The “federal government” must pay! What they really mean is the federal government must print money following the teaching of the MMT guru.
And about the 40 acre promise; a distortion of facts. See below.
Isn’t it amazing (and a bit scary)? College professors who distort history, use a fringe economic theory and conclude “government” can pay with no consequences on taxpayers or anyone else. Close the current wealth gap? Sure would, especially considering the median net worth of the average U.S. household is $97,300.
In the report, Darity and co-author Kirsten Mullen pointed to the U.S. government’s failure to deliver on a promise to give 40 acres to every former slave. (*) The two said that this failure is the cause of the current wealth gap between Black and White households. If this policy had been enacted after the Civil War, the authors “speculate that there would be no need to consider the case for black reparations today.”
As the “culpable” party, the report said that the federal government “must pay the debt” of $10 to $12 trillion dollars in 2016 dollars.
The couple arrives at this figure by calculating that a payment of $800,000 to each Black household would close the current wealth gap.
Furthermore, the authors stated that incremental reparations programs will not adequately resolve the problem of systemic racism. “Though piecemeal initiatives are admirable in their acknowledgment of the existence of a debt, these incremental efforts will not fundamentally change the conditions of structural, racial economic inequality,” Darity and Mullen said. “Our nation must be held accountable, and the federal government must meet the debt.”
To support their proposal, the authors pointed to the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and federal money that flowed into Newtown, Connecticut, following the Sandy Hook massacre. “Ultimately, respect for black Americans as people and as citizens — and acknowledgment, redress, and closure for the history and financial hardship they have endured — requires monetary compensation,” concludes the report.
“Moreover, an emphatic message that ‘the murderers cannot inherit’ will be delivered.” Campus Reform asked Darity how the government would be able to pay for the reparations without raising taxes on those who have never owned slaves. He said that there is “nowhere” in the report where raising taxes is considered an option. “Nowhere [in the report] do we say the reparations plan must be financed by raising anyone’s taxes,” Darity said. When Campus Reform asked for clarification on how the government would pay reparations without raising taxes, Darity pointed to the government’s response to coronavirus. “In the same way that the federal government just spent somewhere between $2 to 4 trillion without raising taxes in response to the coronavirus crisis,” Darity said.
He pointed Campus Reform to The Deficit Myth by Stony Brook University Professor Stephanie Kelton, a former Bernie Sanders economic policy advisor.
(*) Actually the order was rescinded in 1865 by Andrew Johnson, but even the order did not simply give 40 acres, in reality it created a massive reservation and permanent segregation.
Today, we commonly use the phrase “40 acres and a mule,” but few of us have read the Order itself. Three of its parts are relevant here. Section one bears repeating in full: “The islands from Charleston, south, the abandoned rice fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. Johns river, Florida, are reserved and set apart for the settlement of the negroes [sic] now made free by the acts of war and the proclamation of the President of the United States.”
Section two specifies that these new communities, moreover, would be governed entirely by black people themselves: ” … on the islands, and in the settlements hereafter to be established, no white person whatever, unless military officers and soldiers detailed for duty, will be permitted to reside; and the sole and exclusive management of affairs will be left to the freed people themselves … By the laws of war, and orders of the President of the United States, the negro [sic] is free and must be dealt with as such.”