June 22, 2005

Reparations: There still ain't no such thing as a free lunch

Three years ago, I wrote Slavery Reparations Aren't a "Free Lunch" for Project 21, where I point out that efforts by black intelligensia geared toward encouraging reparations be paid for slavery are simply not a matter of a "free lunch."

The only thing that's changed today are the names and the faces. The issue is still the same.

In March, Chicago Alderman Dorothy Tillman introduced a measure to the City Council that asked that today's black Americans be compensated by the federal government for the four hundred years that blacks historically were slaves in the New World.

Dorothy "The Hat" does not say, in her bill, how this would be accomplished, where this compensation would come from or exactly who would be paid.

Tillman has already been able to strong-arm a bill through the City Councl that demands that any firm that does business with the City be forced to disclose (and attone for) any connections to slavery in their past.

Bank of America was forced to attone for the connections of one of more than four hundred banks acquired by the Bank and it's subsidiaries over the years. In this case, Providence Bank, which was subsequently acquired by the ancestor firms making up FleetBoston, which in turn was snapped up by Bank of America in 2004.

The Chicago legislation has not been used to demand monies from those firms, but many believe that the demands are only a matter of time.

These issues are far more complex than many would have you believe. As for the "how" and the "where" of the beneficiary parties, you have to keep in mind that the federal government would have to raise taxes dramatically to cover the literally trillions of dollars that would have to be produced to satisfy most of the scenarios presented.

Which brings us back to the "who."

On the surface, many people who are married to the notion of reparations insist that all blacks should be paid. But if you look beyond the surface, you are looking at a number of intangibles. First off, there are blacks who cannot trace their ancestry to slavery in this nation for any number of reasons: their ancestors came to the United States after the abolition of slavery; they could be descended from free blacks who lived in the north or elsewhere; they could even be descended from blacks who themselves owned slaves -- and before you get up in arms, yes there were black slave owners in a number of states.

It would be difficult, at best, to determine exactly who would be entitled using that criteria.

What many don't realize is that some reparations proponents are pushing for monies to be paid to "foundations" and "organizations" devoted to the "advancement" of the black community in America. Like the NAACP or Operation PUSH.

Or in other words, to line the pockets of those self-same reparations proponents, everyone else be damned.

The proponents are looking at this as their own personal "free lunch" in the form of a glorified Ponzi scheme.

But one thing is still clear today, just as I said in my piece three years ago: TANSTAAFL -- "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch."

Posted by mhking at June 22, 2005 09:52 PM

Alex Haley of "Roots" fame died and estate had to
sell his most important documents to raise money for government. Does everyone pay taxes for compensation of native Americans, Blacks,fill
in the blanks. I have credit card from bank that
was taken over, to I pay extra and hope to
get in back. Colin Powell's parents came to this
country and with 35 years and four-stars do
we tax him to pay someone else. What about
whites who fought and died in Civil War for the
Union. Would Abraham Lincoln's descendents if
white have to pay to some group. Is it a dirty
little secret that a good percentage of blacks
today are rich? What are the suburbs in Atlanta
that are mostly black and houses start over
$300,000. Henry Louis Gates, Jr had tour of this
area and real estate lady offered her house for

Posted by: James M. Barber at June 22, 2005 10:51 PM

Well,there is another side to reprarations. Blacks
in turn show compensate those Union Soldiers family whose ancestors such as uncles,sons,grandfathers,
and fathers lost their lives freeing the slave.
How would i do this?

Add a 10% tax on wages and benefits on all blacks
to be dispersed to white organizations that promote white folk advancement.

The tax would be paid continually until 40 years
have been reached.

Hey, what's good for the geese is good for the

Posted by: jim at June 22, 2005 11:00 PM

Mike, my prayer tonight is that your common sense would be visited upon others. Thanks, for your insight that seems to elude so many.Keep it up. Your postings renew my hope.

Posted by: BobG at June 23, 2005 12:24 AM

Reparations for Jim Crow makes much more sense, as does reparations for Tusla riot victims and Rosewood victims.

My mother is still alive. Her social security "income" is based on her salary, which was retarded most of her working life because of Jim Crow, segregation and legal discrimination. In turn, money is coming out of my pocket because it is my honor to help my mother out.

Posted by: DarkStar at June 23, 2005 07:23 AM

Ed, I'd have to think a bit on any payments for Jim Crow - I don't know if it would make sense to me overall, but I do agree in terms of the Tulsa and Rosewood victims. Those people are still alive, and were deeply affected by all-but government sanctioned violent acts against them. In my opinion, they certainly would be eligible for renumeration of some form.

Posted by: Michael at June 23, 2005 08:15 AM

Ditto to what Darkstar said times 10. I think we will head down an ugly and rocky road socially if reparations are given for slavery.

Posted by: Eric at June 23, 2005 10:54 AM

"Reparations for Jim Crow " and racism is the core of my conservative case for reparations which I outline at


please stop by and tell me what you guys think.

Posted by: Scott at June 23, 2005 02:09 PM

Here's the url for my post on reparations:


Posted by: Samantha at June 23, 2005 09:08 PM

You raise an interesting point about people being able to prove they are the descendants of slaves.

Here's another point- what of the white people whose ancestors arrived post slavery? One side of my family came to America in the early 1900's- does that mean I only pay a half share?

Further, what about people whose ancestors were poor or lived in the North and held no slaves? What of those whose ancestors were indentured servants (i.e. slaves with an expiration date) as many from Ireland were?

What about people of mixed race- how does one derive their partial share, or is there a cutoff point where an invidual's "blackness" isn't sufficient? Do they pay themselves in the case of a 50/50 split?

Until questions like these get answered, the reparations movement seems like a dubious cause at best, a crass cash grab at worst.

Thomas Sowell has written some extremely insightful articles regarding this topic, most recently in his book "Black Rednecks and White Liberals".

Posted by: 2BrixShy at June 27, 2005 10:26 AM

what about black people who were never slaves" what about black people who arrived post civil war? Even post WW2?
would Liberians be eligible?

The amazing thing is those on the left really do talk about government money as if it is some magical pot in the sky. Tryign to get them to understand basic economics. Government does not earn money, it has to take other peoples money to pay anything.

We have bigger fish to fry.
there is no way to even implement it, even slightly fair or in a just manner.
they talk about slavery as if AQmerica got its wealthy from slavery. that cannot be backed up factually. There were negatives for white people too from slavery. it supressed the educational and economic status of whites. we BURNED down half the south during the war! the economic cost of the civil war, not including the human capital lost. The south stiil has not reached parity with the north. It was devastated. any wealth built up during slavery was eradicated in the north and south. This goes against the myth of slavery being profitable.

Posted by: sean mccray at June 28, 2005 09:25 PM
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