About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, November 24, 2014

Task Force Blames Wealth Disparity on Racism

Olga Negron and Rev. Gregory Edwards
We've all seen the race card played. But thanks in part to a $3.4 million sustainable communities grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2011, a local "Task Force on Wealth Disparity" has now used federal tax dollars to play it. During a November 21 presentation at Northampton Community College before an audience of about 50 people, co-Chairs Olga Negron (La Ola Radio) and Rev, Gregory Edwards (Life Church) released and read from a report entitled "Justice For All". The report concludes that wealth disparity is the result of racism.

"In fact, denying that racism exists is the new racism," the report charges.

Interestingly, the 12-person task force responsible for this report itself has no diversity. It lacks a single white person. Kevin Greene (Lehigh Valley Faces), the task force member who led the discussion, complained that only "a few people rise at the expense of others."

The data

The data definitely demonstrate that there is a huge divide between the white and other families in the Lehigh Valley. Whites have a better education, make more money and live in nicer homes.

- In 2007, only 4% of black students took the SAT, the standardized test used for college admissions, compared to 79% of white students.
- 27% of white people have at least a Bachelor's degree, compared to blacks (18%) and Latinos (13%).
- Loan approval rates for white people are nearly 70%, regardless of income level. For blacks and Latinos, the approval rate is closer to 50%, regardless of income level.
- Latino and black poverty rates are 220% and 166% higher than white residents of the Lehigh Valley, respectively.
- Whites make 40% and 62% more, respectively, than black and Latino Lehigh Valley residents.
- A white person's home value is 17% and 29% higher than a black or Latino person.

Greene concludes that racism not only exists, but that the "exclusion is intentional." His comments were echoed by another task force member. "Wealth diversity is a function of our values," she asserted. "We value people who have white skin more than we value people who have black or brown skin."

Alan Jennings, Executive Director at CACLV, disputed Greene. "I don't want to believe it's deliberate," he told the group.

The Recommendations

The Task Force has recommended a minimum wage that is a "living wage," although it fails to specify an amount. It insists that all children, regardless of the family income level, should participate in pre-kindergarten. It demands an end to what it calls "educational apartheid," a "separate an unequal public education."It is calling for expanded home ownership, including a "post-homeownership counseling program marketed to persons of color." It also calls for the elimination of minimum lot sizes to enable a "more equitable distribution of wealth,"  It even calls for more diversity on non-profit boards.

One of these recommendations, home ownership counseling marketed to persons of color, appears itself to be discriminatory.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, Pa-15
Dent: Wealth Disparity is The Result of Free Market Economy

Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent, who appears to have been the token conservative participating in an otherwise one-sided forum, gently reminded that audience that wealth disparity is the necessary result of a free market economy. "We've always had it," he noted. He also cautioned against changing that approach to one in which power is concentrated. Under other systems, "You will see less prosperity and a heckuva' lot more cronyism," he warned, in an obvious reference to totalitarian regimes.

But he conceded that the disparity has increased in recent years. "We have to fix the policies that make it harder for people to make more money," he argued.

Part-Time Recovery

One of these policies, brought about in large part by Obamacare, is what Dent refers to as our "part-time recovery." He pointed to data of his own, showing that 7.6 million Americans are involuntarily working part-time, either because their employers have reduced hours or because that's they best they can do. This in turn has resulted in a "very erratic" recovery, one that Dent warns is unstable.

Employers like Red Lobster and Olive Garden are trying to remain under the Obamacare requirement of providing health insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours per week. This hurts working families, and Dent supports expanding the 30-hour cutoff to 40 hours.

Flawed Monetary Policy

Dent also argued that our monetary policy is flawed. The Federal Reserve's interest rates on short-term loans has been near zero since late 2008. But there's been no mad rush for mortgages, and no real incentive to save. Those who do are investing in the stock market instead of depositing at their local bank. "It drives people to the stock market," Dent observed. "The wealthy are getting wealthier." But he worries that "[w]e are creating another bubble in the stock market."

Tax Code Policy 

A third policy change desperately needed, according to Dent, is a simplification of the 70,000-page long Tax Code. Calling it a "hodge podge of special income breaks", he noted that 2/3 of the population is unable to take advantage of them because they don't itemize.

One of the more nonsensical federal tax policies, he argued, is one that discourages American companies from bringing their profits back. A recent report does indicate that $2.1 trillion is held by American companies overseas.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

"In 2007, only 4% of black students took the SAT, the standardized test used for college admissions, compared to 79% of white students."

That is a typo, right?

Bernie O'Hare said...

No. That is the stat.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Last week Angle this week Charlie Dent. You are the master apolo9ist.

Just so we are all clear. Employers were making folks part-time for years before Obama care even existed. But hey, one of Charlie's new jobs is to apologize for his corporate money.

Thirty five years of
Reaganomics have resulted in the greatest wealth disparity in the history of our nation and
Charlie says it isn't that bad.

The guy is in a gerrymandered safe district but his tea party wariness will one day cost him his seat.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Need to get back to basics first. Skin color is not the issue-performance is.Consider taking this 3 million tax dollars and flush it down the hopper. Unless you start with 'how to be responsible' in the 3rd grade and then work threw indoctrination of financial responsibility threw high school. Where are your Vietnamese and other Asian immigrants that came here 25 and 30 years ago with only the shirts on their backs? They own no-one ,they save and pay down loans. They have something in common--What is it? NOBODY gets them in at that toll bridge or city hall. They prepare,work don't spend money on 'stuff ' and educate their offspring .

Anonymous said...

Racism and it's buddy..bigotry..are covert operations now due to the laws of the land and are no longer out in the open. The report is on target so what now? If you have any brains at all you understand the history of racism and the current denial of it in this country we call home. Skin color matters. Deny that fact but unless you have been there and lived it..you don't know the reality of America.

Bored said...

more federal waste of money bullshit. not my fault you don't know who your daddy is and the best part of you went down you drugged up mom's leg. pull yourself up by the bootstraps and earn your own life

Peter J.Cochran said...

I AGREE WITH YOU 6;36 it has been driven below the surface. But why? But why, did Colin Powell ,USA Ret rise up, he wasn't an USMA grad. Because his substance and his demeanor outweighed everything else. He became bigger than the cronies .But why have the -buddy jobs in the public sector been unchecked by criteria -I have felt the issue myself and sometimes I 'am still outraged by this .

Anonymous said...

Where can I access the report? I'd like to read it.

Anonymous said...

Bored , and yet you're the one who can't pull together an intelligent thought...

Anonymous said...

3 MILLION $$$$$$
Is that number correct?

Anonymous said...

I'm65 years old. Through out my work life I witnessed employers treating people differently because of gender, race, religion, ethnic back ground and perceived social status. This is why employees including public employees need protections such as union membership and civil service.

In my experience those who treat others with prejudice never change. You can win a case against them and with in a couple of days they will start on some one else. They don't stop until they leave the job. There should be a type of disability for this so that they can be removed from the work force. In the long run it would be cheaper. You could pay them to go back under the rock that they crawled out from.

The Central Scrutinizer said...

The illustrious Charlie Dent's bright ideas:

1. Make Obamacare cutoff 40 hours so Red Lobster can work people 39 hours a week without healthcare. Brilliant. The whole point behind the 30 hours cutoff is to get everyone covered.

2. Raise interest rates. Another move that will surely help the underclass. You learned a lot selling TVs!

3. Revise the tax code - because that's where all of the underclass' money goes - to taxes. Surely, Charlie isn't advocating wealth re-distribution?

Anonymous said...

Dent vulnerable politically if he keeps this up. More blame and very little as to solutions Charlie. Your talking points are passe and frankly insincere. I've seen enough of you for over a decade now and nothing changes with you or your voting record.

Anonymous said...

3.4 million U.S. Dollars.
Who said talk was cheap?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Where can I access the report? I'd like to read it."

It is not online.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"1. Make Obamacare cutoff 40 hours so Red Lobster can work people 39 hours a week without healthcare. Brilliant. The whole point behind the 30 hours cutoff is to get everyone covered"

Well, that's been a disaster.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant, they spent thousands of hours to show the obvious. what a waste of tax payer dollars

Anonymous said...

My father quit high school, served in the army and worked in the steel mills. They sacrificed and sent 3 of 4 children to public colleges. I graduated college by working summers on a farm and working in the cafeteria dishroom during the school year. I got married and we deferred having children until we were in our late 20s and then had just 1 child. We then sent our child to an even better college than we attended.

The point: Why should white, middle income Americans like us feel guilty for working hard and making wise choices in pursuit of the American Dream? Why should we keep paying more and more in taxes because other people (regardless of race) are missing out on the American Dream because of their own lack of initiative, poor decision making and lifestyle choices?

Anonymous said...

Not a single job in my place of employment was shed because of Obamacare. However, the GOP shut down destabilized a company that employs 1000's, forced employees to deplete vacation, and left them with no leave safety net. It was force unemployment because of ideology and a pathetic Congress. We made it through the recession but fell victim to the shutdown. I have 18 fewer coworkers workers in my office and the breaking point was the shutdown. Meanwhile Congress and staffers all received back pay without penalty to sick time or vacation.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This thread is not about Obamacare. It is about a group of people who have no diversity themselves, assembling together into a task force, and deciding to claim that wealth disparity is the result of racism. That is nonsense. In fact, this grouip itself is advocating racial discrimination in housing by having home ownership programs targeted at minorities. In my view, this group is probably the most overly racist group I have ever seen, next to the KKK.

They note wealth disparity and that minorities are at the bottom end of things. That is accurate. The logical error they make is to conclude that this is the result of racism. There are numerous oither factoprs they don't even touch, like the pervasive influence of gangs. It is a flwed report by people with an agenda.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of blame to go around. What are the solutions to the disparity? History is what it is now what? What's the plan? Nobody who works a full week in America should be needing assistance. Wages have to rise!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The wealth disparity has widened considerably under Obama. In the Reagan years, it remained steady, widened slightly in '86 and closed dramatically in '87. The Clinton and Bush Jr. years saw the maw gape steadily and considerably. The Obama years have put the widening on steroids.

For any race, creed or ethnicity, the quickest path to poverty is to 1) not finish high school and 2) to become pregnant out of wedlock.

In PA, blacks and hispanics have drop out rates of about 32% compared to whites and asians.

Nationally, blacks have a 73% illegitimacy rate compared to 53% for hispanics, 29% for whites, and 17% for asians.

The solution: stay in school and don't have babies until married - regardless of your color. Or, just keep screaming racism and hope it all goes away on its own.

Anonymous said...

BTW, Dent is never getting voted out of one of the safest Gerrymandered districts in the country. And ACA is going to die in the courts. No legislative action will be required. The state exchanges cannot be coerced by the federal government. Just as ACA was properly legalized as a tax, based on the wording of the law, it will be properly gutted in the courts, based on its state exchange language. Why Rs have been so obsessed with getting bad press over votes to overturn the poorly written law is puzzling. The law is about to die organically, without any of their help.

Anonymous said...

"Why should white, middle income Americans like us feel guilty for working hard and making wise choices in pursuit of the American Dream?"

You should not feel guilty but proud of your accomplishment. As one white male to presumably another, being proud of our own accomplishments yet recognizing the inherent racism in our society is two different things.

Sometimes ones bootstraps are harder to reach than another's. This is another issue we want to kick down the road.


Anonymous said...

Pastor Edwards church is called
Resurrected Life Community church.

Anonymous said...

Recognizing your privilege does not mean you need to feel guilty. The fact of the matter is not everyone starts out on an even playing field in this country.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of bullshit.

If America sucks so bad, why stay here?

Why not go somewhere where there is "no Racism"???

Bernie O'Hare said...

3:04, the fact that you are incapable of making an argument without making a personal attack means your comment gets deleted. Try to be respectful or what you say won't last long.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, did you even read the report? Admittedly, I've only had time to skim it so far, but I think you're a bit off base. Or maybe just over simplifying.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Of course I read the report. This article is obviously only a brief summary of a report that this 12-person task force hired someone else to do. These folks played the race card, and rather clumsily.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Pastor Edwards church is called
Resurrected Life Community church."


I shortened the name.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You should not feel guilty but proud of your accomplishment. As one white male to presumably another, being proud of our own accomplishments yet recognizing the inherent racism in our society is two different things."

Racism is real, but to suggest that it is the reason for the wealth disparity is just nutty. There are numerous reasons. And there should be wealth disparity unless you want to mess with a free market economy along with everything else.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Nobody who works a full week in America should be needing assistance. Wages have to rise!"

Agreed, and the majority of the people affected by this happen to be white.

Anonymous said...

I am anon 3:04 and I question your assessment of a "personal attack". If by that you mean I called bullshit on the comment you made that the ACA is a disaster, then you are right.
First racism is in the eye of the beholder. Laws do not erase racism. Actually in many cases I believe it is a lack of sensitivity than racism. Not that many people are overtly racist in my own opinion. Racism is indeed a reality that does not mean it is an excuse. To mix the two is indeed a problem. African- Americans have a legitimate beef. They have a history of slavery behind them and see it everyday in the mirror. Laws may make it illegal but for centuries it was drilled into people even after the laws that they were not really equal under the eyes of God. Any white person can clean themselves up, get a decent haircut, learn some proper English, get their teeth cleaned and mix in with society. Do you really think it is that easy with blacks? If you do then you are deluding yourselves. Don't use the one exception to prove your point. As to Hispanics, I am less inclined to go too far with their argument. While many are of darker complexion they are not African-Americans and sometimes play the card to hard. If Latino leaders would strive to get their folks to learn English, stop with the illegitimacy rates and not see assimilating as a dirty word they would do much better.
Also the idea that the ACA is a disaster is just nonsense. It has helped insure millions that could not afford or get insurance. Companies were dumping full-time jobs years before Obama was even elected. Having worked in the health insurance industry, I can tell you many people were under insured and didn't' realize it until they had a major illness and lost their coverage. We also did background d health checks to se if we could disqualify claims on pre-existing conditions. Ten shared information with other companies. These were all realities and the ACA has "helped" end them. I do admit the law has flaws and can be made better. I am surprised it has done as well as it has given the level of its enemies money. Also the "repeal and replace" nonsense is just that., In fifty years other than "stop the lawyers" No one has does squat. For a modern nation in the 21st century that is abhorrent.

AS to my comment about Mr. Dent speaking the Chamber of Commerce line that is a fact, he was endorsed and proud of it. So please don't tell people they are making personal attacks when they are not. If you don't want other points of views don't ask for them.

Former health claims adjuster!

Bernie O'Hare said...

You made another personal attack, one aimed at me. Since it is not in your latest screed, i'll let it stand.

As I've already said, this post is about whether racism is the cause of wealth disparity, not your misplaced love for Obamacare or attack on Dent. It's also about a group that is actually advocating violations of the Fair Housing Act so they can give an uneven advantage to minorities.

Anonymous said...

Racism is real, and it contributes to income inequality. If anything, the comments on this blog and on the lehigh valley live article substantiate that fact. Perhaps the task force over-stated the correlation between race and inequality, but there is certainly a correlation.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Racism is most likely a fundamental inherited survival characteristic of humans and ANTS!Check with your local Professor of Anthropology -- OK ,having said that HUMANS AND ANTS are the only critters on earth that engage in mass annihilation of their own specie . So- It's tribe oriented.WE today try to accept other customs,but it does not play out in the BOOK of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. Could it be that after the next round in Ferguson,Mo. the business will treat minorities better? FERGASTAN is going to be more like it shortly.

Anonymous said...

"so they can give an uneven advantage to minorities"

Lol ol ol...if you really believe that minorities EVER get the advantage, then you are more naive than you let on.

Anonymous said...

Bernie buddy, I love ya but I disagree with your synopsis. Known you for years and love your blog. I am interested in this topic and have read the comments. It has been a long to time since law school to now but you are making a strange case.

Affirmative action was a remedial course of action to discernible injustice. On their face, many laws and actions in this area can be seen as advantageous to a few over the majority. Still an interesting read.

Also your remarks to a poster about, "your misplaced love for Obamacare or attack on Dent", could easily be reversed to, "your misplaced hatred of Obamacare and your love of Dent".

You are better than that sophomoric argument style Bernie.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:47 & 7:50, There is nothing sophomoric about my argument. If a program for home counseling were started that caters to minorities, it would be a clear violation of the fair Housing Act. The remedy to discrimination is not more discrimination.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Nobody force feeds anybody in high school to take SAT's .Either you show up or you don't!I know people that got 1300 or better and they are deplorable people today as citizens. I personally graduated from Freedom High -number 3 in my class of over 600, but from the bottom ! Today I work ,I take classes, my income is well above the norm , no mortgage and no car payments, and I provide for my widow after I'm gone. SO- PERSISTENCE and INTEGRITY are worth more than just a sheep's skin in some bullshit degree. I'm not perfect ,I can screw up, but when ya do you learn from your mistake,and move on .

Peter J.Cochran said...

Anon 8;21 I sign my name you don't because I commit.You comment without any responsibility. I was once in a bad way ,it took me 10 years after active duty to get a handle on life.You on the other hand sat at home too long with your mother and looked at yourself in the mirror . Go screw yourself. I'm not privileged but was deprived and never collected a dime of welfare ,stamps or housing.I lived it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Peter, ignore the troll. I delete Henry Schaadt whenever he posts. He id jealous.

The Central Scrutinizer said...

Well, that's been a disaster.

Considering the employee mandate has not yet begun, I'd say the jury is still out. Don't believe everything you read in right-wing media.

The Central Scrutinizer said...

are missing out on the American Dream because of their own lack of initiative, poor decision making and lifestyle choices?

Exactly. These poor slobs should just get a job at the steel mill like your dad!

Oh wait...

The Central Scrutinizer said...

Peter Cochrane, if you are white, you are privileged. This is a basic inexorable truth someone must accept before discussing racism as a white person. Failing to acknowledge this or even explore what this statement means is a failure to try and understand racism.

Anonymous said...

"Recognizing your privilege does not mean you need to feel guilty. The fact of the matter is not everyone starts out on an even playing field in this country."

Is this some kind of liberal talking point/narrative? What kind of privilege did I have working 12 hour days on a farm? What kind of privilege did I have to apply for a job in the dish room at the college and then juggle my work schedule and my classes? Are you suggesting that people of a different race are being denied the right to work menial labor jobs and then think about their futures and make smart decisions? How is that race related at all? I went to a public school that was 1/3 African-Americans who had the same chances I had. I didn't have any special privileges! You're to stuck in a rut with your ideology.

Anonymous said...

75% of Blacks don't have Fathers which leads to 80% of the prison population being black. The message is clear.Learn responsibility. That's not society's challenge but every person of color.Maybe then society wont perceive blacks so negatively and opportunity will come more easily.

Bernie O'Hare said...

75% of blacks don't have fathers? Do they have two mothers? This is a startling revelation, unless 75% of your brain is missing.

Anonymous said...

BOH...I will reword my point.
75% of Black Children are raised in a home without a Father . Without an authority figure these children don't get educated.They get in trouble with drugs and crime and end up in prison.
Hence why prison populations are 80 % Black. These stats are out there and verifiable.
Employment opportunities are not available for the black community with statistics like those therefore there will be a disparity in income and wealth.
That's not racism but the truth.
In todays politically correct environment its hard to believe that RACISM is the reason for income disparity. Rather, the lack of parenting and the break down of the black family that causes income disparity.
You may not agree but I hope my point is clear.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Ha! Henry and Me should have a beer together, what do you think ,Bernie? He's probably stuck in the back someplace and needs a mentor or a draw -to help him .I have the time.

Bernie O'Hare said...

3:57, i do agree with your point, but could not resist an opportunity to be a snob.

Anonymous said...

3:57 Your "verifiable" stats are off...the prison population is almost 40% black (per the US Bureau of Justice Statistics). And that doesn't mean that people who are black commit more crime than people who are white. It just means they're more likely to be caught and more likely to be sent to jail.

Anonymous said...

11:33 I don't know the intricate details of your life, but you sound like a white male who is in his 60s at least, so I'd be willing to bet that you've had advantages that your black peers didn't have. I'm not saying that you didn't work hard or that you don't deserve all that you've worked for, but a black man would have to have worked just a little harder to achieve the same results. As someone who was born into white poverty, I know that I am privileged in many ways, some more blatant than others. I am priviliged to have been born to parents who were US citizens. I am privileged that my first language is also our natural language. I am privileged because I can turn on the television and see people of my race widely represented. I am privileged because when I got caught smoking a joint at a concert in college, the cops simply threw me out rather than arresting me.