Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Conyers: Full Employment Essential to Closing Widening Racial Wealth Gap

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) attended a press conference hosted by the Center for Global Policy Solutions, in conjunction with the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, and the Ford Foundation, to discuss a newly released report entitled "Beyond Broke: Why Closing the Racial Wealth Gap is a Priority for National Economic Security." Multiple Congressmen were in attendance at the press conference, including: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tx.), Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), and Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.). Following the press conference, Representative Conyers issued the following statement:

"Extensive research by the Center for Global Policy Solutions has laid plain what we have long recognized in our neighborhoods and communities: there exists a vast racial and ethnic wealth gap in the United States that has only gotten worse in the aftermath of the Great Recession," said Conyers.

"The newly published report - aptly titled 'Beyond Broke' - highlights how white Americans have 100 times greater access to cash, or 'liquid wealth,’ than black Americans, and 65 times more access than Latino Americans. Worse still, the aftershocks of the housing collapse has disproportionately deepened the crisis in minority communities where home equity has evaporated, practically overnight. The status quo has been unacceptable for far too long.

"Yet, the report also underscores that Congress has legislative solutions at our disposal, chiefly that working towards a  full employment society is a policy critical to reversing the alarming racial wealth gap trend. When every person is trained, working, and earning a salary there are more customers for American goods and services. Ultimately this increased demand in the American economy means that workers have greater bargaining power and, in turn, higher wages. Legislation I have introduced - H.R. 1000, the ‘Humphrey Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act - achieves this goal by creating two public trust funds for training and employment in sectors ranging from infrastructure repair to energy efficiency.

"With more than 20 million Americans unemployed and a rapidly increasing chasm in the racial wealth gap, it is past time for Congress to get to work."

Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), alongside his colleague Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), advocating for full employment legislation as a means to closing the racial wealth gap.
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