Monthly Archives: May 2023

Reparations vs. White Math

Reparations vs. White Math by Peter Burrows – 5/22/2023 

The most important thing to keep in mind about reparations is that it is never going to happen. No Congress is going to pass, and no president is going to sign, a bill that takes money from the great majority of American voters to pay a debt that they don’t feel they owe.  

Thomas Sowell 8/4/2001 

I doubt if Dr Sowell, who recently turned 93, would make the above statement today with as much confidence as he did in 2001. The reparations drama going on in California and elsewhere will not be limited to the state and local level, you can bet the rent money on that.  The race hustlers on the national stage smell blood in the water, a metaphor that I’m afraid will prove to be all too apt. 

In case you haven’t been following the issue, last March San Francisco’s 11 city councilors voted unanimously to consider reparations for the city’s black residents that would include:  

Payments of $5 million to every eligible Black adult, the elimination of personal debt and tax burdens, guaranteed annual incomes of at least $97,000 for 250 years and homes in San Francisco for just $1 a family.(1) 

Note the $97,000 for 250 years. This means the payments would be handed down through the generations, burdening as yet unborn White racists. (I don’t think they’re assuming that the “Black adult” is going to live for 250 years, but this is San Francisco, so you never know.)  

This would turn the tables and make Whites, Asians, everybody, the slaves of Blacks for 250 years. At long last, racial justice, Baby, RACIAL JUSTICE!! For the next 250 years, Blacks will sit in their rocking chairs on the porches of their $1 homes drinking mint juleps, while Whitey picks cotton, totes that barge and lifts that bale.  

The 11 city councilors in San Francisco, who also serve as County Supervisors, consist of 10 Whites and Asians and one Black. You can see the picture for yourself if you go on Wikipedia. The Black is Chairman, as you would expect. Merit, no doubt.  

When these proposals were submitted for consideration last January, an economist at the Hoover Institution estimated that this would create a liability of at least $600,000 for every non-Black family living in San Francisco.(2) Imagine, if you will, that somebody knocks on your door and gives you a brand-new mortgage, or tax bill, in the amount of $600,000.  

I think it’s reasonable to assume that every family presented with such a bill would either declare bankruptcy or move out of San Francisco, which would create a lot of empty $1 houses for Black people to move into.  The counselors, who had over a month to study this $600,000 estimate, apparently either don’t agree with my predicted response or think the money will come from some source other than San Francisco’s non-Black taxpayers.  

I’m tempted to declare that they might think the money will come from Milton Friedman’s mythical Tooth Fairy, but that would probably be considered homophobic these days, especially in San Francisco.   

At the state level, on May 7 in Oakland, California’s reparation task force voted to recommend reparations of “only” up to $1.2 million per Black resident. At an occasionally tumultuous public meeting before the vote was taken, a meeting you can watch below in a nine-hour YouTube(3), much higher numbers were demanded.   

One unidentified woman called in to declare that “$1.2 million is nowhere near enough. It should be starting at least $5 million like San Francisco.” She went on to say, “it’s our inheritance.” She was supported by another woman caller who said, “To even throw a million dollars at us is just an injustice.”  

There were two or three Black office holders who spoke, all of whom were enthusiastic supporters of reparations. One was Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-0akland, who called reparations “morally justifiable” and wants the federal government to pass reparations legislation. You can see her comments starting at minute 42. 

There were about 30 other in-person speakers, each given 2 minutes at the microphone, and, not surprisingly, they all supported reparations. At least three identified themselves as pastors, suggesting that some (all?) of California’s Black churches are giving moral authority to the concept of reparations.  

You can watch the most histrionic of the pastors, a Reverend Pierce, at the two hour and 44-minute mark.  His most dramatic moment came when he declared that the 40-acres-and-a-mule promise made by General Sherman, NOT the Union government, back in 1865 would now be worth “$200 million for each and every African American.”   

Full of self-righteous anger, the Reverend concluded his remarks with a dire warning: “Tell Governor Newsom we’re coming. He knows me.” His wasn’t the only threat. A former Black Panther Party chairwoman, Elaine Brown, urged people to express their frustrations through demonstrations. 

Lest you think this is just a California problem and couldn’t happen in a state such as, for example, Florida, you would be wrong.  At a recent Tampa Bay City Council meeting, a Black man stood up and demanded $3 million for Black citizens saying, “We care about our reparations, and we have to put White people on notice that we want our reparations —$3 million per person right here in this city.”(4)   

From coast to coast, militant Blacks are starting to make threats, and therein lies the problem. The reparations movement is a fool’s errand, guaranteed to disappoint and frustrate its proponents. When their reparations demands are not met, and they won’t be, it will be “burn baby, burn.”  Don’t be surprised if the Reverend Pierce is out there carrying a torch. 

All the ingredients are there: a sense of entitlement, e.g., “our inheritance,” “our reparations;” the assurance, spread from pulpits, that reparations are morally justified; demagoguery from Black political leaders; the conviction that White people are responsible for everything that’s wrong with Blacks in America due to “systemic racism;” and the precedent of the widespread, unpunished, riots of 2020. 

Ominously, in a teachers’ strike that is coincidentally underway in Oakland, the only thing the teachers’ union and the school district have agreed on is to create a “Reparations for Black Students Taskforce.”(5) Never mind that only about 20% of the Black students meet state standards for English, and only 11% for math, probably close to 100% can perform “smash and grab reparations” with A+ grades.  

I doubt if there will be any pushback from Democrat leaders, Black or White, to any violence that erupts when reparations demands are not met, and they won’t be. The Nazis had the brown shirts; the Democrats have the brown skins with their Antifa masters. Besides, as Rahm Emanuel, former Democratic mayor of Chicago once said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” 

This time, however, the waste may be to America’s cities.  

The problem with the whole reparations kabuki dance is a little something called “math.”  Now, it’s well known that Blacks aren’t very good at math, at least on the West Coast(6), so at the risk of being a horrid racist, I’d like us to look at a few numbers.  

I’ve already noted the $600,000 that will be required of every non-Black San Francisco family, a number ignored by the San Francisco supervisors, most of whom are White. (White LIBERALS are also very bad at math, or maybe they’re just “acting Black” to not offend Blacks.) Not only is $600,000 far more than the average non-Black family can afford, I’m quite confident it’s much larger than their net worth and much, much greater than the difference between the net worth of White vs. Black families. 

In 2019 at the national level the median net worth of White families was $188,200 vs. only $24,100 for Black families (and $36,100 for Hispanic families.)(7) The difference of $164,100 vs. White families is far less than the $600,000 tax would be.  In fact, after receiving reparations the average Black family in San Francisco will have a net worth of millions of dollars MORE than non-Black families. 

At the California state level, I haven’t seen what the estimated cost per non-Black family will be but the result will still be that Black families would end up far, far wealthier than non-Black families.  This would be absurdly true of the Reverend Pierce’s $200 million dollar claim. As an aside, when discounted at 5% back to 1865, $200 million today equals a value of around $50,000 for that 40 acres, and that’s per family, not individual. 1865? Sounds a little (!) high to me. Oh well, the Rev probably graduated from an Oakland High School. 

Reparations at the national level recently got a tout from Black Congresswoman Cori Bush, D-Missouri, who called for the federal government to pony up $14 trillion. She wrote in a Twitter post, “Every step of the way black Americans have been intentionally pushed back economically. A debt is owed. It’s time to pay that debt. It’s time for reparations.”(8) 

She probably got the 14 trillion number from Black professor William Darity, who teaches economics at Duke University. On a recent Dr Phil show, that’s the number Darity used, saying that if it was spread evenly across 40 million people whose ancestors were in the slavery system, that would equal about $350,000 per person.(9) 

When Dr Phil took issue with the whole idea, Darity accused him of UNFAIRLY preventing Black people from accessing what was RIGHTFULLY theirs, a belief that sure as Hell would justify a lot of violence, e.g., “no reparations, no peace!” and other nonsense.  

For example, there was a black woman at a Target store in Ohio “who allegedly told Target employees they should give her more than $1,000 worth of items for free because she deserved reparations.” (10) She became belligerent and violent and the police had to be called and this was no kid. She’s 37 years old and no criminal history was cited. She said, “This is my Rosa Parks moment.” 

(Rosa Parks was the Civil Rights hero who refused to give up her seat to a White woman on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, for which she was arrested. That was in 1955, and if Rosa was still alive, I have no doubt she would not appreciate being an exemplar cited by a fat, stupid, Black shoplifter.)  

Thanks, professor Darity. And this moron teaches economics at one of the country’s most prestigious universities. An affirmative action hire? Only a racist would think such a thing, but then there IS a problem with the math in the professor’s $350,000 claim.  

Recall that in 2019 the median net worth of white FAMILIES was $188,200.  To simplify the math for Blacks and White Liberals, let’s assume it’s now $200,000. This would mean a Black couple would get $700,000 under Professor Darity’s proposal, making their family three and-a-half times wealthier than the median White family. Now, if that Black couple had a couple of children, would they also each get $350,000?  

So, how is it fair for the government to make Blacks so rich at the expense of everybody else? Well, it isn’t fair, especially since Blacks in America are far wealthier than Blacks in the African countries their ancestors were abducted from.  An American Black with ancestors in Gambia, for example, has a median level of wealth almost fifty times that of his Gambian relatives.(11) Why, some White people might even think that reparations are should be paid to THEM!(12) 

Finally, although it probably wouldn’t do any good, Blacks pushing reparations should get a White person to help them with a little off-topic math. For example, some San Franciscans faced with a $600,000 bill may calculate that at about $30 for 50 rounds of .38 Special handgun ammunition, $600,000 will buy a million rounds. 

At the state level, maybe the reparations bill for a non-Black family will only buy 10,000 rounds, maybe only a 1,000. Regardless, at whatever level imposed, state, local, or federal, the math indicates it will be cheaper to bury Black people than to pay them reparations. Is a race war what the advocates of reparations want?  It sure looks like it, whether they know it or not. 

Finally, for those guilty whites who think reparations will bring racial peace and harmony, another quote from Dr Sowell: 

Welfare states on both sides of the Atlantic have discovered that largesse to losers does not reduce their hostility to society, but only increases it. Far from producing gratitude, generosity is seen as an admission of guilt, and the reparations as inadequate compensations for injustices – leading to worsening behavior by the recipients. (13) 













 And = From Index of Asset wealth per capita: US = 78.3 vs Gambia .2 – Zimbabwe .8 – Ghana .7 – Liberia .4 – Namibia 2.1 – Angola .2 – Kenya 1.1 

Assuming Black per capita wealth in the US is only 1/8 of the above US number of 78.3, that equals 9.79 which is 49X the per capita wealth in Gambia or Angola (9.79 divided by .2). The least favorable comparison with the above is 4.66X the per capita wealth in Namibia.