California’s reparations task force has spoken with its final recommendation: African Americans who have lived in the state are victims of discrimination by banks, over-policing, and mass incarceration and should receive reparations payments of up to $1.2 million or more each from California taxpayers — and an apology.
This differs from the panel’s last update in which it focused only on payments for African Americans descended from slaves; now, the proposal can apply to any African American that has lived in California.
“If this all sounds crazy and offensive, it is because it is crazy and offensive,” says Carl DeMaio, Chairman of Reform California, who is leading the fight against the reparations proposals.
DeMaio says the whole idea of giving reparations to anyone living today is in itself a “racist” notion — i.e. that you would force some groups with a certain skin color to make payments to other groups with a certain skin color.
DeMaio’s organization released a fiscal assessment of the reparations proposals that predicts that a full program covering all African Americans in California would cost over $3 trillion — or $83,422 for every man, woman, and child in California who is not African American. Far more than the $800 billion estimate being reported by some in the media.
How did this crazy idea even begin in California — which has never had slavery, entered the union in the 1850s as a “free” state, and is one of the most diverse and “tolerant” states in the country?
In 2020 at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill giving “special consideration” to black descendants of American slaves and authorized an investigation into the process of providing reparations to these individuals. Immediately after its formation, the task force started making reparation proposals for individuals beyond just direct descendants of slaves — and it has now determined that all of California’s African Americans deserve reparations for various forms of discrimination.
“The extremists who are proposing these reparations first wanted to force people today — who in no way were involved in slavery — to give their money to other people who claim they are related to victims who suffered under slavery 150 to 200 years ago,” DeMaio says. “That is a fundamentally unfair and unjust policy.”
“Worse than limiting their proposal to descendants of slaves, their final proposal seeks to simply force people with a certain skin color to give their money to other people with a different skin color — that is the fundamental definition of an offensive and downright racist policy,” DeMaio notes.
“This is nothing more than a shameful attempt by California Democrats to divide us once again along racial lines, fan the flames of hate and division, and pit groups against each other,” DeMaio says.
DeMaio warns that the action will not only lead to massive costs to taxpayers and be racially divisive, but reparations have already been deemed illegal by the U.S. Supreme Court on a number of occasions.
For example, in Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co., the Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot provide race-based “remedies that are ageless in their reach into the past.” In addition, in rulings such as Coral Construction Co. v. King County, federal courts have made it clear that the government cannot provide sweeping race-based remedies to compensate for “societal discrimination,” but rather must only compensate for a direct victim of a government action.
A perfect example of the correct way to do reparations can be found in 1988, when President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which officially apologized for the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II and authorized a payment of $20,000 to 80,000 living survivors. It is important to understand that the Reagan reparations bill only compensated individuals who were themselves put into camps by their own government — not their descendants.
The Reagan reparations bill also provides a comparison to demonstrate just how crazy the California reparations are.
Adjusted for inflation, those $20,000 payments from 1988 would be $52,735 in today’s dollars — for Japanese who actually were put into camps. Mind you, not a single descendant of a Japanese-American who was interred in a camp received a single penny. Why? Because the harm was not caused directly to them.
In contrast, California Democrat politicians want to force today’s residents (who never owned any slaves ever) to pay an extra $83,422 in tax burden to give reparations of up to $1.2 million or more to African Americans (who were never enslaved but are making dubious claims to have descended from slaves or faced generalized discrimination from the state.)
DeMaio says the Reagan reparations bill and court precedent might have informed the task force in their final proposal, which seeks to give reparations to African Americans alive today who have faced various forms of alleged discrimination from the state government.
“The criteria for proving this discrimination is dubious, and even on the obscure chance that this proposal is found to be legal, it will absolutely lead to tax increases,” says DeMaio.
But what can be done to help stop the proposal?
DeMaio says the most effective way is to get involved in flipping key seats in the State Legislature — which will help block bad legislation like this from getting approved.
DeMaio and Reform California are working to recruit and support reform-minded candidates for the 2024 elections that will fight to stop bad bills and the huge tax increases coming out of Sacramento. Join the campaign today to help flip these key seats.
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