Economic Recovery Funding and the Future of Federal Policy john a. powell Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Moritz College of Law ABFE Annual Meeting at the Council on Foundations May 3, 2009 Atlanta, GA
What are these billions of dollars actually fixing?
Are we only fixing the ‘status quo’?
Are we transformative yet?
Are opportunity gaps shrinking?
Mind the gap & fix the gap:
Reduce the existing disparities between communities of color both in terms of people and places while growing the economy for all
■ Baseline ■ Monitoring ■ Strategy
Tracking the Funds: Job Creation through Transit Investment by Gender & Race Bivens, Josh, John Irons, and Ethan Pollack. “Transportation Investments and the Labor Market.” EPI Issue Brief #252, 7 Apr. 2009.
The current recession has affected everyone – but not all to the same degree.
Although the U.S. has been in a recession for more than a year, people of color have been in a recession for nearly five years and have entered a depression during the current economic crisis.
Although the black poverty rate fell 8.5% from 1989 to 2000, the black family poverty rate increased 2.8% from 2000 to 2007.
Poverty rates for Hispanic families grew .5% from 2000 to 2007. The Hispanic family poverty rate (19.7%) is roughly twice that of the overall poverty rate (9.8%).
This ratio was at a record high of 63.5% in 2000. Once the 2001 recession and weak economic recovery hit, these gains were lost and have yet to be recovered. Austin, Algernon. “What a Recession Means for Black America.” EPI Issue Brief # 241. 18 Jan. 2008.
Targeted policies alone are not desirable because they appear to show favoritism toward a certain group, thus stigmatizing them.
Universal policies alone are not truly universal.
They fail to account for the fact that people are situated differently in the economic and social landscape
“ Universal” policies are often based on a non-universal standard
Ex: Social Security: able-bodied white males working outside the home full-time for pay
Thus… Targeted Universalism
Group A Group B If people in red receive job training through the universal program, Group B would seemingly benefit more than Group A (more people in red). Universal Program Key: Red = job training Boxes = isolated neighborhood (not addressed by universal program)
Group A Group B Although the universal program affected everyone in red, Group B is still constrained by living in isolated neighborhoods (the boxes). Universal Program Key: Red = job training Boxes = isolated neighborhood
Projections indicate that the stimulus package will not impact all groups to the same degree.
People are not only spatially segregated, but segregation also occurs by sector.
Stimulus: Projected Distribution of Jobs by Race
African Americans are underrepresented relative to their presence in the U.S. population (13%). Hispanics/Latinos, also at 13% of the U.S. population, are overrepresented.
These overestimates/underestimates are often industry specific. Consider the construction industry, a key component to the stimulus plan’s infrastructure building: Call out of construction sector jobs by race
http://www.racewire.org/ An alternative analysis: Comparing projected state spending with the racial demographics of each state
Systems Theory is a transdisciplinary model that focuses on a web of relationships and processes and not on linear, singular causation or the intent of one or even a few individuals.
In a complex systems model, actions and inactions have multiple effects, and the delayed or distant consequences are often different from more proximate effects.
Outcomes are caused by many actors’ and institutions’ actions and inactions over time and across domains.
Outcomes are the result of causes that accumulate over time and across domains.
System Interactions We must pay attention to how people are situated by looking at multiple indicators and the relationships that exist between those indicators. Source: Barbara Reskin. http://faculty.uwashington.edu/reskin/
With lower profits and decreased access to capital, fewer corporations are investing in affordable housing (construction or renovation) while homelessness is on the rise.
The economic recovery bill passed by the House (1-28-09) “would temporarily allow state housing agencies to exchange some credits for federal grants, which they would then distribute to developers to support the production of affordable rental housing.”
This is an opportunity for us to re-think how we target LIHTC projects to high-opportunity areas.
Fischer, Will. “Exchange Plan in House Recovery Bill Offers Best Fix for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. February 2, 2009.