When Public Investments Benefit Black People, White Elites Historically Work Overtime To Stop It
As Congress rushes to deliver bills to make crucial investments in infrastructure, jobs and families, much resistance is coming from those who pretend to fret over budget deficits and the federal debt. These irresponsible and dangerous arguments about the debt and deficit have been widely debunked, but the roots of self-styled deficit hawks go deeper than their policy positions. For more than 150 years, they have given a veneer of legitimacy to those seeking to entrench white power at the expense of Black and brown communities.
Deficit fearmongering stretches back to Reconstruction, when the white, Southern elite sought to entrench their economic and political power after emancipation. When the South saw its first influx of Black elected officials after the Civil War, they pursued an agenda grounded in progressive investments in partnership with white legislators from poorer areas. These investments focused on rebuilding the South’s infrastructure and implementing social spending to support the millions of newly-enfranchised Black Americans who were emancipated but had few resources for themselves or their families.
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