As most have probably noticed, the state of race relations in the United States could certainly be better. And with animosity between black and white will inevitably come demands for slavery reparations. The last time organized demands came was a few years ago, and it will likely come again soon enough.
I will certainly not deny that blacks were treated poorly in the United States for many years-after all, I’m using Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Slavery as my main source for this article.
However, said book also reveals why the case for reparations may be a bit overstated.
To clarify, the net value of all the slaves that had ever been brought to the United States, and their labor, from 1655 to 1865, has been calculated to be roughly 1 trillion dollars (calculated by analyzing average cost of slaves over the years, estimated net worth of slave owners, annual output of slave plantations, and etc.). That is a lot of money indeed…
…however, the single biggest category of expenditure the United States Government invests in is social entitlements. As has been documented repeatedly, black people are net tax consumers, rather than net tax contributors—in plain English, it means that the black community, on the whole, takes more money from the state than they pay into it. While it is not true, for example, that the majority of people on welfare are black, they do form a narrow plurality of those on the dole, to say nothing of the myriad other ways they receive government entitlements, or the ways that their disproportionate criminality affects the budget and functionality of American society on the whole (the massive and still-growing prison population comes to mind).
So, as some writers have claimed (see the Forbes link above), reparations equaling and exceeding the total costs of slavery have already been paid through various government agencies,
But appearances matter, and thus I feel that a more formal declaration of reparations would have to be in order. And as such, here is my plan:
(We will ignore of course the fact that free blacks and Native Americans owned slaves or the fact that America took only 5% of the slaves in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Allow Latin America, the UK, and France to deal with this issue in their own way).
There are roughly 40 million black people in the United States. Adjusted for inflation (by taking the amount of money generated by slavery above, divided by the black population), we get $25,000 as a rough estimate of the value of a slave in today’s currency.
In my plan, every single black person (man, woman, and child) would receive $25,000 dollars cash, capable of being spent in any way they’d care to spend it. Taking said cash would require signing an affidavit that would, in essence, claim the following:
1) Your claims to any further reparations are revoked.
2) Your claims to any other social entitlements are revoked, unless…
3) Should you complain about governmental oppression/demand more entitlements after your reparations claim has been paid, you can obtain additional funds for a one-way ticket to Liberia. Should you take that money, your claims to any additional American funds are thereby revoked for perpetuity (you will retain your reparations payment).
4) Should the receiver of reparations shut up and enjoy his money legally, he will be left alone, as stated above.
As a taxpayer, I’d certainly be willing to pay into this program, and I feel a lot of others would as well, if only to end the endless “conversations” about race that always seem more like schoolmarm-ish lectures. And maybe we’d all get along after this.
…Of course, that would imply that people actually WANT to bridge the racial divide. It seems to me that certain interests would rather keep stoking animosity between the races, as they make an enormous profit from lectures and other public appearances.