This week, presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden outlined a series of proposals to target racial inequality, at a time when the subject is high on the list of voter concerns.
Among other initiatives, the former Vice President proposed requiring the Federal Reserve to report regularly on what they are doing to narrow socioeconomic gaps. However, the proposals left Robert Johnson, the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, feeling underwhelmed.
“Investments and lending to small [Black] businesses simply do not work and will not close the wealth gap,” the wealthy entrepreneur told Yahoo Finance’s The Ticker, explaining why such programs are historically ineffective.
Johnson pointed to data published recently by Axios that outlines glaring differences between the income of White Americans and African Americans. Even when factoring in education, Black income badly lags that of Caucasians, the data found.
“As much as I appreciate what the Vice President is trying to do, it is too little and probably way, way too late,” Johnson notes.
Biden’s $150 billion plan aims to narrow the wealth gap between Whites and minorities by offering programs like a one-time student debt reduction of $10,000 per student. The proposal, however, does not specifically address reparations, a measure Johnson believes is the solution.
“The way to get wealth in the hands of the Black community is to transfer the wealth that was taken from Black people-- the 40 million people who are alive today after slavery and racism and Jim Crowism,” Johnson said.
The BET co-founder has proposed a $14 trillion reparations plan, saying about $8 a day from tax-paying White Americans, over 30 years, would let African Americans deploy the capital needed to close the gap.
“If Vice President Biden’s program says ‘I want to make a few people better off,’ he can probably achieve that,” Johnson noted.
“But if he wants to close the wealth gap and repay for slavery and attending over 30-40 years of systemic racism, $150 million ain’t gonna do it,” he added.