CA Democrats Propose Reparations for African Americans Costing Taxpayers $648 Billion
March 23, 2023
California's reparations task force has spoken: African Americans who are direct descendants of slaves living in the U.S. in the 19th century should receive over $360,000 each in reparations from the California taxpayers as well as an apology. In San Francisco, African Americans whether or not they descended from slaves would also receive $5 million each, $98,000 a year for 250 years, an entire house for just $1, and would be excused from paying any consumer debt payments or taxes for the rest of their life.
"If this all sounds crazy and offensive, it is because it is crazy and offensive," says Carl DeMaio, Chairman of Reform California, who is leading the fight against the reparations proposals.
DeMaio says the whole idea of giving reparations to anyone living today is in itself a "racist" notion that you would force some groups with a certain skin color to make payments to other groups with a certain skin color.
DeMaio's organization released a fiscal assessment of the reparations proposals that predicts that a full program covering all African Americans in California would cost over $648 billion or $53,333 per household in California that is not African American.
How did this crazy idea even begin in California which has never had slavery and entered the union in the 1850s as a "free" state?
In 2020 at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill giving "special consideration" to black descendants of American slaves and authorized an investigation into the process of providing reparations to these individuals. Immediately after its formation, the task force started making reparation proposals for individuals beyond just direct descendants of slaves.
"The extremists who are proposing these reparations want to force people today who in no way were involved in slavery to give their money to other people who claim they are related to victims who suffered under slavery 150 to 200 years ago that is a fundamentally unfair and unjust policy," DeMaio says.
"Worse than limiting their proposal to descendants of slaves, they are also proposing to simply force people with a certain skin color to simply give their money to other people with a different skin color that is the fundamental definition of an offensive and downright racist policy," DeMaio notes.
"This is nothing more than a shameful attempt by California Democrats to divide us once again along racial lines, fan the flames of hate and division, and pit groups against each other," DeMaio says.
"Perhaps someone ought to tell these extremists backing this proposal that California was admitted to the union as a free state in 1850 and never allowed slaves," DeMaio says.
DeMaio warns that the action will not only lead to massive costs to taxpayers and be racially divisive, but reparations have already been deemed illegal by the U.S. Supreme Court on a number of occasions.
For example, in Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co., the Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot provide race-based "remedies that are ageless in their reach into the past." In addition, in rulings such as Coral Construction Co. v. King County, federal courts have made it clear that the government cannot provide sweeping race-based remedies to compensate for "societal discrimination," but rather must only compensate for a direct victim of a government action.
A perfect example of the correct way to do reparations can be found in 1988, when President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which officially apologized for the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II and authorized a payment of $20,000 to 80,000 living survivors. It is important to understand that the Reagan reparations bill only compensated individuals who were themselves put into camps by their own government, not their descendants.
The Reagan reparations bill also provides a comparison to demonstrate just how crazy the California reparations are.
Adjusted for inflation, those $20,000 payments from 1988 would be $52,735 in today's dollars for Japanese who actually were put into camps. Mind you, not a single descendant of a Japanese-American who was interred in a camp received a single penny. Why? Because the harm was not caused directly to them.
In contrast, California Democrat politicians want to force today's taxpayers to pay an extra $53,333 in tax burden to give reparations of $360,000 to African Americans.
"Even on the obscure chance that this proposal is found to be legal, it will absolutely lead to tax increases," says DeMaio.
But what can be done to help stop the proposal?
DeMaio says it starts with flipping key seats in the State Legislature, which will help block bad legislation like this from getting approved.
DeMaio and Reform California are working to recruit and support reform-minded candidates for the 2024 elections that will fight to stop bad bills and the huge tax increases coming out of Sacramento.