Ending Discrimination Would “Supercharge the Economy.”

…if you could give me one thing to do to supercharge the economy, I would say, end discrimination across the American economy. Discrimination is holding back our economy. It’s holding back our middle class.

Title in large red block letters against plain off-white background: The Riches of This Land: The story of what went wrong and how to get it back. Author Jim Tankersly

This is the conclusion of journalist Jim Tankersley, who covers economics and tax policy and recently published The Riches of This Land: The Untold, True History of America’s Middle Class.

He has spent over a decade studying the American middle class; how it became a symbol of the American Dream following World War II, how the middle class built one of the world’s most powerful economies, and how powerful interests undermined the gains of the working class. From the 1950s through the 80s, middle-class households with a single income earner could afford a home, car, health care, a college education…even vacations and retirement savings.

The erosion of the middle class means that today, most full-time workers are underwater as full-time work too often leaves many in poverty and debt. At the start of 2021, analysis indicates the extended pandemic and recession have resulted in the Sharpest Rise in Poverty Rate in More Than 50 Years. 

…if you were to design a recession to hurt most the people who have most helped to build the American middle class, you would design basically this one.

Tankersley advocates for policies that help those people responsible for the growth and productivity of the middle class from the 50s through the 80s, which he describes as, “women of all races…men of color and immigrants.” We hear time and again that these are the workers hurt most in the current recession. Women are the default caregivers when schools and child care centers are closed; they are most likely to care for elderly parents, and they the most likely to lose employment opportunities or promotions as a result.

Next to women, people of color and immigrants—often serving as essential workers—have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, the lack of health care and sick leave, and the cascading impacts on employment options. This follows a steady decline in purchasing power and stability over the past 40 years.

This perspective draws the same conclusion as those pursuing economic resilience from a fair housing approach, which recognizes the access to opportunity afforded by housing types and price points distributed across regions, communities and neighborhoods. When everyone has access to stable housing and essential community assets, we all benefit from better overall health outcomes, increased productivity, and more people moving from public assistance to family supporting, gainful employment.

In his interview with Fresh Air co-host Dave Davies, Tankersley notes that, “…if you could reduce discrimination across the economy and invest in each other’s success, then we really could see this upward flow of talent and this boom of job creation and growth.”

 

IHFA Creates Fair Housing Video Series

Red logo banner with colorful and diverse profiles on the left facing right toward the text 'Know Your Right! The Fair Housing Act Protects All of Us?

As part of a HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program – Education Outreach Initiative grant, the Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) has created a series of four videos that outline rights and opportunities guaranteed by the federal Fair Housing Act. While fair housing law and protections are broad in scope, these videos aim to present basic information and encourage individuals to better understand and assert their rights in pursuit of economic and social opportunities, freedom from discrimination and options to report violations.

Videos are available for viewing and sharing via social media at the links below:

Thanks to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the support of this effort. Ensuring the right of every person to live where we choose and can afford requires constant attention and cooperation. We all play a role in fair housing.

Acknowledgement/disclaimer. The work that provided the basis for these products was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The authors and publishers are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.

Celebrate the ADA!

30 years of Community Access, Independent Living, Employment and Action

ADA30 logo with circle of stars

Americans with Disabilities Act: Celebrate the ADA! July 26, 2020

Idahoans are celebrating 30 Years of Community Access, Independent Living, Employment and Activism through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The COVID-19 pandemic means we’re adapting plans for “Hands Around the Capitol 2020” to create a series of online events, beginning in July and continuing until the end of October. We welcome your involvement!

The ADA means people with disabilities are treated the same way as others. We’ll use social media  to share stories of how the ADA empowers us to live the lives we want, and to celebrate the people who made it all possible.

The law expanded opportunities for 304,000 Idahoans with disabilities by reducing barriers, changing perceptions, and increasing full participation in community life. The ADA’s promise can only be reached through shared to fully implement the ADA through education and outreach.

To help celebrate, follow activities on social media:

#ThanksToTheADA #ADA30Idaho #WhatTheADAMeansToMe

For more information or to share your stories, contact