April 28, 2016

Robert Reich talks about the concept of a "Racial Wealth Gap" in this short video. Basically, he says you have to have savings to accumulate wealth - to buy a house or invest, send a kid to college. But many Americans have no savings. In particular, low income families of color are less likely to have savings or inherit wealth, and face significant barriers to building wealth.

What can we do? Reich proposes some excellent changes, such as reforming the tax system so that capital gains are taxed as normal income. Another great idea is to create a savings account for all newborns with at least $1,250, which will grow into a nest egg to tap as they turn 18 and need money for education or training. Allowing those getting public benefits to save more without getting cut off from assistance encourages saving even in poor families.

It is a pretty simple list of ideas, but the one that would prevent this from being widely accepted is that first idea - tax changes to capital gains - as well as reducing some of the other tax breaks that the top 1% would never willingly give up, even if it meant helping the bottom 99%.

You might think it would take a change in Congressional leadership or something.

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