May 29, 2015

PUT IT IN AN ACCOUNT THAT CAN BE USED FOR EDUCATION, A HOME PURCHASE OR RETIREMENT:

The Case For Reparations: 40 Acres and a Mule Would Cost America at Least $6.4 Trillion Today (David A. Love, 5/23/15, Atlanta Black Star)

If you were to guess how much the United States owes Black people in economic damages for slavery, how much would it be?
In the part of the "I Have A Dream" speech that no one seems to remember, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared: "It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.'"

While some people would conclude that no dollar amount can make up for the centuries that Black people were kidnapped, enslaved and forced to work without pay, the fact remains that our misfortune made America wealthy. Slavery built the system of U.S. capitalism. Moreover, some people have estimated what the nation actually owes Black people.

YES! magazine published a fascinating infographic that illuminates the subject of reparations. It begins with a calculation that King made if America would stand by its promise of 40 acres and a mule, which is $20 a week since the late 1700s for 4 million slaves. The total was $800 billion, which in today's dollars is $6.4 trillion.

Just to put it in perspective, this year's federal budget is projected at $3.9 trillion. U.S. gross domestic product in 2014 was $17.4 trillion. So, this sounds like a significant deal of money, except for the fact that this is a conservative estimate. Other calculations are far higher.

For example, as the infographic shows, the National Legal and Policy Center placed reparations at $15 trillion, which would involve paying $500,000 to every slave descendant.

The best thing about paying what we owe is that it would force the same sort of accounts for all Americans.

Posted by at May 29, 2015 8:51 AM
  

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