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California reparations panel approves plan to pay at least $360k to every eligible person


Image source: California Department of Justice YouTube screenshot

Eligible residents in California would receive a minimum of $360,000 under a plan approved by the Golden State's task force on reparations Saturday, the New York Post reported.

"Wealth is sticky and is able to be transferred from generations. Reparations can close that stickiness," Gary Hoover, an economics professor at Tulane University who has studied reparations told the New York Times.

"This is about closing the income and racial wealth gap in this country, and this is a step," Hoover also said.

The plan approved by California's Reparations Task Force at its meeting Saturday includes both a formal apology from the state and hundreds of billions of dollars worth of cash payments to "enact remedies and compensation for descendants of African Americans who were enslaved in the U.S.," the Los Angeles Times reported.

The task force was created by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) in 2020. Its final recommendations will be submitted to California's legislature. The legislators, in turn, will decide whether and how the recommendations will be implemented. The recommendations then would ultimately become law if signed by the governor.

A preliminary total cost estimate from five economists consulted by the board is about $800 billion, not including compensation for "property that the group says was taken unjustly or for the devaluation of Black-owned businesses," Fox News Digital reported.

The $800 billion estimate exceeds the Golden State's total annual budget of $300 billion by about 266%.

"There’s no way in the world that many of these recommendations are going to get through because of the inflationary impact," Roy L. Brooks, a professor and reparations scholar at the University of San Diego School of Law said at the contentious meeting.

The categories of community harm the reparation payments are meant to address include health disparities, mass incarceration and over-policing, and housing discrimination.

Reparations would be limited to "descendants of enslaved or free Black people who were in the country by the end of the 19th century," NPR reported.

"Reparations are not only morally justifiable, but they have the potential to address longstanding racial disparities and inequalities," Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said at the meeting.

Lee and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) are cosponsors of a bill at the federal level calling for the establishment of a "United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation." The commission would "ensure reparations are central to this country’s transformation" and "confront and reject the big lie of white supremacy."

Watch the May 6, 2023 meeting of California's Reparations Task Force in Oakland below.

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