By popular demand, Professor Melissa Harris-Perry's segment on the race gap in income. With the median white family now almost 20 times richer than the median black one, we've got a problem. MHP holding class:
As people of color become a proportionally bigger part of the American population, our national coffers will rely on them even more. We cannot pay off the national debt if households cannot pay off their personal debt, and if they are in debt, then you can't cut enough to ever make it possible to fix our government's debt problems, and particularly not if you refuse to tax that one group whose wealth is still tick, tick, ticking up.
As she explained last night, you'll find the roots of the income gap in choices by our government. Slaves began their lives in America as property, so of course they couldn't buy property and accumulate wealth. Later, federal programs to help people buy homes shut black and brown people out of desirable neighborhoods. That shut them out of building wealth, which grows over time. As anyone who has ever dragged around a burdensome student loan, the effects of having less grow, too.