Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Long Read: Home Wreckanomics

There's been a lot of evidence that the recovery is finally pushing forward and that America's employment picture has turned around.  But the reality is for black families in America, there's been no recovery, and in fact black wealth and the black middle class have all but vanished in just a few short years.

The recession and tepid recovery have erased two decades of African American wealth gains. Nationally, the net worth of the typical African American family declined by one-third between 2010 and 2013, according to a Washington Post analysis of the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, a drop far greater than that of whites or Hispanics.

The top half of African American families — the core of the middle class — is left with less than half of the typical wealth they possessed in 2007. The wealth of similarly situated whites declined by just 14 percent.

Overall, the survey found, the typical African American family was left with about eight cents for every dollar of wealth held by whites.

Depressing doesn't begin to describe it.  And yet just when black families need help the most, Republicans are doing everything they can to pull the ladder of success out of reach.

Many researchers say the biggest portion of the wealth gap results from the strikingly different experiences blacks and whites typically have with homeownership. Most whites live in largely white neighborhoods, where homes often prove to be a better investment because people of all races want to live there. Predominantly black communities tend to attract a narrower group of mainly black buyers, dampening demand and prices, they say.

In places such as Prince George’s County, where many people chose to live at least in part because of the comfort and familiarity they felt in a majority-black community, that meant their home brought them less wealth than if they had purchased elsewhere, economists say.

Scholars who have studied this dynamic and real estate professionals who have lived it say the price differences go beyond those that might be dictated by the perceived quality of schools, or the public and commercial investment made in particular neighborhoods. The big difference maker, they say, is race.

Race.  Even the upper-middle class black families of Prince George's County are now finding that black neighborhoods will always be worth less than white ones.  But remember, racism is over in America because we have a black president, so we don't need the outdated protections of the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act or college admissions.

And now the Fair Housing Act is before the Supreme Court. with red states and banks looking to strip provisions out of that law as well.  Because racism doesn't exist anymore, you see.  We've got to cut public transportation in black neighborhoods because it's too expensive, cut schools because they're failing, cut lending protections so that they can be served by payday lenders and title loan companies, and Obamacare?  That's got to go too.  Cut this, cut that, gotta cut Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and when we try to fight back at the voting booth, we're told we can't vote because we haven't jumped through the correct hoops, and besides, voting machines are to expensive.  We need to cut those too. 

Not much left to be cut, you know.

Of course, that's the point.

1 comment:

RepubAnon said...

Part of this is likely related to how people stay informed these days:

Fox was ending the year as the second-most-watched basic-cable network in prime time, up from third in 2013, and was the only cable-news network to see any audience growth during prime time. “This channel’s still growing,” Ailes told me. “You’re going to see over the next 10 years, this thing is going to grow even bigger.”


“They used to laugh at us in the mainstream media,” Ailes said, “but we’re becoming the place most people go to get the truth.”

Source, New York Times, The Megyn Kelly Moment

If most people really do go to Fox News to get the truth, we're all in very deep trouble.

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