To the winner go the spoils. President Trump has about 4,000 government positions to fill, including some of the most important posts in the U.S. government. He has focused on people with business, instead of government, experience. Some will complain because he has also picked a less racially diverse Cabinet than his predecessors.
Some say African-Americans stand to lose the most during the next four years. As blacks have gained political posts, our economic inequality has increased. Blacks may have political “power,” but are still among America’s have-nots. And while blacks across America increasingly cry “woe is me,” the rich are making money.
As blacks hope politics will makes their lives better, the wealthy continue taking a bigger piece of the American pie. The nation’s top 1 percent takes home more than 20 percent of all U.S. income. Today, the mega-wealthy — the top 1 percent — holds nearly $8.4 million, or 69 times the median household’s $121,000 net holdings.
Most blacks see Donald Trump’s election win as driven by forces of ingrained racism and misogyny. Many can’t see how Trump’s popularity and support reflects a massive sense of loss: real economic loss, perceived cultural loss, and anticipatory loss for their children’s generation. Political leaders and institutions tell blacks “wealth” is “greed” and greed is “bad.” Black opinion-molders foretell that Donald Trump’s White House “a racist calamity.”
Under Trump, the business of America is business. The Donald’s Cabinet is be one of most business-heavy in U.S. history Trump’s Cabinet picks have more wealth than third of American households combined. The people Trump has nominated to be Cabinet secretaries have spent all or nearly all their careers in the business world, with no significant public office or senior military service on their résumés. This will be more businesspeople with no public-sector experience than any American Cabinet. The wealth they possess, almost $10 billion, is greater than America’s 43 million least wealthy households.
The five mega-wealthy businesspeople Trump has nominated are Rex Tillerson, who resigned as Exxon Mobil’s chairman and CEO after being named secretary of state; hedge fund investor and Hollywood financier Steven Mnuchin, nominated as Treasury secretary; Wilbur Ross, a Wall Street veteran who invests in distressed companies, nominated for commerce secretary; and Betsy DeVos, a philanthropist and school-voucher activist who is Trump’s pick for education secretary, and Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants (which owns the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. chains), who eventually withdrew his nomination as labor secretary.
Economically, Trump, his Cabinet and blacks are worlds apart. His administration looks like America — mostly whites as “bosses” and a few black employees. Among two dozen top offices, most of people nominated are white males. In his “diversity,” Trump designated three women and Housing and Urban Development Secretary-designate Ben Carson to top jobs. Not yet a millionaire, Carson is well on his way. In addition to being a physician, Carson is an author and speaker.
The Donald’s medium to African-Americans is Dr. Omarosa Manigault, White House assistant to the president and director of communications for public engagement. Her annual salary is $172,200. Manigault first came to public attention in 2004 after becoming a participant on NBC’s reality TV show “The Apprentice” and soon became the woman America loved to hate, named by E! as reality TV’s “no. 1 bad girl.” In the 1990s, Omarosa worked in the office of Vice President Al Gore during the Clinton administration.
It’s time blacks told themselves the truth. In America, blacks are more often “workers” than “chiefs.” At thirteen percent of the population, African-Americans own less than 3 percent of the nation’s wealth. The net worth of U.S. households and nonprofit organizations — the value of homes, stocks, and other assets minus debts and other liabilities — equals $84.9 trillion.
Consider this: The median African-American household’s net worth is just over $7,000, compared to $111,000 for white households, according to a study published in August. If we continue with politics as usual, it’ll take blacks over 200 years to catch up economically.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.