The Black Unemployment Gap, and What Robert F. Smith Believes Can Be Done About It

The Federal Reserve holds an important mandate in America — maximum employment, stabilize prices and moderate long term interest rates. But in the reserve’s long history, the mandate hasn’t focused on Black Americans or eliminating the systemic racism they face in our economy. That’s changing — and the first Black president of a regional Federal Reserve Bank is leading the charge. 

Raphael W. Bostic heads up the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank and according to the Washington Post, he’s “spurred an urgent discussion around the century-old institution about how to build an economy that includes all Americans.”

“We have the ability and the responsibility to link economic mobility and resilience to broader economic health and to raise awareness among stakeholders who may not be fully attuned to the consequences of an inequitable economy,” Bostic wrote in an essay published this summer. 

Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, agrees. That’s why earlier this year he proposed his 2% solution. Smith’s 2% plan calls on large banks and corporations to invest 2% of their annual net income over the next decade to help empower Black communities and make the economy more equitable. Capital in Black and marginalized communities has long been lacking — so an infusion of billions of dollars of capital over the next 10 years would bring billions of dollars into Black businesses, helping ensure businesses have the funds to grow, drive greater employment in the community, and lower the inequality between Black and white employment rates. 

Advancing economic justice for Black Americans is within reach, if we bring the tools, know-how and power of all of us working together.