Wealth Disparity in the United States

Wealth Disparity in the United States

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Wealth in the United States has always been unequally dispersed among African Americans and whites, even dating back to the 1800’s. African Americans own less property, are less educated, and are in a lower socioeconomic class than whites. Policies since the 1960’s have been implemented in the United States, such as welfare, to help lessen the gap between the two, but the evidence suggests that these policies have not worked to their potential.

     Furthermore, the question that the author is trying to answer is what can be done to help lessen the wealth gap between African Americans and whites. The author looks at affirmative action, business ownership among blacks, but overall focuses most of his attention on home and property ownership.

     The author suggests that to achieve the goal of racial and class equality, a policy needs to rely on socioeconomic status, but especially take a person’s assets into account. Whites own substantially more property than blacks, which creates a large gap in assets between blacks and whites. While many blacks want to live in integrated neighborhoods, white neighborhoods do not want their property value declining, so therefore white flight ensues. The author proposes to have a policy that guarantees that black ownership in a neighborhood will not top 15 percent, so whites would be less likely to leave. Also, many incentives have been proposed to help the poor gain prosperity, such as a national wealth tax. This tax would make individuals review their assets and liabilities, and then individuals would be required to pay the government a percentage of that net worth.

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In turn, these funds would be redistributed to the poor.

     In conclusion, African Americans and whites still have a long way to go before they are economically and socially equal. Policies need to be shifted from a race debate to correcting wealth differences. While race can have an impact, socioeconomic variables have a much larger impact in determining life outcomes than does skin color or racial identity
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