Biden: Black entrepreneurs don't have lawyers or accountants, you know

They don’t? That seems like an odd claim, given how many black attorneys and black accountants we have in the US. As so often happens when Joe Biden strives to pander, he ends up sounding patronizing and downright offensive instead, as he did in this strange claim yesterday:

RCP has more of the transcript:

BIDEN: We have a thing called–I won’t go into it all but there’s not enough time now. But I’m determined to use every taxpayer’s dollar that is assigned to me to spend going to American companies and American workers to build Amer–that build American products. And as part of that I’m going to increase the share of the dollars the federal government spends to small, disadvantaged businesses including black and brown small businesses. Right now it calls for 10 percent. We’re gonna move that to 15 percent of every dollar spent will be spent for both.

(APPLAUSE)

I have a priority to do that.

(APPLAUSE)

Just imagine if instead of denying millions of entrepreneurs the ability to access capital and–and–and contracting we made it possible to take their dreams to the marketplace to create jobs and invest in our communities. Dat–the data shows young black entrepreneurs are just as capable of succeeding given the chance as white entrepreneurs are. But they don’t have lawyers, they don’t have–they–they don’t have accountants. But they have great ideas.

Does anyone doubt this whole nation’d be better off from the investments those people make? And I promise you that’s why I set up the sm–National Small Business Administration that’s much broader. ‘Cause they’re gonna get those loans.

Favorable government treatment for minority-owned businesses is hardly a new concept. The US Chamber of Commerce offered a tutorial for certification last year for such entrepreneurs, boosting their ability to access government programs and benefits at the federal, state, and local levels. That included certifying through the Small Business Administration, which already offered such support and contracting access well before Biden took office, for decades in fact, maintained through both Democrat and Republican administrations. Biden may be expanding that access and resources — we’ll see if he follows through — but it’s not new.

What Biden did invent is the notion that black entrepreneurs can’t find a lawyer or an accountant without government help. That’s utter nonsense; black entrepreneurs certainly know how to find lawyers and accountants. To the extent they can afford them, there’s no evidence that they are uniquely disadvantaged in comparison to young non-black entrepreneurs of similar financial standing. Most start-ups would likely begin by doing their own accounting anyway, and would look for inexpensive legal advice as necessities arise. The bigger problem for start-ups is finding venture capital for expansion, not hiring lawyers or accountants, which are plentiful in any color.

The suggestion that black people can’t find lawyers and accountants is insulting on its face. At least Biden’s not talking about convenience-store start-ups and Indian accents, but that’s only an incremental improvement at best.