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Equality and Reducing Disparities Could Save the Nation Trillions Annually

First Posted: Mar 22, 2015 12:30 PM EDT
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Philadelphia Grapples With Highest Deep Poverty Rate Of US Large Cities

Photo : Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Multiculturalism is on the rise in the U.S. and, as time progresses, non-Hispanic whites will contribute shrinking numbers to the growing population. Nonetheless, inequality persists between non-whites and whites, and those disparities are costing the U.S. trillions.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) recently published a report titled "Economic Benefits of Reducing Racial and Ethnic Inequality," which made a poignant argument; racial and economic inequality is expensive and counterproductive.

The new fact sheet and the CAP eBook, titled "All-In Nation: An America that Works for All," beckons the attention of local leaders and state legislators, and it argues that increasing the minimum wage, addressing inconsistencies in the prison reform system, ending costly deportations and detainments, and granting citizenship to law-abiding undocumented residents would generate more tax revenue and empower the working poor.

Each and every American in the U.S. economy would benefit from ending racial inequality, not just non-whites, because discrimination is frivolous, the report indicated. "All-In Nation" indicated that mass incarceration has spiraled out of control, as prisons disproportionately stockpile men of color, and corrections spending distracts funds from universities, hospitals and key national priorities.

California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina, New Mexico, New York, Texas and Virginia were selected and examined due to their high minority population, and the state's policies, their minimum wage and their political climate.

In New York, enacting sensible policies that increase income could result in higher incomes for Hispanics and African Americans; and higher income would mean greater tax revenue. In addition, reducing inequality would create an $8 billion tax boost.

Each state makes similar claims, according to their individual fact sheets.

The Heritage Foundation once claimed that raising the minimum wage would harm workers, but the report has contested that claim. Progressive equity policies would support low-wage earners and it could prove to change the lives of future generations of Americans. Social mobility endorsed by conscious policies is necessary because inequality has taken its heaviest toll on communities of color.

For Latinos and others, equality, income and wealth can result in family-support wages, owning homes, health insurance, retirement benefits and savings. These things are already easier for non-Latino whites to access. According to "All-In Nation," white households make double that of Latino and African American households. White family wealth is 20 times higher, and only 1 in 10 whites are likely to live in poverty, compared to 1 in 4 Latinos.

Inequality has a negative impact on economic growth, and inequality leads to a less effective, weaker and less prepared workforce. Barriers and inequality also "undermine the fundamental American value of upward mobility."

To create an "All-In Nation," America must work toward building and sustaining a strong middle class, made up of people across racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and gender lines. According to the CAP eBook, this would directly address the disproportionate impacts of diminishing global economic status, under-education, poverty, under-employment, social dislocation, racial disenfranchisement, cultural difficulties, deteriorating wages, chronic unemployment and the lack of wealth-creation opportunities for non-whites. 

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