Why Repairs Are Needed To Close The Racial Wealth Gap

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In addition, in the 20th century, the federal government promoted homeownership in a very discriminatory way that has benefited white households and sidelined African Americans. For example, the Federal Housing Administration excluded black Americans programs that have made it easy for white applicants to access home purchase credit. And while the GI Bill helped veterans returning from WWII buy homes and grow their businesses, these the provisions were applied unevenly, often to the detriment of blacks. In short, the federal government favored white asset ownership and helped widen the racial wealth divide.

The federal government is not just to blame; it is the only government entity capable of meeting the reparations debt. All annual state and municipal budgets combined are less than $ 3.5 trillion. If they even tried to cope with a bill of more than $ 11 trillion collectively, they would have to devote all of their financial resources to repairs for four consecutive years, which would prevent them from providing services to their constituents.

The federal government’s response to the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and the current pandemic demonstrates that it can quickly mobilize resources and spend huge sums without raising taxes. Federal spending to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19 now exceeds $ 6 trillion. Resources for repairs can be gathered.

But progress so far has been meager. Congressional bill to establish an African-American reparations commission do not give assurance this repair would be forthcoming. Among his defaults, the invoice, HR 40 / S. 40, does not contain any directive that could guide a commission or ensure that it develops a reparations plan capable of eliminating the chasm of wealth.

From a practical standpoint, our book describes two criteria that could be used to establish eligibility to receive reparations. First, the government could impose a lineage standard: an individual should have at least one ancestor who was enslaved in the United States.

Second, there needs to be a standard of identity: recipients of reparations should show that, for at least 12 years before the promulgation of a reparations plan or the establishment of a commission of study for reparations, they had self-identified as Black, Black, African American, or African American. This test would prevent someone who lives as white from suddenly claiming eligibility for reparations when there is monetary gain to be derived from being the descendant of a enslaved person.

Congress should authorize the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to make the payments.

Repairs can be summed up as a recognition program, redress and closure for serious injustices. Acknowledgment is the admission of a guilty party that they have done a horrible wrong, accompanied by a promise to make restitution. Reparation is the act of restitution, involving direct compensatory payments to members of a victimized community. Closure is the mutual recognition by the guilty party and the victim community that reparation is sufficient and that the score is settled.


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