Secretary Yellen Addresses Progress and Future Goals for Inclusive Economy at 2023 Freedman’s Bank Forum

In her remarks at the 2023 Freedman’s Bank Forum, Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen highlighted the Biden Administration’s commitment to fostering an inclusive economy and reflected on the achievements thus far.

Key Points:

  1. Equitable Recovery: Secretary Yellen acknowledged the historical economic disparities faced by marginalized communities and emphasized the administration’s dedication to driving an equitable recovery. Notably, the Black unemployment rate reached historic lows, showcasing the success of targeted policies.
  2. Housing Initiatives: The Treasury’s focus on housing, particularly through the Homeowner Assistance Fund, resulted in effective support for below-median-income and socially-disadvantaged homeowners. This approach prevented a surge in foreclosure rates, benefitting a diverse range of households.
  3. Child Tax Credit Impact: The expanded Child Tax Credit played a crucial role in mitigating child poverty during the pandemic. Over 700,000 Black children were lifted out of poverty in 2021, demonstrating the positive impact of direct financial support.
  4. Investing in America Agenda: Secretary Yellen outlined the “Investing in America” agenda, emphasizing a modern supply-side economics approach. The agenda aims to expand long-term productive capacity, reduce inequality, and address environmental concerns, with a focus on broadening economic opportunity.
  5. Support for Small Businesses: Initiatives such as the Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP) and the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) are providing capital and fostering entrepreneurship. ECIP alone is expected to result in nearly $80 billion in increased lending in Black communities and nearly $58 billion in Latino communities over the next decade.
  6. Market Opportunities: The Treasury Department is actively increasing the dollar amount of contracts awarded to minority-owned businesses, with a notable 60% increase in contracts awarded to Black-owned businesses. Corporate leaders are joining the commitment to allocate a percentage of procurement dollars to small and underserved businesses by 2025.
  7. Building Resilient Supply Chains: Efforts to incorporate diverse businesses into critical sectors, such as renewable energy, aim to build resilient supply chains. Technical assistance programs are being pursued to enhance the capacity of diverse entrepreneurs to compete for larger contracts.
  8. Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit Program: The expansion of the Inflation Reduction Act’s clean energy investment tax credit through the Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit Program is designed to benefit economically marginalized communities.

In conclusion, Secretary Yellen expressed gratitude to the diverse stakeholders present, emphasizing the shared vision of an economy that works for all communities. She highlighted the ongoing commitment to learning and adapting strategies for lasting economic strength and a better future. The address concluded with a call for continued collaboration in the pursuit of an inclusive economy.