Repairs are a financial dilemma. For Democrats, they are also political.

“I think once we get mainstream America to say – whether it’s reluctantly said, belatedly or otherwise – ‘Yes, we have to,’ then you can have a better discussion about how we’re paying “said Mr. Sharpton. “I don’t think we’ve gotten mainstream America to the question, ‘Should we? “”

Critics of reparations argue that America has already made up for historic injustice by passing landmark civil rights and voting rights laws in the 1960s and establishing a social safety net, including social welfare programs. and affirmative action in college admissions and employment to lift people out of poverty. . They say it is morally wrong to force Americans whose ancestors played no role in slavery or Jim Crow to atone for the past, and have raised the possibility of filing legal remedies. The Supreme Court is expected to ban race-conscious college admissions in a ruling this spring.

The legal argument of conservative critics of reparations is that race-based government payments violate the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. In California, the task force decided that eligibility should be tied not just to race but to direct lineage, determining that any descendant of enslaved African Americans or a “free black person living in the United States States before the end of the 19th century” should receive repairs. Some legal scholars have said that using direct lineage has a better chance of withstanding legal challenges.

Senator Tim Scott, who is the only black Republican in the Senate and who announced a presidential race on Monday, rejected the idea of ​​reparations and delivered a message in the first GOP nominating states that America is a corporation postracial.

“I am living proof that America is a land of opportunity, not a land of oppression,” Scott said as he announced his campaign in his hometown of North Charleston, SC.

The California Reparations Task Force’s proposals will be pushed to lawmakers in Sacramento, where they face great political and economic hurdles to become law, even in a Democratic-dominated state. On the one hand, the state – whose tax structure leaves it open to wide fluctuations in revenue from year to year – faces a projected budget deficit of more than $31 billion. No hearings on the bills would take place until next year.

Although the task force evaluated various methods of distributing reparations, such as tuition fees or housing subsidies, it opted for direct payments to offset economic inequalities. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the typical black family in America is worth $23,000, compared to $184,000 for white families.


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