Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The insanity of reparations: San Francisco style.

SF Reparations Committee proposal demonstrates the greed and unreality behind demands for slavery reparations

I am grateful to San Francisco’s  official African American Reparations Advisory Committee for the damage it has done to the notion that the current populace of the United States, none of whom were alive during slavery, owe some kind of debt to African Americans. Its draft proposal recently released would elevate into the top 2% of wealth every African American resident of San Francisco who meets its criteria.

The notion that but for the “harms” it cites, including mortgage discrimination, the construction of public housing, and the “war on drugs,” every African American would be rocketed into the ranks of the wealthiest Americans is patently absurd. Add on the debt forgiveness it demands – the cancellation of mortgage, student and credit card debt – and the guarantee of at least area median income (currently $97,000 in the affluent Bay Area) regardless of any employment for two and half centuries, exposes it as a greedy fantasy of people who want unearned wealth.

On the upside, it doesn’t propose the massive looting of other people’s earned wealth to any African American who can move to the city. The criteria:

To qualify, people need to have identified as black on public records for at least 10 years and be at least 18 years old. They also must qualify for two of a number of requirements, including having been born in the city or migrated to it between 1940 and 1996 and then lived there for 13 years.

These limits are related to the “harms” it cites, since slavery was never legal in California or San Francisco.

“San Francisco’s international reputation as a shining progressive gem in the west is undermined by its legacy of mistreatment, violence towards, and targeted racism against Black Americans. While neither San Francisco, nor California, formally adopted the institution of chattel slavery, the values of segregation, white supremacy and systematic repression and exclusion of Black people were legally codified and enforced,” the proposal reads.

The claim is that but for these “harms,” the targeted residents and their descendants for the next 250 years would all have earned wealth putting them into roughly the top one and half percent of Americans.  (The top 2% of Americans have a net worth of $2,472,000, and the top 1% have $10,815,000.)


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