What happens when you mix toxic critical race theory with progressive economics? Thanks to President Joe Biden, we may soon find out.
Under Democratic leadership, the federal government is rolling out numerous race-based economic initiatives that explicitly dole out taxpayer money along racially discriminatory lines. Here are four examples, as identified by Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty attorney Dan Lennington.
A nearly $10 billion Treasury Department mortgage-assistance initiative plans explicitly to favor “socially disadvantaged individuals,” essentially defined as nonwhite people, in assigning the funds.
A $1 billion Department of Agriculture initiative targeting “socially disadvantaged farmers” would specifically dole out taxpayer money “based on race and ethnicity.”
Another USDA program would spend up to $400 million to buy food from “local, regional, and socially disadvantaged farmers,” with “socially disadvantaged” once again basically standing in for “non-white.”
A $10 billion Small Business Administration credit program intends to emphasize funding businesses with nonwhite ownership.
There are too many problems with this race-based approach to federal spending to count.
For one, the legality and constitutionality of these openly discriminatory government schemes are highly dubious. Some race-based government programs such as affirmative action have, unfortunately, been upheld by courts in the past. However, a federal appeals court ordered a halt to a similar Biden administration initiative that allocated COVID-19 relief funds based on race.
“This case is about whether the government can allocate limited coronavirus relief funds based on the race and sex of the applicants,” wrote Judge Amul Thapar. “We hold that it cannot. It is indeed ‘a sordid business’ to divide ‘us up by race.’ And the government’s attempt to do so here violates the Constitution.”
In particular, the court ruled that the race-based initiative violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution, which mandates that the government cannot “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
So while a complicated legal battle will no doubt ensue for each of the four racially discriminatory Biden plans, it certainly seems that they run afoul of the law.
Regardless, they are deeply toxic and flawed on their merits.
The goal of getting relief money to those who need it most can be accomplished by allocating it based on economic means-testing. If certain minority communities really are in disadvantaged situations, money funneled through a race-neutral but financial-need-based system will still end up disproportionately flowing to those minority communities relative to the population.
Yet by explicitly conditioning government assistance on race, the Biden administration embraces the worst of left-wing racial radicalism. As the leftist race scholar Ibram X. Kendi has argued, “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
This toxic approach now apparently underlies some of the president’s federal spending plans — and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Such an approach doesn’t just potentially mean programs will overlook at-need people because they check the “wrong” box off on the census. It puts the government in the business of actively reinforcing racial division, fueling more hostility and conflict, and not promoting progress and healing. And if we accept that the government can actively discriminate along racial lines, we abandon the protection that eradicated past injustice and wards it off in the future.
The intentions of the Biden administration’s racially discriminatory spending initiatives might be benign. But the results are un-American and unacceptable.