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When is a public policy racist?

Community historian Morris “Dino” Robinson, who helped shape the Evanston’s reparations initiative, points to the borders of the Fifth Ward, which was the area of Evanston the city’s Black citizens were forced to move to due to redlining between 1919 and 1969, in Evanston, Illinois, U.S March 17, 2021. REUTERS/Eileen T. Meslar

Jim Crow laws that prevented Black citizens from voting are clearly racist, as are redlining practices that excluded Black homebuyers from white neighborhoods. But what about laws and regulations that don’t rely on disparate treatment based on race? Can such policies still be racist? Bill Gale explores these questions in his new research, including in a paper titled “Public Finance and Racism.” He is the Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Chair in Federal Economic Policy, a senior fellow in Economic Studies, and co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

Also on this episode, Senior Fellow David Wessel, director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, addresses President Biden’s renomination of Jay Powell to be chair of the Federal Reserve, his nomination of Lael Brainard to be vice chair, and the big question confronting the Fed: inflation. Listen to this segment also on SoundCloud.

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