Government Watch / Politics

Racial Reparations Solve Nothing


This week, the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee released a report calling on the city to pay every black resident $5 million and absolve all of their outstanding personal debt. Their rationale was broad — as it had to be, since California was founded as a free state: “While neither San Francisco, nor California, formally adopted the institution of chattel slavery, the tenets of segregation, white supremacy and systematic repression and exclusion of Black people were codified through legal and extralegal actions, social codes, and judicial enforcement.”

This rationale serves as the same sort of catchall term as “equity,” widely beloved by the political Left. It conflates specific harms from deliberate policies — which deserve redress — with vague societal ills that indirectly and unverifiably impact the specific life paths of individuals. Thus, every inequality between blacks and whites, for example, becomes an instance of societal failure, to be cured with social engineering.

This is bad ethics, and it is bad social science. It’s bad ethics because the innocent should not be forced to pay people against whom they have not sinned, and because the connection between continued suffering and past discrimination must be measured and clarified rather than merely assumed. It’s bad social science because it ignores the role of individual decision-making in persistent intergenerational inequality, despite the massive intervention of state, local and federal government.

Simply put, the preferred solution of San Francisco’s reparations committee — simply cutting checks — has been a dramatic failure in the United States. In 1965, speaking at Howard University, President Lyndon Baines Johnson explained that he wanted to pursue a program of widespread redistributionism in order to right the racial wrongs of the past: “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, ‘you are free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.”

To that end, the federal government has spent in excess of $25 trillion on redistribution programs in the United States. The result has been exceedingly poor: While the income gap ratio between the poorest quintile of Americans and the wealthiest quintile of Americans post-transfer payments and taxes is just 4-to-1, the wealth gap between black and white Americans has skyrocketed from approximately $50,000 pre-1960 to well over $130,000 in 2016. Why? Because it turns out that public policy designed to alleviate inequality can also alleviate the consequences of bad decision-making. If we assume that all inequality is inequity, then solving inequality should alleviate inequity — but if it turns out that a great deal of inequality is the result of bad decision-making, then inequality cannot be solved by simply helicoptering money to those at the bottom end of the economic ladder.

And yet the Left continues to do precisely that. Then they wonder why intergenerational wealth creation has not narrowed the racial gap. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that 70% of black children are born to unwed mothers; nearly 8 out of 100 black males drop out of school; black college students tend to major in subjects that result in worse job prospects (just 12% of black students get a bachelor’s degree in STEM, compared with 33% of Asian students and 18% of white students, for example); one-third of the American prison population is black.

It is possible to blame all of this on systemic evil, but any fixes will have to come at the level of individuals making good and responsible decisions. Cutting checks won’t fix this. But such a policy recommendation makes for excellent demagoguery: It allows those who promote foolish and failed ideas to revel in their own supposed altruism, all while helping no one.

Ben Shapiro, 38, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and co-founder of Daily Wire+. He is a three-time New York Times bestselling author; his latest book is “The Authoritarian Moment: How The Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent.”


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1 month ago

With assimilation into any society people have been treated differently and often as outsiders until blending in and finding acceptance and understanding.
Happened throughout history with every race,heritage and religion.
It seems that rather than allowing everyone to be treated equally,offering the exact opportunities no matter our differences, is the way to acceptance.
All the marxist democrats efforts to shove equity down peoples throats only continues to make the division worse for all.
I say this division and hatred is what the marxist democrat party wants , another lie to distract, deceive and destroy??
Follow this lead….all people were created equal with God given rights!
So simple, yet so correct!

1 month ago


12 days ago
Reply to  jocko

You sound like an idiot.

1 month ago

I WANNA BE RE-IMBURSED FOR ALL OF THE JOBS I APPLIED FOR AND WAS PASSED OVER DUE TO, ”affirmative action” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Morris Paxton
2 months ago

No way! This is absolutely ridiculous .
Do these lost souls remember our revolutionary war to fight to free all the slaves in great nation !

12 days ago
Reply to  Morris Paxton

Freed! We should have Never Been Owned in the first DAMMED PLACE

Michael Lewis
2 months ago

I lived poor, but within my means for a lifetime. The 2008 bank bailout robbed me and all taxpayers. The artificially high prices the bubble created cost me the purchase of a traditional home. I had to settle for a mobile home. Where are my reparations? Where does this nonsense end?

1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Lewis

Mike , the marxist, anti American democrats, don’t want it to end.
They’ve been telling and selling the same lie for tge 70 years I’ve been around!

2 months ago

What about reparations from all blacks paid to white people? If blacks had not been sold by their own people into the slave trade they would still be domiciled in Africa. Since they live in a free and prosperous country should they not be willing to pay for the privilege?
Know that won’t fly.

2 months ago

First of all, if the federal government is the one in charge of reparations, well, our federal government fails at everything so they should not be in charge AND there should be NO reparations, period!!! Secondly, those who have generational anger at another person or another race of people or a past situation, being paid reparations will never solve their anger. They will only come back to want more somewhere down the road!! Some of these reparations are personal but some of what these people are angry at is not a person but at their personal situation so, of course, someone should take care of that for them – NO!! God created us all equal!! If effort is put in, there will be a good outcome. Decisions have consequences!!

1 month ago
Reply to  Jackie

No reparations, how about freedom and equal opportunity in this Great America. It seems that that alone is driving millions of illegals from other countries here, but the ones already here seek a handout instead???
Makes NO sense, just another lie aimed at controlling people who are being played.

2 months ago

According to a TIME article, 70 percent of people who have won large amounts of money lose it all within several years. Some have said it was the worst thing that ever happened in their life. Others are bankrupt, commit suicide, go through divorces and family fights. Giving people money is not the answer to the problem, it is the beginning of another problem.

2 months ago

What about reparations for the families of the dead and wounded soldiers of the North. All gave some. . . Some gave all. I say this as I have no direct family members dating back the Civil war so I have no alternative motive.

Leslie Crum
2 months ago

I learned an interesting fact a few years ago. Henry Louis Gates Jr (black historianwho wrote an article dated 1/06/14 “How Many Slaves Landed in the US?” and posted on his website The Root.) Same guy that does the great show Finding your Roots. He looked at all of the shipping records between 1525 to 1866, 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. How many went to what is now the US? 388,000 (maybe 450,000 IF some from Caribbean came north). Yep, way less than half a million. Majority went to South America and Caribbean. Interesting thing is that the 42 million Americans in 2014 when article was written are all descended from that one small group. He also mentioned that Black plantation owners had slaves too, and a bunch of other interesting stuff. Look it up!!!

Jane CA
2 months ago

Oh Lord!

2 months ago

It’s just more pandering to shore up votes for a failing party agenda. Of course there will be plenty of fraud in claims for reparations, not unlike Elizabeth Warren’s claims if Native American heritage. Thanks to sexual abuse of slaves by their “masters” generations ago, there literally millions of people who outwardly appear to be very white, but actually have some percentage of black DNA. It’s all just another excuse for Socialist wealth redistribution and they will call you a racist if you disagree. I say making any policy based on race only, is in and of itself, racist! Reward should always be based on merit, plain and simple. Anyone that thinks Socialism works need only look at the unrest in countries under Socialism. Do they look happy and prosperous? As the WEF begins it’s annual meeting to further the cause of ever expanding the Socialist/globalist agenda throughout the world, I stand with Elon Musk in denouncing the the elitist’s lust for power at the expense of our own sacrifice!

Dennis Math
2 months ago

If “reparations” for blacks in some repayment for slavery that ended some 150 years ago………then shouldn’t white people have the right to receive refunds for property taken without recompense?

James Popielarz
2 months ago

The California Governor has aspirations of becoming president, so he can do to the country what he is doing to his state, and is using the blacks again with more empty promises, using them like his party has done since days of yore.

2 months ago

They selected a lot of other people for elected positions, so they will select that weasel for president if that is who they choose

2 months ago

A few years ago, I read that if California was a country it would be in the top ten economics in world. Today, what would happen if a state went bankrupt such as California ? This state does have some problems & keeps piling on more with radical ideas.

2 months ago

The idea of reparations should stop. This was a dark time in USA history (including slaves & native Americans) but times were totally different then. We should learn from History & do not repeat it. Why try to divide this nation again, except to give a horrendous amount of money to descendents.

2 months ago

If you really want to do this, then you have to be totally honest and fair. You must start with native people who had their land and homes stolen from them, then marched hundreds of miles in the snow to a reservation, then take all the massacres like wounded knee into account. Then consider all the poor Irish immigrants who were taken off of ships and Forced to fight in the Civil War.

2 months ago
Reply to  Tracy

Prior to 1655 there were no legal slaves in the colonies, only indentured servants. All masters
were required to free their servants after their time was up. Seven years was the limit that an
indentured servant could be held. Upon their release they were granted 50 acres of land. This
included any Negro purchased from slave traders. Negroes were also granted 50 acres upon their

The very FIRST slave owner in our America, formerly colonial America, was a BLACK man
named Anthony Johnson. His slave’s name was John Casor. The courts did not allow whites to
hold slaves back then, only indentured servants.

Anthony Johnson was a Negro from modern-day Angola. He was brought to the US to work on a
tobacco farm in 1619. In 1622 he was almost killed when Powhatan Indians attacked the farm.
52 out of 57 people on the farm perished in the attack. He married a female black servant while
working on the farm.

When Anthony was released he was legally recognized as a “free Negro” and ran a successful
farm. In 1651 he held 250 acres and five black indentured servants. In 1654, it was time for
Anthony to release John Casor, a black indentured servant. Instead Anthony told Casor he was
extending his time. Casor left and became employed by the free white man Robert Parker.

Anthony Johnson sued Robert Parker in the Northampton Court in 1654. In 1655, the court ruled
that Anthony Johnson could hold John Casor indefinitely. The court gave judicial sanction for
blacks to own slaves of their own race. Thus Casor became the first permanent slave and
Johnson the first slave owner.

Whites still could not legally hold a black servant as an indefinite slave until 1670. In that year,
the colonial assembly passed legislation permitting free whites, blacks, and Indians the right to
own blacks as slaves.

By 1699, the number of free blacks prompted fears of a “Negro insurrection.” Virginia Colonial
ordered the repatriation of freed blacks back to Africa. Many blacks sold themselves to white
masters so they would not have to go to Africa. This was the first effort to gently repatriate free
blacks back to Africa. The modern nations of Sierra Leone and Liberia both originated as
colonies of repatriated former black slaves.

However, black slave owners continued to thrive in the United States. By 1830 there were 3,775
black families living in the South who owned black slaves. By 1860 there were about 3,000
slaves owned by black households in the city of New Orleans alone.

This nonsense about repatriation is ridiculous. I can assure you that you never knew a slave here in
America, your mother never knew a slave here in America, and neither did your grandmother.
What’s worse, you know absolutely NOTHING about slavery in America except the nonsense
you hear ignorantly repeated over and over and over again. But look at it another way. Had they not been brought here, right, wrong or indifferent, today they’d be speaking Swahili, Zulu, Yoruba or one of the other 1,500 African languages. All blacks should fall on their knees and thank their ancestors in prayer !! They ARE HERE !!

2 months ago

Philip Hammersley
2 months ago

Democrats supported slavery; democrats ran Jim Crow; democrats founded the KKK; democrats run nearly every failing city and school system. So how about DEMOCRATS use THEIR money to make reparations. Republicans already paid with their blood from 1861 to 1865!

2 months ago

Point well taken.

2 months ago

It will, in effect, increase the divide in racial relations for those who struggle with it.

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