Thursday, August 05, 2004

Instapundit links second-hand to this report, giving him a chance to smirk at John Edwards' 2-Americas vision. The state of Georgia is a place, the argument goes, where there is no longer a serious haves-havenots division by race because minority buying power has "more than doubled" there in the last 14 years.

Of course, that's only in real dollars. You may not be surprised to learn, if you actually look at the report, total buying power in all of America more than doubled over the same period. Duh. Of course total minority buying power is going to increase in dollars so long as the population continues to grow. And indeed, population growth is surging among minorities in Georgia as well. The question should be: has minority buying power, in terms of market share, increased at the same rate as population percentage? And let's keep in mind that minorities were already behind (I know, even in a progressive state like Georgia?!). So, are they catching up?

I did a little quick math. Market share among African-Americans in Georgia, according to this report, grew from 16% to 20.2% in that time period, the second best gain of any state. The problem is that black population increased from 27% to nearly 30% in the same period. True, market share is gaining on population, that's the good news, but at the present rate of growth (if GA could sustain that high level of performance),African-American market share won't catch up to population percentage in Georgia until about the year 2046, when both reach about 40%. That's real progress, huh Glenn? I guess we can call off the concern about an opportunity gap among African-Americans in Georgia...tell them they need wait only 42 more years to reach equality.

And that's in one of the best performing states in this regard. In all of America (which is really Edwards' concern: 2 Americas, not 2 Georgias), according to this report, African-American market share has reached 8.4%, while population sits at 12.47% Taking the rate of growth of each from the last 4 years as a marker, African-Americans can look forward to having a buying power equal to their population share between the years 2144 and 2148. That's right. In 140 years. That puts us right now at about half-way to economic equality from the Civil War.


And even that leaves aside the fact that Edwards' "2 Americas" is not especially about race (most poor people are white), it's about wide gaps of opportunity. I'd say this report, far from questioning the validity of that idea, proves one measure of Edwards' accuracy without a doubt. A little more actual reading, a little less snarky speed-posting, and mighty Instapundit might be a bit less annoying. Why did I use to like reading him?

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