Is GA fund right giving $850 a month to 650 Black women to combat 'wealth disparities'?
- The Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund, specifically In Her Hands, will give 650 Black women in Georgia $850 a month for 24 months to “focus strictly on helping Black women rise.” The program will also assist 300 others in the midst of poverty, at $500 for 12 months.
- Brookings found that the amount of Black women leaving the labor force dropped significantly to 60.3% in November, coinciding with schools reopening in-person learning and closures of child care facilities.
- The US Census Bureau reported the poverty rate in 2020 was 11.4%, 1% up from 2019. Black people had the highest poverty rate at 19.5%, Hispanics were at 17%, non-Hispanic Whites at 8.2%, and Asians at 8.1%.
- The Georgia 2021 population totals approximately 10.8 million people; 60.2% White origin, 32.6% Black, 9.9% Latino, and 4.4% Asian.
The Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund (GRO) announced it would provide 650 black women in Georgia $850 in guaranteed monthly income over the next two years. The GRO has partnered with the Atlanta Federal Reserve for this program.
The roll out of this program, however, is ill-timed seeing as there is no shortage of jobs, particularly lower-skilled jobs, in the United States as of now. There is, however, a shortage of job applicants. Employers seeking workers, particularly lower-skilled or entry-level applicants, are offering higher wages to the point that any federal or state minimum wage laws are becoming meaningless. Yet, the GRO believes this is a good time to offer a guaranteed monthly income to its chosen few.
Providing a recurring, no-strings-attached cash disbursement is a sure-fire way to disincentivize any recipient from seeking employment. Further, guaranteed monthly income encourages dependence, not independence. If that is the goal of the GRO, it will likely succeed. There are certainly plenty of individuals of all races that are struggling financially. Determining recipients based on race does nothing to sew unity across Georgia or the nation.
As economist Thomas Sowell has argued, 'The track record of divorcing personal rewards from personal contributions hardly justifies more of the same, even when it is in a more sophisticated form. Sophisticated social disaster is still disaster—and we already have too much of that.' Few things can and do stifle personal initiative more than 'free' money.
Black women often make less than White employees and even Black men for the same work. The 'In Her Hands' fund will allow more black women to thrive and lead mentally and financially healthier lives. Black women have been disproportionately affected by racism and sexism connected to wealth in the United States. Not only do they face the injustice of systemic racism, but black women also deal with sexism. This leaves them at a greater disadvantage, and this fund will help level the wage-earning playing field. This fund will also help decrease generational poverty, which disproportionately affects Black families, by giving Black women a guaranteed income that will counter the effects of unlivable wages and wage gaps that push many Black women into poverty. These women will be able to set their children up for success, meaning future generations will earn more and have a better shot at financial success.
On top of alleviating some of the wealth gaps in the United States, the 'In Her Hands' fund is a wonderful chance to experiment with the idea of universal basic income, an idea many have suggested and has been proven possible. Programs like 'In Her Hands' have had proven success. In Stockton, CA., for example, a similar program was started with beneficial and positive outcomes. Though some may see this as a handout from the government, it targets poverty and the racial and gender wealth gaps, making it an even more beneficial program than simply receiving unemployment. This is an opportunity to help Black women get out of poverty—something that income requirements for unemployment make very difficult.