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California is grappling with many crises, including soaring crime, a growing homeless population, out-of-control drug overdoses, a giant budget shortfall, a population and business exodus, and a power grid teetering on the edge of failure. But instead of progressive lawmakers addressing these problems and making life better for the tens of millions of Americans who currently live in the state, they are focused on reparations. 

On Saturday, California’s nine-member Reparations Task Force approved recommendations for how state officials should compensate and apologize to Black residents for past injustices. The task force has spent the last two years deliberating on payment recommendations that will now be sent for final approval in Sacramento before a July 1 deadline. 

“Reparations are not only morally justifiable, but they have the potential to address long-standing racial disparities and inequalities,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said during the meeting last night in Oakland. 

California task force’s recommendations would mean a 71-year-old Black resident, living in the Golden State for their entire life, could receive a $1.2 million compensation check if the recommendations are passed into law. 

Several economists working with the task force have developed these reparation estimates:

One such estimate laid out in the report determined that to address the harms from redlining by banks, which disqualified people in Black neighborhoods from taking out mortgages and owning homes, eligible Black Californians should receive up to $148,099. That estimate is based on a figure of $3,366 for each year they lived in California from the early 1930s to the late 1970s, when federal redlining was most prevalent.

To address the impact of over-policing and mass incarceration, the report estimates, each eligible person would receive $115,260, or about $2,352 for each year of residency in California from 1971 to 2020, during the decades-long war on drugs. –The New York Times 

The task force’s recommendations didn’t include the total costs of reparations which could be more than $500 billion, based on estimates from economists. 

“The initial down payment is the beginning of a process of addressing historical injustices,” the recommendations reads, “not the end of it.”

Residents at the meeting demanded $200 million in direct cash payments for each Black resident. 

AmericanThinker’s Chris Talgo pointed out that reparation payments and other government handouts won’t close the wealth gap, “it arguably will make it worse.”

Talgo explained:

Consider. Since the start of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “war on poverty,” the federal government has spent $22 trillion on various wealth redistribution programs. Yet, over that span, the rate of poverty remains unchanged.

Perhaps this is because giving some people other people’s money is an incentive for the former to remain indolent. In other words, government checks breed dependence on government.

On the other hand, if California lawmakers were actually interested in addressing the plight of many of the Black residents who live in the Golden State, they ought to take a forward-looking approach that would include an increased police presence, a tough on crime approach, lower taxes, fewer regulations, and commonsense policies that would make energy affordable and abundant.

And, if these same lawmakers were really audacious and genuinely wanted to throw a wrench into the cycle of poverty that has entrapped so many Black Californians, they would do everything in their power to ensure that universal school choice was the norm in the Golden State. It also would help if these so-called leaders addressed the elephant in the room: the breakdown of the Black family, which is arguably the biggest driver of poverty and so many other societal problems.

He continued:

However, these are difficult conversations for leftist lawmakers, who always view more government wealth redistribution as the answer to everything. It is much easier for politicians to propose a superficial solution, like reparation payments, even though time has shown that giving people money doesn’t solve deep-seated, complex problems. 

What’s troubling is that a California lawmaker has already declared a comprehensive reparations plan “will be a blueprint for America.” 


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