Economic inequality continues to be a hotly debated topic in America, but there has been relatively little discussion of the fact that black-white gaps in joblessness, income, poverty, and other measures were shrinking prior to the global pandemic. Why it was happening, and why it received so little attention in the media, is the subject of The Black Boom, a new book by Manhattan Institute senior fellow and Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley.
Riley argues that one of the most underreported stories of the Donald Trump presidency was the extent to which the economic situation of working-class Americans in general—and millions of blacks in particular—had improved before Covid struck. Many people are unaware that prior to the pandemic, black economic advancement under Trump occurred to an extent not only unseen under Barack Obama but unseen going back several generations. The Black Boom explains what types of policies have been most successful in producing upward mobility. It’s a story that warrants wider attention, not to score partisan political points but because less racial and economic inequality is something we all desire.