Amy Brown on inequality in government and politics

When corporate interests have more say in local, state, and national governments than local citizens, public policy can no longer reflect the public good. Amy Brown, Ford Foundation program officer, discusses why inequality is growing and the American Dream is getting harder to believe.


AMY BROWN: Inequality is not only growing, it’s becoming harder and harder not to see for everyone. The American dream is getting harder and harder to believe and that strikes at the very core of who we are.

[Inequality is logo. A graphic black equal sign with an orange slash through it. #InequalityIs. Amy Brown, program officer, Ford Foundation. A white woman in a gray scarf and burgundy sweater.]

Inequality is, in many ways, driven by government policy. The fact that affordable loans are not available in communities of color. The fact that government policies around homeownership helped whites more than they helped people of color. If you think about historical access to education and other opportunities, all of those things contribute to the current wealth gaps that we see today and to current inequalities. And the answer to addressing them is largely in making government really work for all people. Our government decisions are so influenced by lobbyists for corporations. People in some communities have very little voice in their local government, and their state government, and the national government. That situation makes it very hard for public policy to reflect the public good. I think we can definitely end inequality, but in order to do so it’s going to require the people who are most impacted having the power and voice to change their own communities.

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