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Why Reparations are Wrong
C'mon man! Let's get real.
My home state of California has come up with the figure of $800 billion to compensate “Black” residents for “generations” of "over-policing, disproportionate incarceration and housing discrimination, economists have told a state panel considering reparations.”
Give me a break.
The preliminary estimate is 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. Nor does the figure count compensating people for property unjustly taken by the government or devaluing Black businesses, two other harms the task force says the state perpetuated.
Now, San Francisco is also considering a similar measure. Their “leaders” are supporting $5 million reparation payments for every eligible Black resident in the city of San Francisco. Eligibility might be tied to living in San Francisco during a certain time period and descending from someone incarcerated for drugs. Supervisor Shamann Walton states:
“Now, the real work continues,” “As I’ve said before, we have to stay focused and stay together as a community because now it is 100% more prevalent that we cannot be separated or divided. Let’s not lose focus because when we receive the final report, we have to actually resource the path forward.”
So, the supervisor of San Francisco, Shamann Walton, has decided that San Francisco will steal the money it has taken in taxes from one group of residents to give to other residents who are more deserving?
Reparations can do more harm than good.
One does not have to look far to determine that reparations will not produce the desired outcomes wanted.
The peer reviewed papers on the finances of lottery winners show an alarming trend. They have discovered that the majority of lottery winners end up going broke and a third file for a bankruptcy within a short time after the win.
The journal “Review of Economics and Statistics” published a paper titled, “The Ticket to Easy Street? The Financial Consequences of Winning the Lottery”, which clearly demonstrates that giving money to people as a way to create a better future for them, their families and future generations would be a waste of resources.
This paper examines whether giving large cash transfers to financially distressed people causes them to avoid bankruptcy. A comparison of Florida Lottery winners who randomly received $50,000 to $150,000 to small winners indicates that such transfers only postpone bankruptcy rather than prevent it, a result inconsistent with the negative shock model of bankruptcy. Furthermore, the large winners who subsequently filed for bankruptcy had similar net assets and unsecured debt as small winners. Thus, our findings suggest that skepticism regarding the long-term impact of cash transfers may be warranted.
The idea that giving financially distressed people large amounts of money in order to change their longterm financial situation is not viable. Emotional spending patterns tied with cultural norms of spending are not easy to break - throwing large sums in the hopes of wealth redistribution is not going to fix anything in the long run.
The idea of reparation will bankrupt San Francisco and the state- but maybe some political systems have to hit bottom before they can get better. To top off this illogical concept, remember that California has never been a slave state, California was part of Mexico up until 1848, most Californians come from immigrants within the last few generations and the majority of Californian’s have no family history of been slave owners.
Furthermore, slavery ended between five and six generations ago. That would mean that each person in the USA who had a relative around during the slave era has between 128 and 256 direct ancestors. Who decides who gets money? Will it be a race at DNA.com to find those ancestors - to demand payback? Where does that rabbit hole lead?
Reparation discussions will just cause more division and hate, not less. Scratching a scar does not bring healing.
One of the main ideas behind reparations is redistributive wealth. That the income difference between black and white American is so vast, that this is a method to “even” the playing board. However, giving large sums of money from the government, which has collected this cash from one set of individuals to other individuals is essentially a tool of socialism. We have seen this playbook across the world and it never ends well.
California is not the only blue state considering redistributive wealth programs. This poorly thought out, poorly researched idea seems to be spreading virally. New York, Michigan, and Illinois are some of the states where this type of reparation legislation is being considered.
There is no question that California should be analyzing how to change societal dynamics to improve the lives of present and future generations. That might include welfare reform, a tax code overhaul, education reform at all levels, prison reform - to include more trade schools, productive work for society while in prison and job opportunities, community health and wellness programs, etc. Prioritizing healthy marriage in government programs would be a start. We need to stop so many socio-economically distressed men and women from ending up in prison. We need real jobs for people. This all is going to take decades. Throwing money at people, to spend without any education on how to invest and save is only going to make things worse, not better.
But perhaps this is all really about victimization and social guilt, favorite cultural themes of the currently dominant Silicon Valley/California (“woke”) culture. Having left California decades ago, from afar it looks a lot like the psychological effects of imposter syndrome coupled with the consequences of decades of social(ist) engineering. The tech boom has created a huge financial windfall for a huge number of people. But did they actually earn it? Do they really deserve it?
Another source of guilt is the Administrative State monster known as the US Department of Education, with their feckless, failed, George W. Bush era The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which is clearly a fiasco (like many of the policies and initiatives from that administration). I guess we just have to conclude that presidents (and elections) actually do matter. This act was supposed to foster education reform based on the premise that establishing measurable goals could improve individual outcomes in education, and hold schools accountable. Instead, it has penalized those children and schools who perform above average. The goal of bringing all scores up to a certain standard has instead turned into bringing all good scores down - to create the illusion of equality. Kurt Vonnegut’s "Harrison Bergeron" become prophecy.
THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else.
Divorce rates, single parenthood, the dissolution of the family unit, abandonment of religious communities, the easy access to drugs, industrialized education models - that do not teach basic skills, the hopelessness of being poor in an urban environment, lack of good food, lack of preparing students for living in the world, lack of good vocational and trade school for high school level students - including those students already in the penal system, allowing children to spend time on phones and computers in school, the list go on and on. America was built on the idea that if you work hard, you can get ahead. Young people do not understand this concept, because that concept is not available to them in the current industrial age-stratified assembly-line propaganda and indoctrination systems which masquerade as public education but more closely resemble penal colonies, and frankly, these young Americans see limited potential for success in their lives.
But that does not mean that we stop law enforcement. We must make our cities livable again. That means enforcement of the law. We do not teach respect and being a good citizen by allowing people to break laws. In the California of today, theft or damage causing $1,000 or less in losses will not even be investigated by the cops. Not worth their time, because the courts will not impose penalties. California governor Gavin Newsom should just hang out a sign stating “come to the golden state, where you are free to smash and grab the gold”. The liberal solution of allowing crime because people are poor is not acceptable. It only teaches more people to be criminals. It is not a mechanism to redress ingrained or historic social and economic imbalances. How many times do we need to learn this lesson?
What the US federal government and the California state government have done in the past has not worked.
Throwing money at people and bankrupting states and potentially the federal government is not going to fix this problem. Taking money away from one group of people to give to another is socialism. Or just buying votes. Same difference. Been there, done that. Reparations won’t work.
C’mon man. Let’s get real.
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