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POV: people of color face historic wealth loss

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  • Kalamu@aol.com
    ... ==================================== http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/012308LA.shtml People of Color Face Historic Wealth Loss By Glen Ford Black Agenda
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 29, 2008
      >>POV: people of color face historic wealth loss
      ====================================

      http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/012308LA.shtml
      People of Color Face Historic Wealth Loss
      By Glen Ford
      Black Agenda Radio


      The subprime lending debacle should cause massive
      rethinking among those who have long proclaimed
      that the route to Black equality is through wealth
      accumulation. In a report titled, "Foreclosed:
      State of the Dream 2008," United for a Fair Economy
      details the catastrophic losses inflicted on Blacks
      and Latinos in the U.S. at the hands of predatory
      lenders - "the greatest loss of wealth to people of
      color in modern U.S. history." With more than half
      of Blacks in many cities caught in the subprime
      trap - and with even these usurious financing
      schemes disappearing in the wake of the bubble-
      burst - the prospects for Blacks to amass wealth
      have grown bleaker than at any time in living
      memory. At the current rate, it will take 5,423
      years for Blacks to achieve homeowner parity with
      whites.

      "It could take more than 5,000 years before Blacks
      achieve homeowner parity with whites!"

      The core institutions of American capitalism have
      condemned Black and Brown America to further
      centuries of wealth disparity. Now standing at
      about ten-to-one, the wealth gap between African
      American and white median households cannot but
      grow bigger in the wake of the subprime lending
      catastrophe. The Boston-based United for a Fair
      Economy recently released a report, detailing the
      carnage wreaked on people of color by predatory
      lenders - and it is mind-boggling.

      The report, titled "Foreclosed: State of the Dream
      2008," shows definitively that banks and other
      lending institutions trapped Blacks and Latinos in
      predatory lending schemes as a matter of policy.
      "Even a surface check of the demographics shows,"
      the report says, "that, in city after city, a solid
      majority of subprime loan recipients were people of
      color." The very scope of the crime proves that the
      lending crisis is not the product of Black
      "culture," but the result of calculated policies,
      near-uniformly carried out by virtually all of the
      nation's mortgage lending institutions. This is
      institutional racism writ large, and indisputable.

      The money-lenders have already sucked the value out
      of whole communities, urban and suburban. The
      wealth loss is staggering: People of color have
      collectively lost between "$164 billion to $213
      billion over the past eight years," with Latinos
      losing slightly more than African Americans. For
      the average Amer

      Before the crisis hit, it was estimated that it
      would take 594 years - more than half a millennium!
      - for Blacks to catch up with whites in household
      wealth. Now, in the aftermath of the home mortgage
      massacre, it could take ten times as long - more
      than 5,000 years! - before Blacks achieve homeowner
      parity with whites. Looking backward, that
      stretches from now to when the great pyramids were
      built.

      "People of color have collectively lost between
      $164 billion to $213 billion over the past eight
      years."

      If Black wealth creation through home-owning is
      central to the drive for equality, then the private
      sector cannot be allowed free reign; they have
      already proven themselves criminally culpable in
      the death of dreams. And the crisis is by no means
      over. The rot extends to the non-mortgage practices
      of global financial institutions, that bundle
      worthless paper and trade it like real money. So
      deeply corrupt are the mega-banks, brokerage houses
      and finance capitalists of all kinds, the entire
      planetary house of cards is in danger of collapse.

      Domestically, cities are already feeling the crunch
      of diminishing home property taxes - having long
      ago given away much of their tax base to attract
      many of the same corporations that created the
      current crisis. Boarded up houses destroy property
      values in the surrounding neighborhood, but there
      are at present no reliable private mechanisms to
      reverse the devastation. The banks aren't even
      taking each other's paper - knowing it is as
      worthless as their own.

      Forget the sales sloganeering, that owning a home
      is the "American Dream." Affordable housing is what
      the people need, whether rental or family-owned -
      many millions of new units. The private sector
      cannot - will not - provide affordable housing,
      since it is more concerned with creating
      artificially high sale values than with meeting the
      public's crying needs. Now that the bubble has
      burst, it should never be allowed to be re-
      inflated. There is only one alternative, and that
      is massive public spending on housing that fits the
      actual needs and budgets of the citizens. That's
      the very least one can demand from one's
      government.

      For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford.

      -------

      BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contracted at
      Glen.Ford@.... This e-mail
      address is being protected from spam bots, you need
      JavaScript enabled to view it.

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