POLITICAL SCIENCE

The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans—And How We Can Fix It

Crown Mar. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780525577324. $27. POL SCI
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Brown (law, Emory Univ. School of Law; Critical Race Theory) details how America’s tax system disadvantages Black Americans by mining publicly available data. Readers might be surprised to learn the IRS does not collect information on tax payments and race. With clarity and focus, Brown delivers a shocking look at the racial inequalities of America’s tax system. White people benefit disproportionately from favorable tax laws, allowing them to accumulate and pass on wealth at higher levels than many Black Americans. Brown’s final chapter proposes several policies that would level taxation disparities and begin to close the wealth gap. Her proposals include taxing all forms of income and the elimination of property tax funding as the main source of income for schools. She also advocates for a reparations credit: a race-based tax credit that can begin to make up for the centuries of slavery and discrimination suffered by Black Americans. The inequities of the American tax system are laid bare for all to see, along with the ongoing negative effect on Black income and wealth.
VERDICT Readers interested in racial, social justice, and financial issues will not want to miss this eye-opening title.
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