Reparations: The grift that keeps on giving

Reparations — the political gift (or grift, if you prefer) that keeps on giving — is, yet again, back in the news, and of course the looniest ideas are coming out of California, that bastion of slavery we all know from our American history classes.  Huge numbers are being tossed around by the rabid left and the race-baiters (redundant, I know).  If only we can give enough money, the left moans, then all will be fixed, all will be healed, and we can live in racial harmony.

Think of the absurdity and mental gymnastics of reparations.  Who gets them?  Who gives them?  What if my ancestors lived somewhere without slavery (like California, ironically)...or what about Black people who came to the U.S. after slavery was abolished?  Or what about people who are mixed-race?  Does Barack Obama's White half owe reparations to his Black half?   

Depending on how you define reparations, one could make a strong argument that reparations have been being paid for the last 55 years or so, since LBJ's so-called Great Society legislation.  

How many countless billions have gone into programs designed, at least on paper, to help Black Americans?  Housing developments, affirmative action programs, equal opportunity programs, myriad social welfare and food assistance programs — all with the stated goal of helping people get a leg up.  Were those not reparations?  They were likely paid for by White taxpayers — and, ironically, also by productive, successful Black taxpayers. 

I went to college at a small liberal arts school in the Northeast in the early 1990s.  The school had a so-called equal opportunity program, exclusively for Black and Latino students.  Two of my roommates and close friends were part of that program and received free tuition and room and board.  I don't know what the educational qualifications were — they were both smart, hard-working guys and did well in classes — so I don't know if the standards were at all different from for other students.

What I do know is that I — being raised by a single mother of four — was far poorer than either of those guys, and I had to pay for all of the cost of my college, minus some small scholarships and grants I had earned academically.  I shouldered over thirty thousand dollars in student loans, which was substantial at that time. 

We also know that the academic standards at many universities, such as Harvard (rather famously), have been reduced to increase the admissions of Black students, often blatantly at the expense of White and Asian students who are often more qualified, all so that these universities can check off some racial diversity box and proudly virtue-signal.

Are these things not reparations?  Free college and increased chances of getting into prestigious schools?  

I would argue that, despite all their well documented failings, some of those programs at least maybe had some good ideas and noble intentions at their base: help Black students earn opportunities that may have historically not been available to them; reach out a hand to help pull someone out of a difficult situation and onto a path for success.  The "new reparations" they're talking about now are, aside from sounding as though they were imagined by a seven-year-old on a sugar bender, just a blatant hand-out of massive amounts of money.  

The numbers I have seen have been a) $5,000,000 per person, b) guaranteed incomes of $95,000 per year, and c) homes purchased for one dollar.  I'm probably leaving something out, but you get the idea.  It's as if someone polled a group of kindergartners on what they thought would make Mommy and Daddy happy this year for Christmas.

I won't bother talking about how to pay for something like this, because the truth is that it is not going to happen.  This is more virtue-signaling from the woke mob and part of the chaos that is our everyday world now.  What will happen is that the numbers will be revised dramatically downward, and some things will be eliminated altogether.  But in the end, some large sum of money will be given out, and it will seem like a bargain compared the original ransom list.

The stark reality is that reparations will fix nothing.  No form of this insanity has healed anything in the last five decades.  The left cannot be appeased, and its continued abuse of its Black voting base will never end.  Reparations will or won't happen, and then leftists will move on to the next Current Thing.  And sadly, those who may receive these large payments, because many have demonstrated clear financial ineptitude, will blow through the money quickly and be no better off than they were before the handout.  They will not respect the windfall because they did not earn it. 

But at least the left will have cleansed its conscience.  For a little while.  Until the next tantrum.

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