Lazy eyes listen
A California task force studying reparations for black Americans descended from slaves wants the state’s taxpayers to pay $360,000 for each affected individual, the group announced on Friday ahead of a two-day meeting in Sacramento. The payouts, along with community reparations for the state’s history of housing discrimination, could cost California up to $640 billion.
The Reparations Task Force did not make any recommendations prior to the meeting on how the state could come up with more than a half-trillion dollars, but it did explain that the $640 billion figure was the result of a model that accounted for damages from housing discrimination, mass incarceration, and healthcare disadvantages.
The group has not yet decided whether the funds will be distributed directly to qualified black Californians or invested in education, healthcare, and homeownership in the state’s black communities. California is home to approximately 1.8 million black Americans, and the exact qualifications for receiving reparations, aside from US citizenship and an enslaved ancestor, are unknown.
The per-capita figure announced on Friday represents a more than 50% increase over the task force’s December proposal of $220,000 for each qualifying member of the state’s historically disadvantaged black population. The task force was established in 2020 by California Governor Gavin Newsom, who described it as the largest reparations effort since Reconstruction.
However, despite projecting a $100 billion surplus in 2022, California is currently facing a $22.5 billion budget deficit, forcing Newsom to consider deep cuts to his signature progressive policies.
According to the task force’s preliminary report from last year, centuries of discriminatory policies – including more than 100 years in the ostensibly free state of California – have left black Americans in worse physical, mental, and especially financial condition, segregated in less desirable neighborhoods, receiving a worse education and paid less for more precarious jobs, and suffering more abuse by authorities than their white counterparts. According to the report, black families had one-tenth the assets of white families.
The task force recommended that the state prohibit for-profit prison companies from operating, redraw electoral district lines to “prevent dilution of the black vote,” and end the abuse of the foster care system in breaking up families.