Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

$16T Is Not COVID-19 Costs, It’s Racism’s Costs

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 14, 2020

40 acres and a mule.

That was the promise which was authorized and made to freed slaves by General Tecumseh Sherman in Special Field Order No. 15 on January 16, 1865, during the last days of the Civil War.

It was promptly broken by President Johnson, who was a slave owner, and had become President upon Lincoln’s assassination.

America has been breaking promises at least since 1776.

America has broken numerous promises to, and treaties with Indians (Native Americans).

America broke numerous promises to Blacks – and, still is.

And, in large part, America has broken faith with the Common Man at least ever since 1980, so that now, “corporations are people, my friend.” {So said Mitt Romney while campaigning at the Iowa State Fair to be the Republican party’s Presidential Nominee in August 2011.}

I wish that America’s politicians
(especially the GOP)
cared more for The People
than for corporations.

Anyone that loves America, loves her people, loves the idea of liberty, of equality, and guaranteed rights under law, should also love honesty, justice, and responsibility. And one simply CANNOT examine any segment of American history without acknowledging the horrific and grotesque inequity present FROM THE BEGINNING of this nation. It’s written in the Constitution, for heaven’s sake!

Women did not have the right to vote (suffrage).

Blacks were enslaved. Then, Blacks were continually discriminated against in seemingly countless ways – ranging from the denial of voting rights, of commerce, of justice, and more. And, as if to add insult to injury, the 13th Amendment has an exclusion clause FOR the purpose of perpetuating slavery. The amendment reads: Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

“…except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted…”

Yes, slavery IS 100% Legal in the United States. The Constitution says so.

And to ANYONE who claims or asserts that there is not now institutionalized racism in this country need only look to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to see that racism is institutionalized, and alive and well in the United States.

In the 1999 Class Action case Pigford v. Glickman(Timothy Pigford, et al., v. Dan Glickman, Secretary, United States Department of Agriculture), “the suit claimed that the agency had discriminated against black farmers on the basis of race and failed to investigate or properly respond to complaints from 1983 to 1997.” Members of the class included those who received allocation of farm loans and assistance between 1981 and 1996. (See: “Black Farmers Win $1.25 Billion In Discrimination Suit,” By Jasmin Melvin, February 18, 2010, online at

• The 2007 Census of Agriculture reported that 2.20 million farms operated in the United States. Of this total, 32,938, or approximately 1.5% of all farms, were operated by African Americans.

• Over 74% (24,466) of African American farmers in the United States reside in Texas, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia and Louisiana.

• Average annual market value for farms operated by African American farmers in 2007 was $30,829. The national average for white U.S. farmers was $140,521.

• Overall, the number of farms operated in the United States increased by 3.2% between 2002 and 2007. Farms operated by African Americans increased from 29,090 to 32,938, an 11.7% increase over the five-year period.

• In 2007, 348 (757 in 2002) African American farmers received Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) loans amounting to a total of $9.9 million. This averaged $28,408 per participating African American farmer, about 32% of the national average ($87,917). Average CCC loan value to white farmers was $88,379.

• Other federal farm payments to African American operated farms averaged $4,260, half the national average government farm payment of $9,518. About 31% of all African American farmers received some government payment compared to 50% of white farmers.

The Congressional Research Service has written about the Pigford v Glickman case in Congressional Research Service 7-5700 http://www.crs.gov publication RS20430 dated May 29, 2013, entitled, “The Pigford Cases: USDA Settlement of Discrimination Suits by Black Farmers,” by Tadlock Cowan, Analyst in Natural Resources and Rural Development; and Jody Feder, Legislative Attorney.

“On February 18, 2010, Attorney General Holder and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack announced a $1.25 billion settlement of these Pigford II claims. However, because only $100 million was made available in the 2008 farm bill, the Pigford II settlement was contingent upon congressional approval of an additional $1.15 billion in funding. After a series of failed attempts to appropriate funds for the settlement agreement, the Senate passed the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (H.R. 4783) to provide the $1.15 billion appropriation by unanimous consent on November 19, 2010. The Senate bill was then passed by the House on November 30 and signed by the President on December 8 (P.L. 111-291).

“Many voiced concern over the structure of the settlement agreement, the large number of applicants who filed late, and reported deficiencies in representation by class counsel. A provision in the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-246) permitted any claimant who had submitted a late-filing request under Pigford and who had not previously obtained a determination on the merits of his or her claim to petition in federal court to obtain such a determination. A maximum of $100 million in mandatory spending was made available for payment of these claims, and the multiple claims that were subsequently filed were consolidated into a single case, In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation (commonly referred to as Pigford II).

“This report highlights some of the events that led up to the original Pigford class action suit and the subsequent Pigford II settlement. The report also outlines the structure of both the original consent decree in Pigford and the settlement agreement in Pigford II.”

And even as recently as 2019, the nonprofit investigative news group ProPublica found ongoing racially discriminatory practices (aka racism) in states’ laws, particularly and especially in Southern Slave States (that’s what they were), which have laws that CONTINUE to discriminate against Blacks and other racial/ethnic minorities, including impoverished Whites – but Blacks exceedingly more so than Whites.

“Between 1910 and 1997, African Americans lost about 90% of their farmland. This problem is a major contributor to America’s racial wealth gap; the median wealth among black families is about a tenth that of white families. Now, as reparations have become a subject of national debate, the issue of black land loss is receiving renewed attention. A group of economists and statisticians recently calculated that, since 1910, black families have been stripped of hundreds of billions of dollars because of lost land. Nathan Rosenberg, a lawyer and a researcher in the group, told me, “If you want to understand wealth and inequality in this country, you have to understand black land loss.”
–From: Their Family Bought Land One Generation After Slavery. The Reels Brothers Spent Eight Years in Jail for Refusing to Leave It. By Lizzie Presser, ProPublica, July 15, 2019

That is not mere “happenstance,” it is deliberate, ongoing, carefully calculated opposition to equality under law against Blacks.

“Hundreds of partition actions are filed in North Carolina every year. Carteret County, which has a population of 70,000, has one of the highest per-capita rates in the state. I read through every Carteret partition case concerning heirs’ property from the past decade, and found that 42% of the cases involved black families, despite the fact that only 6% of Carteret’s population is black. Heirs not only regularly lose their land; they are also required to pay the legal fees of those who bring the partition cases. In 2008, Janice Dyer, a research associate at Auburn University, published a study of these actions in Macon County, Alabama. She told me that the lack of secure ownership locks black families out of the wealth in their property. “The Southeast has these amazing natural resources: timber, land, great fishing,” she said. “If somebody could snap their fingers and clear up all these titles, how much richer would the region be?”

So, yes… institutionalized racism is alive and well in the United States.


Ad from a fiscal point of view, America is continuing to shoot itself in the economic feet.

Examining The Black-White Wealth Gap

By Kriston McIntosh, Managing Director – The Hamilton Project; Emily Moss, Senior Research Assistant – The Hamilton Project; Ryan Nunn, Assistant Vice President for Applied Research in Community Development – Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis; Jay Shambaugh, Nonresident Senior Fellow – Economic Studies

Examining the Black-white wealth gap


The Economic Impact Of Closing The Racial Wealth Gap

Dana M Peterson, Global Economist, and; Catherine L Mann, Global Chief Economist
Citi Global Perspectives & Solutions (Citi GPS), Citigroup Inc.

Closing the Racial Inequality Gaps

The Economic Cost of Racial Inequality in the U.S.

In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Today, more than at any time since Rev. Dr. King’s assassination, we are bearing witness to the grave injustices affecting our fellow citizens. Black, Latinx, and Native Americans have been hospitalized for COVID-19 at a disproportionately high rate, a direct result of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified as “long-standing systemic health and social inequities.” Blacks and People of Color are also bearing a disproportionate share of the pandemic’s economic devastation. And the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have finally shaken the U.S. and the world awake to the egregious racial inequities in our criminal justice system.

As Rev. Dr. King noted, these injustices affect all of us. Higher rates of infection among some affect the health of all, and the loss of health, life, and livelihood among communities of color diminish everyone’s economic security. No one should want to live in a society that incarcerates or kills so many of its citizens just because they are black or brown.

The privileges we enjoy by working for Citi come with responsibilities. While elected officials and community activists must do their part, so must we. One important thing we can do is to show the costs of racial inequality through objective analysis, which is what the authors of this report have sought so effectively to demonstrate. Our overarching goal for the Citi GPS series is to not only tackle the key opportunities and challenges of the 21st century, but to also address complex societal questions and to not shy away from difficult subjects. As such, we believe we have a responsibility to address current events and to frame them with an economic lens in order to highlight the real costs of longstanding discrimination against minority groups, especially against Black people and particularly in the U.S.

The analysis in the accompanying report shows if four key racial gaps for Blacks — wages, education, housing, and investment — were closed 20 years ago, $16 trillion could have been added to the U.S. economy. And if the gaps are closed today, $5 trillion can be added to U.S. GDP over the next five years.

These gaps exist based on systemic issues that caused and continue to cause discrimination against Blacks over the years. The gaps in many cases remain wide 60 years after the Civil Rights Movement. In some cases, including in homeownership rates and college degree attainment, the gaps are wider now than in the 1950’s and 1960’s. For each of the gaps faced by Blacks, we identify the degree of the gap between Blacks and whites in wages, labor segmentation, education, wealth, housing  and investment and identify the impact closing each gap would have on the U.S. economy. Finally, we outline how we believe governments, corporations, and individuals can work together to eliminate these gaps for good.

Our ambition is for this analysis to bring sober perspective as well as hope to our readers as we collectively find substantive and sustainable opportunities to address the gaps we identify.

The free report may be downloaded from the source Citi Global Perspectives & Solutions, or from this site here. Closing The Racial Inequality Gaps The Economic Cost of Black Inequality in the US

Closing the Racial Inequality Gaps

Racism Has Cost The US Economy $16 Trillion In The Last 20 Years — And Will Keep Costing The Country Money If Things Don’t Change

• Centuries of discrimination have created a cavernous wealth gap between Black and White Americans.
• Today, Black Americans own an estimated one-tenth the wealth of white Americans — $17,150 for Black families compared to $171,000 for white families.
• This gap is not only bad for Black people, it’s bad for the US economy, too.
• Researchers estimate that the racial wealth gap has cost the US economy $16 trillion since 2000. If the gap closed today, the GDP would see a $5 trillion boost in the next five years.

In 2016, the Brookings Institution estimated that Black Americans own about one-tenth the wealth of white Americans — $17,150 for Black families compared to $171,000 for white families. The gap persists at every income level: Among the top 10% of earners, the median net worth of white families is $1,789,300, whereas a Black family earning the same income has a median net worth of $343,160.

What the racial wealth gap costs the US economy

In a Zoom panel discussion hosted by Business Insider last month, experts from a variety of fields — higher education, business, and financial planning — discussed the costs of the racial wealth gap and how to close it.

Dania Francis, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Boston and co-author of “The Economics of Reparations,” illuminated the cost of racial inequality to the US economy.

Citing a 2019 McKinsey report, Francis explained that if the racial wealth gap suddenly closed in 2019, the United States’ GDP could be 4% to 6% higher by 2028 than it will be.

Citigroup offered its own estimate of the cost of the racial wealth gap: If the gap closed today, the GDP would see a $5 trillion boost in the next five years. And if the gap had closed 20 years ago, in 2000? The GDP today would be $16 trillion higher.

“Wealth inequality obstructs the supply of talent and ideas for innovation, which is a key driver of economic growth,” said Francis. Put simply, “Inequality stifles growth.”

Closing the racial wealth gap

According to Francis, closing the racial wealth gap will take more than simply transferring wealth to Black Americans (in the form of reparations and otherwise); it also requires dismantling the underlying structural inequalities that preserve the racial wealth gap  — things like lending practices that lead to discriminatory denials for home and business loans, or persistent undervaluing of homes in Black neighborhoods.

Fellow panelist Shawn Rochester, author of “The Black Tax: The Cost of Being Black in America,” has built a proposed economic framework for transferring wealth to the Black community that he calls PHD: purchase, hire, deposit. The idea of the framework, said Rochester is to “create jobs, create and expand businesses, and provide capital in the Black community.”

For individuals, that means your personal spend. “It’s things like the cars that we buy — we can buy from a Black dealer,” said Rochester. “Pre-COVID, there were 16,000 auto dealers in the country, 264 of them are Black auto dealers. These are phenomenal jobs, 66 of them per location on average. Well paid, from the front office all the way to the back office. We could create hundreds of thousands of jobs if we utilized Black auto dealers, for example.”

For companies and corporations, the PHD framework requires addressing your supply chain — buying from Black manufacturers and contractors injects cash into existing Black businesses, helping them to grow, and creates demand for new businesses. At present, said Rochester, “less than 2% of corporate supply chain spend is spent with Black businesses.”

Ultimately, addressing the racial wealth gap is good for everyone. “Addressing these underlying structural barriers would pave the way for Black Americans to benefit from saving and investing their income in a way that they’ve been previously denied,” said Francis. “These are real, tangible benefits to addressing racial wealth inequality in the US.”


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