The depth and breadth of the financial toll that the Great Recession has taken on the nation’s minorities is just now coming into full focus. On top of experiencing a well-documented spike in unemployment and housing foreclosures, the nation’s blacks and Hispanics have suffered a massive meltdown in household wealth. Wealth is the sum of assets (house, car, stocks, 401(k) account, etc.) minus debts (mortgage, car loan, credit card debt, etc.).
From 2005 to 2009, inflation-adjusted median household wealth fell 66 percent among Hispanics and 53 percent among blacks compared with a relatively modest 16 percent decline among whites, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new government survey data that provides the first direct evidence of these trends.
As a result of these disproportionate declines, the typical white household in 2009 had 20 times more wealth ($113,149) than the typical black household ($5,677) and 18 times more than the typical Hispanic household ($6,325).
Mister Taylor went on to say .This is a story, at least in part, of good intentions gone awry. Roughly two decades ago, the nation embraced policies to expand homeownership, believing it would be good for the economy and the social fabric. A disproportionate share of the new homeowners of the 1990s and 2000s were minorities. Many bought houses at prices inflated by the residential real estate market bubble of the time. And as we all now know, many were either undercapitalized or victims of predatory lending practices — or both. When the market collapsed, it fell hardest on them.
But there is another aspect to this saga that’s almost as poignant. It’s a variation on the Sherlock Holmes story of the dog that didn’t bark. Even as their wealth has been decimated, the nation’s minorities have remained politically quiescent. No street protests. No marches on Washington. No detectable rise in racial and ethnic grievances.
Indeed, Pew Research surveys show that during the same period — from 2005 to 2009 — minorities moved ahead of whites in their measured levels of satisfaction with the state of the national economy.
How can that be? Is it that minorities are better fortified, psychologically, to endure hard times? (Certainly they’ve had more experience.) Or could it be that because so much of their loss was of relatively recently acquired “paper wealth,” it stung less?
Perhaps. But whatever one’s circumstances, the loss of wealth is a major blow. Unlike income, wealth is a stock of assets, accumulated over time, that can provide a bulwark against short-term economic setbacks; savings for a college education; security for retirement; and a nest egg for one’s children. It’s the ticket to the American dream — and it can be passed on from one generation to the next. Its loss cannot be easy for anyone to swallow.
So why the apparent cognitive dissonance? In the absence of a more plausible theory, one could do worse than consult the political calendar. According to Pew Research surveys, the period when minorities first passed whites in their measured level of satisfaction with the national economy was between 2008 and 2009. That happens to be when the nation elected and inaugurated its first non white president.
Optimism among blacks and Hispanics about the nation’s economic future has fallen off since those politically heady days of 2008-09. But it remains above that of whites: In the latest Pew surveys, 40 percent of blacks say they expect the economy to improve in the next year, compared with 34 percent of Hispanics and 29 percent of whites. Pretty remarkable, given the disparate impact of the recession on these groups.
The moral of the story? When it comes to the way minorities perceive the economy these days, it may not be the economy, stupid.
Paul Taylor is executive vice president of the Pew Research Center and co-author of its recent report on the racial wealth gap.
Paul Taylor despite his good intentions seem to believe that the near collapse of the American Economy and the attendant fallout around the world is Genesised in Blacks receiving loans for homes they could not afford in the first place. Rather than place the blame where it truly lies,at the feet of unscrupulous Bankers and other lending agencies .
However he is not the only one perpetuating this myth:
Here’s what the San José State University Department of Economics had to say: An article by Steven A. Holmes from the September 30, 1999 edition of the New York Times describes how the process began that culminated in the financial crisis of September 2008. The article reveals how much wishful thinking there was on the part of government officials that financial institutions could be run like social welfare agencies and how they were forewarned of their folly yet they went ahead and did it.
In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.
The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets — including the New York metropolitan region — will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.
Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.
In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates — anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.
There is however ,another side to this debate. Summed up this way by University of Notre Dame Proffesor of Sociology , Richard Williams .
Today, however, there are some who argue that government efforts to promote minority home ownership caused our current economic crisis, forcing banks to lend to unqualified buyers and eventually pulling all homebuyers down. This is a misconception that could hamper future efforts to help families find secure, affordable housing.
The CRA has never required that lenders make unsound loans. Indeed, studies by the Federal Reserve Board show that the CRA has promoted safe and profitable lending to low-income markets that were underserved in the past. These studies also show that CRA-related loans to low-income borrowers have had significantly lower foreclosure rates than loans made by independent mortgage companies not covered by the act.
It was not government regulation that paved the way for the current crisis in housing but government deregulation, which increased the range of products and services that banks and other financial institutions could offer, eliminated interest rate ceilings, and greatly expanded the geographical areas in which individual companies could operate. As a result, the banking industry became far more competitive, attracting new investors, speculators, and financial institutions. There were some positive results of such competition, of course, but there were also some very negative ones. The proportion of loans that were subject to the requirements of the CRA and other regulatory safeguards decreased.
Some in this debate will not let facts get in the way of their narrative, in fact whenever there are hiccups in the American economy experts say blacks are the first to feel the effects, we have no old wealth beyond what wealth we may have acquired in equity on our homes , to that effect we are at more risk to lose more , and lose it the quickest.
The housing market has literally wiped out the gains African-Americans made in the last 20 years. and as Taylor articulated the typical white household in 2009 had 20 times more wealth ($113,149) than the typical black household ($5,677) and 18 times more than the typical Hispanic household ($6,325.
There are other issues at play in the numbers here that have nothing to do with the housing debacle, for instance we make up 13% of the population yet according to the (sentencing project U.S Commission on civil Rights) .
In recent years policy attention regarding the crisis of the African-American male has focused ona variety of areas in which African-American males have suffered disproportionately from social ills. These have included education, housing, employment, and health care, among others. Perhaps in no other area, though, have these problems been displayed as prominently as in the realm of crime and the criminal justice system. African-Americans have been affected in this area in two significant regards. First, African-Americans are more likely to be victimized by crime than are other groups. This creates a set of individual and community problems which impede upon other areas of productive activity. Second, the dramatic rates at which African-American males have come under some form of criminal justice supervision has created a complex set of consequences which affect not only individual victims and offenders, but families and communities as well. 49% of prison inmates nationally are African-American, compared to their 13% share of the overall population.
1 Nearly one in three (32%) black males in the age group 20-29 is under some form of criminal
2 justice supervision on any given day — either in prison or jail, or on probation or parole.
As of 1995, one in fourteen (7%) adult black males was incarcerated in prison or jail on any
given day, representing a doubling of this rate from 1985. The 1995 figure for white males
was 1%. A black male born in 1991 has a 29% chance of spending time in prison at some point in his
life. The figure for white males is 4%, and for Hispanics, 16%.
While African-American males have been the most severely affected demographic group within
the criminal justice system, other minorities have also been disproportionately affected.
Hispanics now constitute 17% of the prison population nationally, compared to their 10% share
of the total population. The number of Hispanic inmates increased by more than half in the
period 1990-96. Women, and particularly minority women, while incarcerated in smaller
numbers than men, have also experienced dramatic growth in recent years. The number of
women in the prison system increased by 418% from 1980 to 1995, compared to a rise of 236%
for men. Black women are now incarcerated at a rate seven times that of white women.
Toward an Understanding of the Over-representation of African-American Males in the
Criminal Justice System
In 1954, at the time of the historic .Brown v. Board of Education.
Additionally about 70 % of young African-American kids born today are born out-of-wedlock, to single mothers , this is a crisis of epic proportions, and is the civil rights issue of our lifetime.
Yet there is no Black leadership on this issue. There are no Dr. King or Malcolm X, there is no Eldridge Cleaver, or Stokely Carmichael , No Marcus Garvey and no Sigourney truth. The fact is we are the ones that have to take up this issue and it begins with each and every black American and Latino home, technically speaking Latinos now form a formidable block in this country and will be a force to be reckoned with going forward.
What are we doing about it? In order to understand the impact these statistics will have today and in the future, our people must first know about them, and understand the consequences of the course we are on.
There is an advertisement on television , its players an african American woman and her two children (no husband) just returned home after the day’s business, one child ask his mom “what’s for dinner”? the mother replied “I don’t know’ the other child chimed in, let’s have mexican , to this the family erupted in cheer.!
I wondered to myself which Mexican, or any other ethnic family would suggest having African-American food. The moral of this little diversion is, we can’t even support our own restaurants or other businesses , we do not operate as a community therefore the approximately 40 million of us are simply independent individuals , rather than a formidable economic, and voting block no one dare mess with or ignore. We have to start making better decisions since we are inclined to act as individuals. Some of the decisions we can start with are reducing the amount of children we bring into this world without the benefit of proper fathers in their lives , this is up to our women who must be better stewards of their bodies, and not acquiescing to ever guy that comes along looking for a thrill , and not much else .
And to the fathers, we have to start to take responsibility for the lives we help to create, the mothers are 50%respionsible, we are 50% responsible, act like it.We must also start supporting our own businesses, and starting our own, we cannot expect others to do for us , what we need to do for ourselves, we cannot continue to be victims, when others are finding a way forward. We have seen that having a black chief executive in the White House does nothing for us as a people , President Obama is having to spend his presidency fending off attacks and trying to keep his job.
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