Leading 2020 Democrats Back Reparations But Offer Few Policy Details

Leading 2020 Democrats Back Reparations But Offer Few Policy Details

Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton escorts Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., center, past media and well wishers as they arrive for a lunch meeting at Sylvia’s Restaurant in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, Thursday Feb. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Leading 2020 Democratic candidates have embraced reparations and want to provide compensation for the ongoing legacy of slavery in a major shift from past presidential campaigns that’s seen as a win for those who tried for decades to make this a mainstream issue, New York Times reported.

Previous Democratic presidential candidates have not supported reparations, The Hill reported. Non-backers included former President Barack Obama, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her Democratic rival Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders is running again in 2020.

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Sen. Cory Booker wants to address racial inequality with a Baby Bonds Bill designed to narrow the persistent Black-white wealth gap in the U.S.
His proposal involves giving every newborn American child $1,000 at birth that would grow, based on the family’s income, and could be used at age 18 to launch young adults on the road to economic success.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she supports reparations for Black Americans impacted by slavery. She wants the federal government to provide home-buying assistance for residents of communities targeted by “redlining” — an illegal and discriminatory practice of denying mortgages, usually in poor and nonwhite neighborhoods. She also announced a sweeping universal child-care proposal that could benefit Black and brown communities with limited early childhood services.

Sen. Kamala Harris said she agrees that government reparations for Black Americans are necessary to address the legacies of slavery and discrimination.

“We have to be honest that people in this country do not start from the same place or have access to the same opportunities,” she told the New York Times. “I’m serious about taking an approach that would change policies and structures and make real investments in black communities.”

Duke University Prof. William “Sandy” Darity Jr. is an expert in wealth inequality. He advocates for Baby Bonds as a universal proposal. It’s not really a bond. It’s a trust fund or endowment endowed to every newborn infant, Darity said during an interview with economist Glenn Loury on “The Glenn Show” on Bloggingheads.tv at Brown University.

“If we were to give an endowment to a newborn child of Oprah Winfrey or Bill Gates we would give the child $50. But for kids born in the lower end of the wealth distribution, we’d give them an endowment of $50,000-to-$60,000 and we’d guarantee them a 1 percent real rate of interest on the account. The kids could access it when they turn 18.”