The New Democrat Online

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The New Republic: Opinion: Dean Starkman: Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

Rich & Poor

The New Republic: Opinion: Dean Starkman: Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

It is true that even since the American civil rights movement that even though African-Americans are doing much better than they were pre-civil rights that they still have a large income gap compared with Caucasian-Americans. And if anything they have even lost ground to Asian and Latin Americans as well. So what does that mean? I would argue for both more opportunity and personal responsibility for the African-American community especially when it comes to men. Government can't force people to do the right thing. Only punish them when they break the law. But they can put policies in place that leads to better opportunity for Americans who are struggling regardless of race.

We have a one-trillion dollar and growing when it comes to infrastructure in this country. Here's a wild idea, how about we fill that hole especially for underserved communities that need that investment. So business's would want to locate there. Lets build new schools and and fix up old schools. And give Americans period again regardless of race the option of where to send their kids to school with their parents making that decision. So our students no longer are sent to school based on where they live, but what is the best school for them. And stop funding schools based on where they are located and instead based on what they need to be successful.

Lets make walking out on your kids whether you are a father or mother illegal and make that crime punishable by having to pay for your kids childhood. So we no longer have single parent single income families unless one of the parents actually died. And lets make education and job training universal for all low-skilled adults whether they are working or not. So they can get themselves the skills that they need to get themselves a good job. As well as make college universal and affordable for all qualified for college high school graduates. And how we would do that is really the subject for another blog.

There are a lot of things that we could do as a country to close the wealth and achievement gap in this country. And we wouldn't have to raise income taxes on anyone. Or redistribute wealth from the top to take care of everyone else. We could simply do these things as part as annual infrastructure bill that Congress is supposed to pass anyway by law. And pay for these things the way we pay for infrastructure investment in this country which is with energy taxes. And we could tax alcohol, tobacco, junk food and soft drinks or even marijuana is the prohibition is ever repealed to fund these investments.

I'm not a fan of race-based policies as a Liberal because I like to look at what is best for the country and the individual as a whole when it comes to public policy. Just one reason why I do not support reparations for any community that has been discriminated against. But the fact is that African-Americans tend to struggle more than the country as a whole. And these investments would probably benefit them more than anyone else except for perhaps American-Indians. So they would benefit a lot from this, but not based on their race, but because they need these investments more.