the wealthiest among us and a move back to the purpose of supporting mainstream and the neediest among us,” Darity said.
However, when asked if the proposal could be improved, Darity pointed out the need for a more targeted approach to the financial needs of Black America.
“I think the plan would be superior if it included such economic rights such as a right to employment through a federal job guarantee or the provision of equity banking services for all Americans through a restored postal banking system or other public banking vehicles. This would be a way to eliminate predatory lending and be a way to provide people with credit in a more affordable fashion,” Darity said.
The proposed legislation plays an important role in improving economic conditions for all Americans, Darity said. “It doesn’t do very much to address racial wealth disparities in the United States, particularly disparities associated with gaps in wealth”
Darity proposes what he said is “a very different type of initiative — something akin to a plan for reparations for Black Americans who have ancestors who were enslaved in the United States. I would be very excited if the president would establish a presidential commission that would take up the task of reparations for Black Americans.”
While the proposed plan isn’t enough, Dairy said, “I think it improves equality in terms of the overall population but it does not improve inequities in terms of addressing the disparities that exist between Black and white Americans, in particular the racial wealth gap which now amounts to approx. $840,000 in net worth between the average Black households and white households.”
Black Americans whose ancestors were enslaved in the U.S. amount to 12 percent of the population but only possess less than 2 percent of the nation’s wealth, Darity said. “And I don’t think any of the proposals in this existing package…will do much to try and close the enormous gulf in wealth across racial lines.”
Darity’s words drew praise on Twitter.
“Thanks for your courage and candor on the topic of reparations and for adroitly clarifying the host’s mis-characterizations,” Morehouse College alum and lawyer wright-on it @wrightlaw1977 tweeted. “Paying reparations to Black Ppl would be the most effective way to close the wealth gap between Black and white communities in our lifetimes.”
#Non-Zero Voter. @Prdrtho called for Black Americans to take action. “When, what, where and why reparations is needed. contact your representative in Congress and request Dr. Sandy Darity and Mrs. Mullen be placed on the HR40 Commission.”
Dr. Darity co-wrote the book on reparations, “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century,” with Kirsten Mullen.
“A policy that guarantees to every black American descendant of U.S. slavery, a measure of wealth equal to median white wealth, by paying #PureReparations, would lift all of America up with it,” tweeted high school math teacher Henry Deane @cotangent2theta.
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