gap inequality white concept
Professor Goldburn P. Maynard Jr. of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business discusses the U.S. tax code’s effect on wealth inequality and how race has shaped the distribution of wealth.
This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
David D. Stewart: Welcome to the podcast. I’m David Stewart, editor in chief of Tax Notes Today International. This week: wealth and inequality.
The ever increasing wealth of millionaires and billionaires and how to tax it has dominated the national debate even more so since the pandemic. Since the stock market lows of March 2020, the wealth of U.S. billionaires has grown 70 percent. To put that in perspective, billionaires collectively hold two-thirds more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of all households in the United States, according to an analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies.
And when you look closer at wealth inequality in the U.S., the extent of the racial wealth gap becomes clear. According to Brookings, the net worth of a typical white family was nearly 10 times greater than that of a Black family in 2016.
This week’s episode is part of a series we’ve done examining how tax rules affect marginalized groups. We’ll include links in our show notes to our previous episodes on the intersection of tax and racial inequality, LGBTQ rights, feminism, and diversity in international tax policy.
Today, we’re discussing the racial wealth gap and the role tax policy plays in this centuries old issue. Joining me now is Tax Notes contributing editor, Joseph Thorndike. Joe, welcome back to the podcast.
Joseph J. Thorndike: Thanks, Dave. It’s always great to be here.
David D. Stewart: Now, I understand you recently spoke with someone about this issue. Could you tell us about your guest?
Joseph J. Thorndike: I talked with Goldburn Maynard. He’s a professor at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, where he teaches in the department of Business Law and Ethics. But he’s also taught at a number of law schools, including the University of Louisville, Florida State, and Washington University.
David D. Stewart: Could you give us a quick overview of what you discussed?
Joseph J. Thorndike: Maynard has written extensively about wealth and inequality, so we quite naturally centered our conversation around that issue. But we also focused on the ways in which race has shaped the distribution of wealth in America, the policies surrounding inequality and how we try to deal with it, and the scholarship around both those subjects. This took …….