Dems starting to discover that reparations demands are a political trap
It must have seemed to Democrats like a good idea at the time to encourage the idea that their most solid political base, African Americans, deserve payment from taxpayers for the harm that slavery did to their ancestors. Particularly when Donald Trump began making inroads in 2016, taking Hillary Clinton’s support among black males down to 82%, well below the 90s that Barack Obama enjoyed. Because bribing voting blocs with taxpayers’ money is such a familiar tool for politicians, this tactic didn’t raise alarm at first.
In California, which likes to see itself as a trend-maker for the rest of the nation, the Democrat-dominated Legislature passed and Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill, AB-3121, establishing a “Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans,” effective October 2, 2020. Nine members were to be appointed, 5 by the governor and 2 each by the leaders of the state house and senate. But despite the law’s mandate that “Members shall be drawn from diverse backgrounds to represent the interests of communities of color throughout the state,” 8 of the 9 members were African Americans – which means that they also had a personal stake in the outcome of their deliberations. Otherwise known as a “conflict of interest,” as Daniel J. Flynn points out.
Is it any surprise, then, that the task force ended up with a set of recommendations that would bankrupt the state, costing an estimated $800 billion, two-and-a-half times the state’s annual budget? Which already is facing an estimated $22.5 billion deficit. The reparations study separately undertaken by the City of San Francisco was even more lavish, recommending a whopping $5 million payment to every resident who qualifies. This would make a two-person household that qualifies almost wealthy enough to rank in the top one percent of Americans in terms of net worth.
Can anyone honestly claim that African Americans descended from slaves, roughly 12 percent of the population, would all be in top one percent of wealth but for the lingering effects of slavery?
Now that Gavin Newsom has received the report of the reparations task force that he and state legislature set up, he realizes that he is a trap of his own design. The 90+ percent of Californians who are not black overwhelmingly do not want to see their state taxes (already the highest in the nation) skyrocket to fund handouts to people who never were slaves in a state that never had slavery, and which, in fact, fought in the Civil War to abolish slavery. While there are no studies of voter attitudes that I know of, in my admittedly limited circle of acquaintances, the level of opposition rangers from anger to outrage. Asian Americans, many of whose ancestors did suffer hideous discrimination in California, and who outnumber blacks in the state, are particularly likely to angrily reject the idea. For many non-black Californians, it would be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back, a move so rage-inducing that it would prompt me and many others to finally leave this insane asylum.
Newsom, who quite obviously is eying a chance at the Democrats’ presidential nomination in light of the worsening infirmity of President Biden, realizes that endorsing these recommendations would torpedo his chance to become president. So, he is trying to escape the trap.
Ever wonder why his nickname is Governor Brylcreem?
Jonathan Turley writes:
With California billions in the red, Newsom appears to be sending up a trial balloon on offering heartfelt apologies, promises of reform, and no cash. (snip)
Newsom told Fox News Digital that reparation” is about much more than cash payments.” Instead, he stressed:
“we’ve already been hard at work addressing: breaking down barriers to vote, bolstering resources to address hate, enacting sweeping law enforcement and justice reforms to build trust and safety, strengthening economic mobility — all while investing billions to root out disparities and improve equity in housing, education, healthcare, and well beyond. This work must continue.”
Good luck with that.
Citing “reforms” already in place makes the Task Force look like the ultimate bait-and-switch. It makes black voters look like chumps given recent polling showing a massive shift in the Black community on the question: 77 percent of Black Americans now support reparations.
The political atmosphere of the United States has been poisoned by the campaign fanning racial animosity and a sense of black grievance launched when George Floyd died of a drug overdose while in Minneapolis police custody. So it is unsurprising that support for reparations among blacks has soared. And also unsurprising that many of the loudest voices want even more many than is being contemplated by the Newsom-launched task force. The UK Daily Mail reports that when the task force presented its report last Saturday in Oakland, many of the 100 people who attended spoke up in favor of even greater sums being bestowed upon descendants of slaves.
Reverend Tony Pierce aired his frustration and pointed to the country's 'broken promise' to offer 40 acres and a mule to newly freed slaves.
He said: 'You know that the numbers should be equivocal [sic] to what an acre was back then. We were given 40, OK? We were given 40 acres.
'You know what that number is. You keep trying to talk about now, yet you research back to slavery and you say nothing about slavery, nothing.
'So, the equivocal [sic] number from the 1860s for 40 acres to today is $200 million for each and every African-American.' (snip)
one woman said: '$1.2million is nowhere near enough. It should be starting at least $5million like San Francisco.
'We want direct cash payments just like how the stimulus [checks] were sent out. It's our inheritance, and we can handle it.'
And another resident added: 'This million dollars we're hearing on the news is just inadequate and a further injustice if that's what this task force is going to recommend for Black Americans for 400-plus years and continuing of slavery and injustice that we have been forced to endure.
'To even throw a million dollars at us is just an injustice.'
And Elaine Brown, former Black Panther Party chairwoman, urged people to express their frustrations through demonstrations.
As enjoyable as it is to see Gavin Newsom squirming, unfortunately, the opinions expressed in Oakland are going to grow and feed an even deeper sense of frustration and anger on the part of many blacks. And that anger will fuel actions that will be very harmful, even if “mostly peaceful.”
A very large dose of toxic politics has been administered, and the consequences will be equally toxic. Even if no money is gifted to African Americans who were never slaves. The cost of this will be very high.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 3.0 license