A couple of things cropping up have caused me some upset. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed on for a commission to explore granting reparations for black slavery. Also, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi warned the U.S. executive branch against adopting U.K. trial results to approve a COVID-19 vaccine to release it here. I find both troubling. In this post and the next post, I’ll tackle these.
The idea of reparations for black people is a bad idea, much like Marxism that refuses to go away. The notion is we can hold people monetarily liable to others they haven’t personally wronged. This goes against our entire legal history. Yet, here we are again.
Most of those supporting reparations ground their claim in civil war General William Tecumseh Sherman’s order granting 40 acres and a mule to some freed slaves. The land was confiscated tidal land in Georgia and South Carolina. Sherman’s ruling was later reversed by President Johnson. While some blacks have claimed this was a pledge to every ex-slave, Generals don’t make laws for the nation.
Even though this was never a general government commitment, I have written this could be used as a jumping-off point. Just not in the way those claiming reparations envisioned. This is a good time for an update. The monetary value of the acres and mule has gone up due to inflation. The best estimate I can find is the average cost of an acre of farmland in the U.S. is approximately $4,721 and a good mule up to $5,000. This comes to about $200,000. The proponents of reparations say blacks are owed this to compensate for “institutional racism.” It may be compensation, but if there really is institutional racism holding black people back, reparations money won’t change it.
I’ve always used some observations to make an analysis. First, ask, compared to what? The other is to watch what people are doing rather than what they’re saying. To the assertion systemic racism in the USA makes it inhospitable to black success. I ask, compared to what? If people are trying to get into a country, the chances are the opportunities better inside. If they’re climbing over or tunneling under walls to get out, chances are prospects behind them aren’t so good.
This gives rise to a simple proposition. For those blacks convinced of a stunted future here, we give them a $200,000 check. The only stipulation is they leave the U.S. and never come back. After all, in their mind, this is a horrible place for blacks. This might sound like a racist plan to eliminate blacks, but we don’t change the racial balance. We do this by admitting a black person for each black that leaves. It may come as a surprise to many that one in ten blacks in the U.S. is an immigrant or offspring. Further, there is a very substantial backlog of blacks waiting for the chance to come. The fastest-growing group of black immigrants is from Africa.
For them, the question of compared to what is resolved in favor of “Coming to America.” If things are so bad here, why is the traffic in only one direction? In the long run, this exchange would pay for itself. While non-immigrant blacks are below average in income, black immigrants are above average. This means more tax revenue while they consume less public resources. They’re also more entrepreneurial, so they would create jobs for others.
Looks like a win-win proposition. Those unhappy here get to leave what is perceived as an irredeemably racist country with money to start over elsewhere. Blacks who see the opportunity for a better life here realize their dream. While those choosing to leave can never return, their children would still be citizens and welcome. The burden of the parent’s choices shouldn’t be placed on their children.
In truth, I don’t expect to find many people clamoring for the reparation money and a plane ticket out. However, it does put things in perspective. We’re not perfect, but we are always striving to improve. With goodwill and an upbeat attitude, we can close the gaps. I’ve pushed for better education through choice; we need improved mobility with individual healthcare and retirement plans. We can pay safety-net directly to the recipients. These aren’t just to improve the prospects of Blacks, but for all our underclass. It’s good to remember for a big part of the world, we are still “the Shining City on the Hill.” After all, they’ve made the comparison.