I just finished radio taping a segment for the John Bachelor Show on ABC Radio (a national show), with a person I really respect, Ms. Diane Brady, and dealing with economic policy, my role as the new chairman of the Subcommittee on the Underserved and Community Empowerment for President Obama and the US President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability.  

We covered, amongst other things, my view on what's coming out of Washington, DC these days, and specifically the view that this crisis was somehow created by poor people, and you have to punish the poor to get them to take charge of thier lives.

I said a lot of what I believe on the show, which will air later tonight, but here are a couple additional points of focus:

  • This crisis was NOT created by poor people. The fact is that more middle class white men received subprime loans that kicked off the global econoic crisis, than all poor people combined in the United States. Furthermore, poor people do not have 20 trillion dollars to lose, which is how much wealth evaporated in this crisis in the U.S. alone. This was and remains a middle class crisis.  Well educated people for the most part, who bought too much house, and asked the wrong questions; asking what the payment was when they purchased a home, and not what the interest rate was.
  • Of course, everyone should have a GED or better still, a high school diploma or college degree.  Obtaining a college degree is the single best way to insure that you are gainfully employed, and that you are not poor.  That said, getting a GED should not be tied to the dignity of a family eating or having a roof over their families head.  Good public policy should be dignity rich, aspirational and encouragement and encentives based.  People respond well to aspirational growth in their own lives.  Not just poor people, but the working class, the middle class and the wealthy also.
  • We should take the lessons from the Gallup-HOPE Index, which showed that there is a significant gap between our youth's aspirations (77% want to be their own boss) and their inspiration (only 5% have a business internship or business role model), and create positive tax and human capital investment policy that rewarks American business for engaging our 30 million youth (4th grade through 12th grade) in business internships and employee role modeling.  Kids will model what they see. We must give them something different, and better to see.  This is not government's failing, but government can do things to encourage American business and American citizens to change this.
  • Federal policy should continue to reward rational investment for the average American, such as the tax benefit of homeownership, but it should also reward human capital investment, such as investing in a local business that creates local jobs. This is no different that the way we have created a culture of philanthropic giving in this country, in part through federal policy that rewards charitable giving through the tax system.
  • Anyway, more from me later, including my vision on and around the new Subcommittee for President Obama.  Let me know what you thikn of the show.


    John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass) the only African-American bestselling business author in America, and is chairman of the Subcommittee for the Under-Served and Community Empowerment for the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, for President Barack Obama.  Mr. Bryant is the co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index, the only national research poll on youth financial dignity and youth economic energy in the U.S. He is also a co-founder of Global Dignity with HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland. Global Dignity is affiliated with the Forum of Young Global Leaders and the World Economic Forum. 

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