President-elect Joe Biden is putting together his cabinet and when it comes to the top economic posts, Biden has the racial wealth gap on his mind, according to a report from Bloomberg.
The Biden campaign has hired several experts on systemic racism to fill top economic positions in order to shape Biden’s policies on housing, health, small-business lending, and other issues. Among the hires are Mehrsa Baradaran, who argues in her book, The Color of Money, that closing the racial wealth gap requires acknowledging past wrongs and providing compensation for damages.
In the book Baradaran wrote, “A reparations program could take many forms from simple cash payments or baby bonds to more complex schemes such as subsidized college tuition, basic income, housing vouchers, or subsidized mortgage credit.”
Before joining Biden’s campaign, Baradaran assisted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA.) and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on policies addressing racial wealth gaps.
The Biden campaign has also selected Don Graves to lead the treasury landing team. Graves previously worked for the Obama administration and was the head of corporate responsibility for KeyBank before joining the campaign in September. Bill Bynum, the chief executive of the Hope Credit Union, will advise the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
American credit unions have served as the lifeblood for small businesses over the last two decades. According to Wikipedia, credit unions more than doubled lending to small businesses between 2008 and 2016, from $30 billion to $60 billion, while lending to small businesses overall during the same period declined by around $100 billion.
Tene Dolphin will serve on the commerce department’s landing team. Dolphin is the first executive director for the Greater Washington Black Chamber of Commerce.
Finance and government experts are shocked by the appointments, saying experts on race and systemic racism have never been this close to economic roles in government.
“It’s an incredible signal to the Black community,” Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, co-founder of the Sadie Collective, told Bloomberg. “This administration is going to be focused on thinking about: ‘How do we build up Black wealth? How do we close this racial wealth gap?’”
It’s no secret that the racial wealth gap between White Americans and minorities is significant and the coronavirus is only making the gap worse. Some, including former BET CEO Robert Johnson believe that Democrats, have repeatedly dropped the ball on a widespread range of Black issues including the racial wealth gap and as a result do not deserve the support of Black voters.
Biden may be trying to change that.