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June 27, 2024

Better Markets Month in Review Newsletter – June 2024

Below is the opening of our monthly newsletter. View the full newsletter online here

We continue to see the structural inequalities embedded in our economic system, particularly the racial inequalities that have gone on for far too long and are too well-known by many of our neighbors and friends. There is no question that the economy does not work for most Americans, and it works even less for most minorities in this country. Communities of color continue to be deprived of economic and financial opportunities, which all but guarantee income and wealth inequality, perpetuating structural racism across generations.

For example, Black Americans have a very difficult time accessing capital and are, therefore, less likely to start small businesses and see them thrive; the unemployment rate for Black Americans is consistently higher than that for white Americans; and the wealth gap remains huge, as the typical Black family in the U.S. has just 15 cents on the dollar compared to a typical white family. Remarkably, that figure “has not changed all that much in generations,” as detailed in a terrific new book Fifteen Cents on the Dollar: How Americans Made the Black-White Wealth Gap. There are a lot of reasons for the wealth gap, but a key driver is a financial system too often focused on wealth extraction rather than wealth creation, which disproportionately targets and harms communities of color and continues to transfer wealth from the bottom 90% to the top 10%.

In the aftermath of the brutal murder of George Floyd in 2020, many Americans expressed a commitment to do more to combat racial injustice in our country. This included elected officials and regulators, and even financial institutions. The events of 2020 did lead to an long overdue conversation on race and inspired positive changes in some areas. But the truth is that four years later, there is still much, much more to be done to tackle racial economic inequality in our country.

While they haven’t done enough yet, the good news is that policymakers and regulators have the tools to take action and bring about positive change. Retaking and remaking the financial system from a predatory and extreme form of capitalism into one that supports the real, productive economy is a critical avenue to creating broad-based economic and financial security, opportunity, and prosperity for most Americans. If we end discrimination in the financial industry – especially in the allocation of capital and the equal availability of other banking and financial services – we can close the racial wealth gap and help make the American Dream available to all Americans.

That’s what Better Markets exists to do: fight for a financial system that supports the real economy, jobs, growth, and broad-based wealth creation which provides more opportunity for everyone. To do this we must fight against wealth extraction, consumer and investor rip offs, dangerous high risk bank practices, out-of-control CEO pay, and threats to financial stability.

In June our team continued our work on these important issues by identifying ways the financial industry is targeting minority communities, evaluating representation at financial regulatory agencies, showing how the CFPB is leading the way in combatting racial discrimination, and more.

With your help we can continue to push the financial regulators and financial industry to build a financial system that actually works for everyone.

Kindly, Maryan

Maryan Abdelmesih
Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships, Better Markets

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