The poverty rate among blacks was nearly cut in half in the 20 years prior to the 1960s, a record unmatched since then, despite the expansion of welfare-state policies in the 1960s.
One of the things that turned up, during a long-overdue cleanup of my office, was an old yellowed copy of the New York Times dated July 24, 1992. One of the front-page headlines said: “White-Black Disparity in Income Narrowed in 80’s, Census Shows.”
The 1980s? Weren’t those the years of the Reagan administration, the “decade of greed,” the era of “neglect” of the poor and minorities, if not “covert racism”?
More recently, during the administration of America’s first black
president, a 2011 report from the Pew Research Center had the headline,
“Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics.”
While the median net worth of whites was ten times the median net
worth of blacks in 1988, the last year of the Reagan administration, the
ratio was 19 to 1 in 2009, the first year of the Obama administration.
With Hispanics, the ratio was 8 to 1 in 1988 and 15 to 1 in 2009.