Sat, 31 Oct 2020

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- A senior U.S. Federal Reserve official on Friday called for policymakers to make comprehensive changes to address perpetuate racial inequalities in the country, which haven't changed much over the past century.

"Yet progress has been incremental. The median white household in America today holds 10 times the assets of the typical Black household. This ratio is not much improved from what it was more than 100 years ago," Raphael Bostic, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said at a virtual conference held by the Atlanta Fed and Princeton University's Bendheim Center for Finance.

"This argues that something more fundamental must happen. The fields of economics and finance must acknowledge that the influence of race is multidimensional and persists over time," Bostic said, calling for policymakers to develop a set of policies that "truly create meaningful and lasting change."

"Official policy that racialized access to mortgage financing and thus decent, affordable housing in the post-World War II years is perhaps the most important-though hardly the sole-source of a racial wealth disparity that has not appreciably narrowed over the past half century," he noted.

Bostic, the first black president to lead one of the Fed's 12 regional banks, emphasizes that systemic structures that made it extremely difficult for Black Americans to accrue savings and wealth have extended far beyond housing.

For example, the Social Security Act of 1935 excluded 65 percent of African Americans nationally from the public pension program and unemployment insurance, he said.

In an essay published in June, Bostic had warned that "systemic racism is a yoke that drags on the American economy."

"This country has both a moral and economic imperative to end these unjust and destructive practices," Bostic said, adding it is time for the country to collectively embrace the promise of "an inclusive America."

"A commitment to an inclusive society also means a commitment to an inclusive economy. Such an economy would represent a rebuke of systemic racism and other exclusionary structures," he said.

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