Democrat Bloomberg vows to narrow wealth gap for black Americans

By Jason Lange (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg on Sunday pledged to narrow the wealth gap between black and white Americans by boosting black ownership of homes and businesses and investing in poor neighborhoods. Bloomberg, a late entry to the Democratic nomination contest, is rising in public opinion polls as he uses his vast personal fortune to spend heavily on advertising nationwide. But the billionaire former mayor of New York trails frontrunners Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren nationally and among African Americans, who make up about a quarter of Democratic voters in the contest to take on Republican President Donald Trump in the November election

Reuters January 20, 2020 00:12:00 IST
Democrat Bloomberg vows to narrow wealth gap for black Americans

Democrat Bloomberg vows to narrow wealth gap for black Americans

By Jason Lange

(Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg on Sunday pledged to narrow the wealth gap between black and white Americans by boosting black ownership of homes and businesses and investing in poor neighborhoods.

Bloomberg, a late entry to the Democratic nomination contest, is rising in public opinion polls as he uses his vast personal fortune to spend heavily on advertising nationwide.

But the billionaire former mayor of New York trails frontrunners Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren nationally and among African Americans, who make up about a quarter of Democratic voters in the contest to take on Republican President Donald Trump in the November election.

In prepared remarks for a speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the day before a holiday honoring slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Bloomberg said his plans would help one million black Americans become homeowners over 10 years, while also boosting the number of black-owned businesses. He pledged a $70 billion program to fight poverty in 100 disadvantaged neighborhoods.

"You don't reverse hundreds of years of theft and exploitation only with modern-day attempts to legislate equal rights," he said.

The United States stands out among developed countries for its large wealth gaps and its relatively recent history of pervasive slavery, which underpinned its southern economy until 1865.

According to researchers at the Federal Reserve https://www.clevelandfed.org/newsroom-and-events/publications/economic-commentary/2019-economic-commentaries/ec-201903-what-is-behind-the-persistence-of-the-racial-wealth-gap.aspx#D2, white American households on average had over six times the wealth of black households in 2016, a gap largely constant since 1962 despite legal efforts to ban discrimination.

The Bloomberg campaign said his plan would help blacks with mortgage downpayment assistance and he pledged to fight discrimination with bias training for police, teachers and federal contractors.

Bloomberg has faced criticism in black communities over his support of a controversial policing policy that ensnared disproportionate numbers of blacks and Latinos when he was New York's mayor. The former Republican apologized for the policy days before announcing his candidacy in November.

He is not campaigning in the first four states to vote in the nomination process, including Iowa on Feb. 3, and hopes to make up ground on the "Super Tuesday" March 3 contests that include racially diverse Texas, California and North Carolina.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Jan. 15-16 showed 9% of Democrats and independents backed Bloomberg in the nomination contest, up from 5% in early December. He trailed Sanders, who led with 20%, Biden who had 19% and Warren who had 12%.

Biden has the most African American support with 23%, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling in the month through mid-January, compared to 17% for Sanders, 9% for Warren and 7% for Bloomberg.

(Reporting by Jason Lange in Washington; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.