"What gives urgency to debates about race in America today — and what drives the reparations movement, are two basic facts," Walter Russell Mead writes in the Wall Street Journal.

The first, he says, is that "The median white household has a net worth of $171,000, roughly 10 times the median net worth of black households." The second is that the gap "is essentially unchanged from the levels of 1962." The persistence of this gap advances the case, advocates say, for racial reparations.

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.

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