California’s Plan for Reparations Could Cost $800 Billion for Black Residents
California's plan to offer reparations to Black residents who qualify for them could reach a staggering $800 billion, according to a state panel. The figure was revealed by a consulting team of five economists and policy experts who were working with the state panel considering the payments. The proposed amount would be more than 2.5 times California’s $300 billion annual budget, and does not include a recommended $1 million per older Black resident for health disparities that have shortened their average life span. The California Reparations Task Force, which was created by state legislation signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2020, is considering a proposal to give just under $360,000 per person to approximately 1.8 million Black Californians who had an ancestor enslaved in the US, putting the total cost of the program at about $640 billion. Last year, the task force suggested a payment of $220,000 per individual for Black Californians. However, they have now considered increasing the amount to $360,000, which is more than a 60% increase, as one of several options to provide reparations.
The reparations task force is scheduled to discuss the numbers and can vote to adopt the suggestions or come up with its own figures. The demands were made at an in-person meeting of the California Reparations Task Force, which was hearing comments from the public as it considers final recommendations to submit to the California Legislature, which will then decide whether to implement the measures and send them to Newsom's desk to be signed into law. Governor Newsom, a Democrat, has yet to take a position or comment publicly on the prospect of his state potentially enacting a slew of recent reparations proposals that are gaining steam in California.
At present, the municipality of San Francisco is evaluating its own reparations plans on a community level. In the beginning of this month, the draft plan of over 100 recommendations for reparations in San Francisco was given “unanimous” support by the Board of Supervisors. One of the recommendations is to provide $5 million to eligible Black residents. According to the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, the implementation of $5 million lump-sum payments proposal would result in non-Black families in the city bearing a cost of at least $600,000. The city board of San Francisco, which is home to around 50,000 Black residents, has shown interest in implementing reparations ideas. Some of these ideas include offering a guaranteed annual income of at least $97,000 for 250 years and providing families with homes in the area for just $1.
The idea of reparations has gained renewed attention in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police, and the subsequent protests across the United States. Black Californians are owed $800 billion for reparations due to generations of over-policing, disproportionate incarceration, and housing discrimination, say economists who are working with the state panel considering the payments. Black people in the judicial system “have never received equal protection under the law,” said Supervisor Keith Carson. Black people have also been kept out of “institutions of higher learning,” and they are the lowest-paid people in the job market, he added. The United States government has documented its participation in making drugs available to Black communities, Carson said.
It remains to be seen how California would pay for large-scale reparations. In January, Governor Newsom declared that the state is expected to have a budget shortfall of $22.5 billion for the upcoming fiscal year. Several weeks later, the California Legislative Analyst's Office, which examines the budget for the state legislature, released a report stating that Newsom's prediction was off by roughly $7 billion. Nonetheless, Lisa Holder, a task force member and president of the far-left Equal Justice Society, vowed in a recent opinion piece that the committee's “recommendations will be breathtaking.
0. “California reparations taskforce increases amount it is demanding to $800BN from $640BN” Daily Mail, 29 Mar. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11916145/California-reparations-taskforce-increases-demanding-800BN-640BN.html
1. “California's reparations plan could cost $800 billion, more than 2.5x the state's annual budget: report” New York Daily News, 29 Mar. 2023, https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ny-california-reparations-plan-800-billion-20230329-2om7w6f7gngtbadp4wuqu3vlfe-story.html
2. “Newsom falls silent after calls for him to take executive action on reparations” Yahoo Life, 27 Mar. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/newsom-falls-silent-calls-him-090007793.html
3. “‘$5 million is too little:' Activists tell California reparations committee to aim higher” Fox News, 29 Mar. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/politics/5-million-too-little-activists-tell-california-reparations-committee-aim-higher
4. “Commission to explore Black reparations in Alameda County” CBS San Francisco, 29 Mar. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/sanfrancisco/news/commission-to-explore-black-reparations-in-alameda-county