Reparations? How about ~7 trillion?
Housing, education and job training, and other anti-poverty programs have cost some $22 trillion since Lyndon Johnson proclaimed the War on Poverty (WoP) some 50 years ago. Blacks made up some 40% of those living in poverty at the start of the program and now make up some 30% – though that figure may be misleading due to the increasing number of Hispanics living in poverty. In public housing alone, blacks constitute nearly 50% of the occupants.
Forty-eight percent of public housing households are black compared to only 19 percent of all renter households.6 Taking income into account does not alter this conclusion, since only 30 percent of households with incomes low enough to qualify for public housing are black.
Here is a commentary from BlackPast.org regarding WoP:
In urban areas like Los Angeles, Newark, Baltimore and New York, African Americans, inspired by the civil rights/black power movement and the participatory ideals of the War on Poverty, formed black-controlled community organizations in the 1960s and 1970s that provided jobs, job training, housing, credit unions, and cultural programs, many of which are still active today.
Yet many black activists today claim that WoP has been a flop, and particularly harmful to the black community by destroying the black family structure.
Flop or not, it has cost the American taxpayer $22 trillion. On a raw basis, more of that money has been spent on whites, since whites outnumber blacks ~9:1. But on a percentage of population basis, three times as much has been spent on blacks. It wasn’t done in the name of reparations, but to the extent that the higher rate of poverty among blacks is the result of discrimination, the effect is the same. If that is not – stupid and misguided though WoP may be – reparations, then what is? Throw in forced sub-prime loans to “minorities” and the banking collapse of 2008, and who knows what the real cost of WoP is – a testament to the failed feel-good social policies of self-anointed white liberal champions of black Americans.
But there it is – failed or not – an attempt to break the poverty cycle for blacks and America’s underclasses generally, who are perceived as not getting a “fair shot” and a “fair shake.” What else should reparations do?