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Could Ending Racism Help Solve The National Debt?

Could ending racism be a problem that helps solve the national debt? A new study by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation titled, “The Business Case for Racial Equity,” says closing the income gap between whites and minorities would boost earnings by 12 percent and create an economic windfall of $1 trillion.

The study reports that minorities currently comprise 37 percent of the working age population now, but is projected to grow to 55 percent by 2050. Minority consumers would also account for 75 percent of all purchases if the income gap between whites and minorities were closed by 2045. However, minorities continue to face disparities in health, housing, employment and income, among other areas.

“We wouldn’t be having these deficit conversations, if we put our energy into making economic viability an option for people of color,” said Gail Christopher, vice president of program strategy for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “A consumer driven economy requires people who have the income that enables them to fuel the engines.”

The health disparities among minorities also continue to be troubling and contribute significantly to the national debt. The Kellogg report states that “an Urban Institute study found that the differences in preventable disease rates among African Americans, Hispanics, and whites cost the health care system $24 billion annually,” and that number will double if left unchecked. The infant mortality rate for Blacks is more than the double the rate for the whites, while the life expectancy for Black men is five years shorter than that of white men. Black women are also 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women.

The wealth gap between blacks and whites has also nearly tripled in a 25-year period, from $85,000 in 1984 to $236,500 in 2009. Christopher concludes the study by warning that “The cost of the health disparities, the cost of the educational and achievement gaps are going to bankrupt our country.”

(Photo: Reuters)

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