Bob Johnson says Biden’s Build Back Better bill needs to direct money to Black-owned businesses

BET founder Bob Johnson told CNBC on Tuesday that the Biden administration needs to take further steps in its Build Back Better plan to tackle the wealth gap between black and white Americans.

“What I’m looking at is, what can you do to increase black wealth? And that means you need to make more capital available to black businessmen and women who want to create jobs, create wealth, create growth opportunities. , “said Johnson. . “That was what was missing in the Build Back Better Act.”

Johnson, 75, made history as America’s first black billionaire when he sold BET to Viacom in 2001. Shortly after the sale, he started investment firm The RLJ Cos. He is no longer on the Forbes billionaire list.

As a thought leader in the black community, Johnson said last year that Black History Month – in February each year – should focus more on future opportunities.

In Tuesday’s interview on “Squawk Box,” Johnson said the $ 1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill “was never targeted at closing the black wealth gap.” It also fails to implement provisions that would be cost-free and yet help black Americans accumulate savings, he added.

The outspoken entrepreneur has criticized both Democrats and Republicans for not doing enough to address persistent inequalities for black Americans. In 2020, he called for $ 14 trillion in compensation for slavery and proposed black Americans form their own political party.

Affordable car, for example, would dramatically reduce the 401 (k) payments that black Americans have to make when changing jobs, Johnson told CNBC. Giving all companies a mandate to implement cheap cars would, over a generation, put more than $ 1 billion into black Americans’ retirement savings, he added.

“Closing the black wealth gap is not a job. It does not give us more spending money to spend. It gives us more access to prosperity sustainability,” Johnson said.

The Build Back Better plan stalled in December after Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., said he would not vote for the bill, which needs the support of all Senate Democrats to be signed into law. The legislation has already been passed in the Folketing. Biden recently said he plans to break the bill to first transfer spending of more than $ 500 billion to tackle climate change.

Johnson has also appeared before Congress to pass the law on better opportunities and outcomes for socially disadvantaged talents, or BOOST, calling it Tuesday the “most significant way to direct capital to black businesses.

The bill proposes giving $ 30 billion to companies that invest in companies owned by colored people, and giving tax deductions to those who eventually sold their shares in those companies when they became valuable.

Johnson also said he has put his advocate for compensation on the back burner, saying neither side of the political corridor has offered strong support for the idea.

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