Blacks in America are participating in the impeachment fervor with as much intensity as other political group in America. As commentator Attorney Antonio Moore cogently and passionately shares with his listeners, blacks own less than three percent of America’s wealth and that ownership percentage is decreasing. Blacks are wedded to the Democratic Party with anywhere from 88% to 90% of the black electorate voting Democrat since 1976, according to Attorney Moore.
Blacks are under economic duress from a capital allocation perspective. Writing for The Nation, Leah Douglas notes that blacks today comprise less than two percent of America’s farmers and own one percent of America’s rural land. Ms. Douglas, citing U.S. Department of Agriculture data, points out that since 1969, 80% of black farmland has disappeared, in part due to sales of land held by families via a mechanism known as partition sales, where one family member can sell their portion of land to a developer and the developer puts the entire parcel up for sale where the law allows for the extinguishing of other family member ownership rights. And citing U.S. government data, The Guardian reports that 1.3% of America’s farmers are black, owning .52% of the country’s farmland.
Why is this important? Because at the base of any access to capital is control of natural resources in your country. Bonds, stocks, and currency derive their value from a working political economy and a working political economy derives its value from how well it can extract, process, manage, and distribute natural, financial, and human resources. For those concerned with the economic well-being of the political collective known as black people, access to capital and garnering more income from capital must be top priority.
Let us not for get the disparity in household wealth as well. According to an article by The Economist, mean black household wealth is $138,200, while median household wealth for blacks is $17,100. And 19.4% of black households have net worth of zero or less, due in part to lower incomes and higher debt loads.
Whites are experiencing mean household wealth of $933,700, with a median household wealth of $171,000. Only 9.2% of white households have a net worth of zero or less.
But to listen to the candidates for the Democratic Party nomination, you’d think that 13% of the population didn’t have a capital problem. Besides the obligatory commentary on gun violence, access to healthcare, and white supremacy/nationalism, the candidates have offered no plans, tactics, or strategies for addressing the problem.
The only candidate coming anywhere close is Andrew Yang whose universal basic income plan is purportedly designed to address the pending doom of mass job losses spurred by robotics and artificial intelligence by offering each eligible American a stipend of a $1,000 a month to be used in any way the citizen wishes. Mr. Yang hopes that the stipend goes to supplementing grocery costs, paying medical bills, other household expenses, or to savings. What has been perceived as a giveaway has not yet given Mr. Yang any major traction although he had been able to qualify for all of the Democratic Party’s debates.
And not only are the candidates ignoring the black economic agenda, their comrades in the Congress appear to be as well. While there have been a number of bills introduced in the 116th Congress designed to increase diversity in banking or encourage minority business ownership (see H.R. 1432, H.R. 4101, and H.R. 5322), none have been introduced to allocate capital in such a way that the wealth gap is closed.
What are elected officials signaling? That they have other priorities and probably won’t move on the drastic measures that would be needed to bring about any equality where it counts; in capital. The impeachment distraction will be short-lived, but the wealth and capital gap is not going away.