Report: Slave Reparations Could Cost U.S. a Ruinous $17 Trillion

A new report finds that if the Democrats have their way and give blacks “slave reparations,” it would totally destroy our economy with an expected $17 trillion price tag.

Yahoo recently posted a story about the costs of reparations with a report on a bill meant to study the issue.

According to Yahoo:

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Last week, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held the first hearing in a decade on H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. The bill was first introduced in 1989 by former Congressman John Conyers (D-MI). Conyers reintroduced the bill each year until his retirement in 2017 — and each year, the bill languished in Congress.

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The bill is a fact-finding bill, not one meant to pass actual reparations. It is aimed at finding out just how much such a deal would cost the country.

It turns out that such a payout could totally sink the country if taken to its most logical ends.

Yahoo added:

If reparations were to be paid to descendants of slaves, it would be costly. Many researchers have tried to place a dollar figure on the economic cost associated with hundreds of years of free labor, and accumulated wealth Southerners gained from enslaving blacks. Darity and Francis argue that any reparations paid should also be tax-free, given the nearly 100 years that black people paid taxes “while being disenfranchised in the U.S. South, a paradigmatic case of ‘taxation without representation.’”

In the essay collection “Wealth of Races,” several researchers tried to calculate the cost or “present value of benefits from past injustices.” Roger Ransom and Richard Sutch calculated that cost to be $3.4 billion between 1810 and 1860. In 2019, that would come to roughly $8.5 billion.

Economist Larry Neal tried to tabulate the price tag of unpaid wages to slaves from 1620 to 1840. In 1983 when he calculated the number, he estimated that slaves were owed $1.4 trillion in unpaid wages, or $3.6 trillion today. Economist James Marketti estimated that unpaid wages totaled somewhere between $3 trillion and $5 trillion dollars — again in 1983. Today, when accounting for inflation that number leaps to $7.7 trillion to $12.9 trillion.

This is all disastrous.

But the fact is, the USA does not owe blacks anything at all as far as reparations go. The USA paid for slavery with the blood of over 600,000 men and women from 1860 to 1865. That is a debt paid in full. The rest has just been working out the details.

Further, the racism that was “institutionalized” in America was never, ever institutionalized by the federal government itself. Any such institutionalization took many forms in varying degrees over various eras and were eliminated starting in the days of the founders and continuing in fits and starts all the way until the 1964 Civil Rights Act. So, to charge that reparations for racism should come from the federal government is specious.

Certainly, we don’t want our history to be sanitized to eliminate the racial problems we’ve collectively experienced merely in order to promote a harmonious future. I, for one, am of a mind that past slights of all sorts should always be included in our history books. But to focus solely on the negative without balancing that with what went right is an evil we must avoid.

The fact is, the USA started with equality in mind and implemented it the best we could in a time when equality was utterly unthinkable. Further, even though the equality imposed was flawed our system was created to eventually bring full equality to fruition and to do so entirely in keeping with our founding principles. So, to assume that the nation was “founded on racism” is an idiotic, ahistorical lie and those who proclaim these lies are un-American, destructive, and should be made a laughing stock.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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