By The Honorable Dwight Tillery

Former Cincinnati Mayor

Dwight Tillery. Photo provided

There’s been much discussion about inequality, income disparity, wealth disparity and wealth gap.

Cranley has a child poverty initiative headed by Dr. Karen Bankston to eliminate poverty in our city. But just recently, Cranley shepherded a deal through giving one of the wealthiest families thirty-seven million dollars to support the building of a new soccer stadium.

Now the Trump tax cuts will only make the rich, richer while accelerating and widening the issue of poverty in this nation.

Poverty was one of the many focuses of President Johnson’s Great Society.

One only needs to read the Kerner Commission report written during the sixties after several riots in the nation to understand why poverty exists and the failure of politicians to do anything about it.

Here are some of the highlights from that report:

The Commission’s 1968 report, informally known as the Kerner Report, concluded that the nation was “moving toward two societies, one Black, one White—separate and unequal.”

Unless conditions were remedied, the Commission warned, the country faced a “system of ‘apartheid’” in its major cities. The report berated federal and state governments for failed housing, education and social service policies. The report also aimed some of its sharpest criticism at the mainstream media. “The press has too long basked in a White world looking out of it, if at all, with White men’s eyes and White perspective.”

The report’s most famous passage warned, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”

Its results suggested that one primary cause of urban violence was White racism and suggested that White America bore much of the responsibility for Black rioting and rebellion. It called to create new jobs, construct new housing, and put a stop to de facto segregation in order to wipe out the destructive ghetto environment. In order to do so, the report recommended for government programs to provide needed services, to hire more diverse and sensitive police forces and, most notably, to invest billions in housing programs aimed at breaking up residential segregation.

Amazing isn’t it. The excerpts could have been written today.

But because politicians didn’t have the political will — over the last fifty years – to balance the scale of justice, Blacks continue to face the same issues today as they did in the Sixties. There’s no evidence from local, state, or federal governments to believe that America has come to grips with its racist history and understanding how that history continues to relegate Blacks to the bottom of our society, while keeping Whites from the middle to the upper class. It’s the System, Stupid.

Closing the “wealth gap” may prove even more daunting in light of the impending new tax law, which is, by design, to make the rich richer.

According to an October 2017 article in the Weekly Challenger, 1 in 7 White families are millionaires because of homeownership opportunities, vacation homes, stocks, bonds, pensions and retirement savings, while their Black and Latino counterparts lag behind in these key indicators to wealth because of their lack of exposure to the financial market.

Also, minorities’ homes are valued lower, according to the Economic Policy Institute, and situated in segregated markets where home values rise slower. more often face discriminatory practices like redlining which costs them more to own and maintain their homes. The consequence, minorities do not pass down or inherit wealth as much as their White counterparts—25 percent of Whites receive inheritances, 8 percent of Blacks, and 5 percent for others.

As for the poor, there are While they do not pay much because they have very little to tax, the increase in wealth in this country among White middle to upper will only make the problem of poverty for the working poor so much harder to overcome.

“It’s the System Stupid!”


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