Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

After reading Axios' 10 myths about the racial wealth gap, BET co-founder and entrepreneur Robert L. Johnson is issuing a challenge to politicians, civic leaders and Black organizations across the country: Refute the findings or lay out a set of actionable solutions.

What he's saying: And if they can't, "they need to have the courage to stand up to Black people and say, 'You are perpetually a second-class economic population in America,'" Johnson said during an hourlong one-on-one interview Sunday.

  • "Say to Black America, all 40 million of us, 'Guys, you will never attain the wealth of white families in this country ... Get used to it.'"

Where it stands: Johnson asserts that there is only one way to truly close the U.S. racial wealth gap. "The simple conclusion is white America, if they really want to see Black people equally wealthy to them: Give Black people more wealth, more capital, more cash," he says.

  • "White people, from the beginning of this country, have had more access to capital to create wealth than Black people. And wealth in a capitalist society — or access to capital in a capitalist society — propels you to more wealth."

Why it matters: The man who created the first Black-owned company listed on the New York Stock Exchange and then sold it for a reported $3 billion argues that the research in the story "devastated a generation of notions as to how Black people could compete in a capitalist society and get equal opportunity and access to capital."

The big picture: Johnson now asserts that public officials and organizations like the Urban League, NAACP and Congressional Black Caucus need to change course in their advocacy.

Yes, but: Johnson is not hopeful.

  • Even if Congress passed H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, he's convinced legislative actions would only invest in the same programs proven not to work by years of research from the Fed, Department of Commerce, Brookings Institution and others.
  • And having spoken to a litany of fellow CEOs and entrepreneurs, he says the private sector has "bought into what you call myths ... And therefore, they will take no other alternatives because they believe in the dogma."

The last word: "If government-subsidized, means-tested programs don't work ... then go to the other way, which is [to] give wealth to Black people using tax policy. And reparations is nothing but tax policy."

  • "If you taxed every white American eight dollars a day for 30 years, you'd get to $14 trillion of wealth being transferred to Black America."

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Oct 30, 2020 - Economy & Business

Ares Management in talks to buy Australian investment firm AMP

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Ares Management is in early talks to buy listed Australian wealth management and investment firm AMP.

Why it matters: This would be an ignominious end to the 171-year firm's independence, as a series of scandals has cut its stock price by more than 70% since mid-2018.

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1pm the day after the article is transmitted.