April 19, 2005


It Really Is Black and White . . .: Private Social Security accounts will help lift minorities out of poverty. (ALPHONSO JACKSON, April 19, 2005, Opinion Journal)

Today, the typical black household has a net worth of only $6,100, while a typical white household has $67,000. In recent years, the wealth gap between blacks and whites has been intensifying. Blacks are more likely to be unemployed, living in poverty, and in need of government assistance.

We can begin reversing these trends and erasing today's racial inequities by encouraging black participation in what President Bush calls America's "ownership society." Through ownership, more Americans will accumulate wealth, become financially independent, and take a more active role in their futures, their children's futures, and the future of our country.

Homeownership is the most powerful ownership tool, and its effects are both measurable and impressive. When a family owns a home, its children score about 9% higher in math and 7% higher in reading. Children of homeowners are 25% more likely to graduate from high school, and more than twice as likely to graduate from college. Moreover, homeownership enables families to build significant equity.

Thanks in part to our efforts, a record number of American households--nearly 70%--now own their homes. Since June 2002, more than 2.2 million minority families have purchased homes, and minority homeownership is greater than 51% for the first time.

Yet the wealth-creating power of ownership is not limited to owning homes. An individual who owns his retirement security--a concept central to the president's plan for reforming Social Security--would enjoy many of the same benefits homeownership provides. And under the plan, even the lowest-income workers would have the opportunity to build equity.

Black Americans have the most to gain from the proposals.

One nice thing about the arguments over the ownership society is that they've made more explicit what has been implicit in the left/Right divide; the GOP supports ownership, at least in part, because it will make minorities wealthier and more conservative while Democrats prefer them poor and dependent on the State.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 19, 2005 11:38 PM
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