Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

The Fiscal Cliff Is Really About Race

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

As Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner insists a fiscal-cliff agreement is close, while House Speaker John Boehner says it's not, Colorlines' Imara Jones says this political deadline is about something else entirely. What's really at stake, argues Jones, is redistribution of wealth from whites to other Americans through taxes.

The truth of the matter is that for the past three decades we've constructed a tax policy that is responsible for the lowest level of black and brown wealth on record and a dramatic concentration of wealth amongst the overwhelmingly white economic elite. If that's to change, we need real talk on race in a way that's absent from the current debate.

According to the Federal Reserve, more than 9 out of 10 of the wealthiest Americans is white. Excluding defense and social security, a disproportionate number of Americans who benefit from government investments in health, education and economic opportunity programs—6 out of 10 federal dollars spent—are people of color.

Clearly, race is at the center of the debate over taxes, whether or not either party will admit it. Moreover, it has been so since the United States' earliest days.


Read Imara Jones' entire piece at Colorlines.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.


Share This Story

Get our newsletter