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Adapted from the Cook Center on Social Equity; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A recent CNBC article suggests financial literacy is the "critical link" that could "help bridge America’s racial wealth gap."

Reality check: Increased financial knowledge is likely to help improve the lives of individuals, however even widespread increases in financial literacy would do little to close the racial wealth gap.

  • According to a recent study by McKinsey, Black Americans can expect to earn up to $1 million less than White Americans over their lifetime.
  • White Americans have significantly higher wealth at every income level than Black Americans, as seen in the chart above.

What it means: The focus on financial literacy generally points to disproportionate use of services like payday lending and check cashing stores with fees and interest payments much higher than traditional lending or banking options by Black folks.

  • However, a 2017 report from the St. Louis Fed points out that the idea that Black people have less wealth because they opt to use such services gets the causal correlation backwards.

What they're saying: "[M]eager economic circumstances — not poor decision making or deficient knowledge — constrain choices and leave asset-poor borrowers with little to no other option but to use predatory and abusive alternative financial services."

Similarly, the report finds the notion that Black families are poorer because they have more "unsecured debt" — defined as store bills and credit card debt, loans from a bank or credit union, and “other” types of debt — is untrue.

  • Researchers found no significant difference in the value of Black and white family unsecured debt holdings.
  • The only category in which there is a statistically significant racial difference in unsecured debt is the "other" category that includes student loans and debt for medical care.

Go deeper

Axios-Ipsos poll: Voters of color worry about militias, arrests

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±2.6% margin of error; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Fears that armed militias, police or COVID-19 await them at the polls are disproportionately shaping how Americans of color think about in-person voting, according to an Ipsos poll for Axios.

Why it matters: Participation by voters of color could decide whether President Trump or Joe Biden wins, and whether Democrats take control of both chambers of Congress.

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has be charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

Schumer calls for IG probe into alleged plan by Trump, DOJ lawyer to oust acting AG

Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference in October. Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."