By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Milwaukee is a racially divided city. Beyond the segregation and discrimination that residents face, there’s also an unbalance when it comes to aspects such as education, transportation and the economy.
Earlier this week, the Institute for Policy Studies, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition released a report. Titled, Ten Solutions to Bridge the Racial Wealth Divide, the report examined people of different backgrounds and how wealth inequality affected them. The study included 10 solutions or programs to help equalize the wealth imbalance.
The solutions included the following: Baby Bonds, Guaranteed Employment and a Significantly Higher Minimum Wage, Affordable Housing, Medicare for All, Postal Banking, Higher Taxes for the Ultra-Wealthy, Fixes to Upside-Down Tax Expenditures, A Congressional Committee on Reparations, Data Collection on Race and Wealth and A Racial Wealth Analysis.
Charlene Crowell, the deputy director of communications at the Center for Responsible Lending, called the report insightful and scholarly in that its conclusions addressed the systemic faults but likewise gave solutions. Crowell said the solutions could be categorized into programs, power and process.
According to the press release, programs would be new government programs, power implies changes to the federal tax code and process is the changes the government would make in its operations regarding race and wealth.
“For far too long we have tolerated the injustice of a violent, extractive and racially exploitative history that generated a wealth divide,” said Darrick Hamilton, one of the co-authors in the press release.
Hamilton, who is the executive director for Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio University added, “The typical black family has only a dime for every dollar held by a typical white family.”
According to the press release, the average black family saw their wealth drop from 1983 to 2016, whereas the average white family saw a 33 percent increase. Additionally, the Great Recession, “stole nearly $1 trillion of wealth from Black and Latinx families, largely via unnecessary foreclosures and lost property values.”
As part of the report’s release, the Institute for Policy Studies tweeted images on its twitter page @inequalityorg, which explained some of the options.
“The deep and persistent #racialwealthdivide will not close without bold, structural reform,” the Institute tweeted. “Our new report, “Ten Solutions to Bridge the Racial Wealth Divide,” highlights what it would take to address this monumental injustice.”
In addition to the tweet, was an image explaining baby bonds, one the reports aforementioned solutions.
“Baby Bonds can help close the racial wealth divide,” the image read. A baby bond, which is a “federally endowed and managed account,” is set up after the child is born. As the funds grow, a now-adult child can access the bond and use it for education to buy a home or start a business.
The more babies whose parents set up a baby bond, the bigger their possibilities and the higher their potential.
The racial wealth divide isn’t going to close overnight, but it’s a problem worth fixing.