Financial Reform Bill Includes Diversity Requirements

Couple of factoids -

  1. Black people in the US start about 30% of the new incorporations each year – they receive less than .03% of the Venture Capital and Investment Money put into new or growing businesses.
  2. Women of all colors  start about 60% of new businesses in the US – they receive only 3% of the Venture Capital and Investment Money.

Not much of a “level playing field” – now is it?

Republicans and conservatives have opposed any move to change this, and make things more fair using disingenuous arguments about “quotas”, and other racially tinged code words.

Now the reason I call “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” black conservatives “Uncle Toms” is this – pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is exceedingly difficult, when those bootstraps have been cut by the fact you don’t have access to the very thing which makes every one of your non-minority businesses that is successful,  successful in the first place…

Access to capital.

So expect a fight by the right against ANY effort to level that field – including false arguments like quotas, Affirmative Action, and reverse discrimination…

And a lot of hayteration directed at Maxine Waters.

My own experience with exclusion of Minority owned firms dates form the early 90′s when I owned a Government Contracting Firm which specialized in very high end telecom and computer engineering. Most of my customers were other Government Contracting Firms. I never filed for any sort of 8a or Small Disadvantaged Business Classification, although we did file as a Minority Owned Small Business with the Feds. My company had 12 people working at a major Federal Contractor, who was having “problems” meeting their minority SDB and Minority Owned Business (8a) goals – and was filing for an exemption, claiming that there were no minority owned firms which could do the technical work. I pointed out to the Program Manager that indeed, 1/4th of his development staff was being supplied by my company – which was a Minority Owned Firm, although not a SDB (for which we could qualify if we wanted) or a MWOB (Minority Owned Disadvantaged Business or 8a for which we also could qualify if we wanted) and as such, they could indeed reach the 10% requirement. Although it would require hiring more people from my firm, or other like firms, of whom I gave him a list of 10 who were fully qualified and capable fo doing the work who were already certified as SDBs and MWOBs. (And no – white folks can own both SDBs and MWOBs, if they can meet the eligibility requirements).

They terminated my contract 48 hours later, and successfully got an exemption from having to hire Minority Firms because “none were technically competent to do the work”. This is the game that has been played for years at the Federal Contracting level, with the Federal Government Agency sometimes being willing participants. Republicans had managed to gut any enforcement or penalty for not meeting contract requirements (Much as they gutted the Criminal Penalties in Title IV of the Civil Rights Act) in this, and only this one area – meaning that there really wasn’t any penalty for ignoring Small Business or Minority  contract requirements.

That “level playing field” on the side of a mountain thing… Again.

Feds demand diversity on Wall Street

A little-noticed section of the Wall Street reform law grants the federal government broad new powers to compel financial firms to hire more women and minorities — an effort at promoting diversity that’s drawing fire from Republicans who say it could lead to de facto hiring quotas.

Deep inside the massive overhaul bill, Congress gives the federal government authority to terminate contracts with any financial firm that fails to ensure the “fair inclusion” of women and minorities, forcing every kind of company from a Wall Street giant to a mom-and-pop law office to account for the composition of its work force.

Employment law experts say the language goes further than any previous attempt by the U.S. government to promote diversity in the financial sector — putting muscle behind federal efforts to help minority- and women-owned firms gain access to billions in federal contracts. Continue reading

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