This is becoming a major theme for many 2020 hopefuls.
In an effort to differentiate himself from the pack by moving as far to the left as he can on the political spectrum, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has now introduced a bill to the Senate that would study the payment of slavery reparations, reports Fox News.
On Monday, the senator said that the bill will study whether or not slavery reparations will help to alleviate past racial injustice in the United States.
“This bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country,” said Booker. “It will bring together the best minds to study the issue and propose solutions that will finally begin to right the economic scales of past harms and make sure we are a country where all dignity and humanity is affirmed.”
Booker added that slavery in this country fueled a subsequent system of white supremacy designed to keep black Americans from competing economically.
“Since slavery in this country, we have had overt policies fueled by white supremacy and racism that have oppressed African-Americans economically for generations,” Booker added. “Many of our bedrock domestic policies that have ushered millions of Americans into the middle class have systematically excluded blacks through practices like ‘G.I. Bill’ discrimination and redlining.”
As The Daily Wire argued back in 2016, slavery reparations are not only an impractical solution — but are also an economically impossible one.
“The reason reparations advocates struggle to make a case is because there is no possible way to do it,” Aaron Bandler wrote for The Daily Wire at the time. “There are numerous immigrants who have entered the U.S. who were not a part of enslaving blacks, and there were also blacks that owned slaves during that era. How would the government be able to have the resources to determine every single person who had slaveowner ancestors as well as ancestors who were slaves? What about those of mixed race? It’s impossible.”
Veteran economist Thomas Sowell has also argued that a majority of white people did not own slaves during slavery’s heyday. “Even during the era of slavery, most white people owned no slaves,” Sowell has written. “Are their descendants supposed to pay for the descendants of those who did?”
On top of that, Sowell also noted that even if slavery reparations were economically feasible, they would still fail to bring about the goal of helping black Americans. For instance, according to Sowell, reparations proponents claim that white supremacy created the black underclass while failing to address the fact that black Americans were largely rising economically prior to Lyndon Johnson’s anti-poverty programs kicked in during the 1960s:
But the poverty rate among blacks fell by half between 1940 and 1960, before any of the major federal civil rights legislation or the vast expansion of the welfare state under President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs.
Between 1940 and 1960, black males’ number of years of schooling doubled. How surprising is it that doubling your education raises your income? In short, most blacks raised themselves out of poverty, but their leaders robbed them of this achievement and the respect it deserved — in the eyes of blacks and whites alike — by making it seem like a concession from the government and a product of agitation.
Slavery reparations have also been endorsed by other 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. Most recently, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg said he is open to the idea. “The country as a whole is effectively segregated by race and the resources are different. There is a direct connection between exclusion in the past and exclusion in the present,” he said.