Reparations Aren’t Mentioned In Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Working Agenda For Black America’

Written by Dana Sanchez
Sen. Elizabeth Warren calls for a full-blown national conversation about reparations, but the R-word is missing from her “Working Agenda For Black America”. In this Nov. 4, 2019, photo, Warren, D-Mass., arrives to speak at Grinnell College, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts Warren has been calling for a full-blown national conversation about reparations since early in her campaign, but the R-word is missing from her agenda.

Acknowledging that there may be important things missing, Warren describes her “Working Agenda For Black America” as “a work in progress”. It will “continue to be updated based on input and insight from Black activists, community leaders, organizers, policy experts, and stakeholders,” she writes.

In her agenda, Warren mentions issues that disproportionately affect African Americans including maternal mortality, criminal justice reform, college and student debt, gun violence, and more.

She discusses her proposed ultra-millionaire tax, prejudice against Black farmers, and valuing the work of women of color.

She mentions that she wants to repeal the 1994 crime bill “that exacerbated our mass incarceration crisis, get rid of private prisons so corporations can’t profit from people’s pain, (and) fundamentally change how police work is done.”

Less than a week ago, Warren got loud applause at historically black Clark Atlanta University when she called for the passage of H.R. 40.

Warren has said she supports Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s legislation that seeks to establish a commission to study the impacts of slavery and recommend compensation to begin “atonement.”

“America was founded on principles of liberty and built on the backs of enslaved people. It is time for our government to face this truth, time for America to have a full-blown national conversation about reparations,” Warren said, naming Jackson Lee’s reparations plan.

Many Democratic candidates for president said they support reparations, but few have gone into much detail about how they would implement them. Marianne Williamson is one of the only ones who proposed direct cash payouts to descendants of slaves to the tune of $500 billion, CNN reported.

Polling often shows that reparations for Black Americans are unpopular in the U.S. and would cost trillions of dollars.

Almost 75 percent of African Americans support reparations for slavery, but just 15 percent of white Americans do, according to a poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Absent reparations, here are some of the things Elizabeth Warren says in her “Working Agenda For Black America”:

  • Criminal justice reform: If implemented, she says her plan “will end cash bail that keeps people in jail for being poor, repeal the 1994 crime bill that exacerbated our mass incarceration crisis, get rid of private prisons so corporations can’t profit from people’s pain, fundamentally change how police work is done in America, and provide solutions by prioritizing prevention over punishment. And she’ll redefine what it means to invest in public safety by prioritizing solutions that lift people up, rather than locking them up.” Read more here.
  • Election reform: Warren says she’ll “stop racist voter suppression, and eliminate the electoral college. The right to vote is a fundamental right, and (her) plan ensures that racist and corrupt politicians don’t undermine it or our democracy. And where racist or corrupt politicians refuse to follow the law, the federal government will temporarily take over the administration of their federal elections to guarantee the fundamental right to vote. This plan would make voting, and therefore our democracy, a place where more Americans have a voice.” Read more here.

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  • Black entrepreneurs: Warren says she plans “to create a new Small Business Equity Fund with $7 billion in funding to provide grants to entrepreneurs of color. It will operate through states and municipalities and be targeted at closing the startup capital gap for entrepreneurs of color by limiting it to those who have less than $100,000 in household wealth. It’ll also direct all state-level efforts to distribute this new funding to partner with diverse investment managers. And it will support 100,000 minority-owned businesses and create over a million jobs – many of which would serve communities of color.” Read more about Warren’s proposed Small Business Equity Fund here.
  • Ultra-millionaire tax: Warren says she’ll tax the wealth of the ultra-rich, not just their income. “The Ultra-Millionaire (or two-cent) tax asks the very wealthiest people in the country to pitch in a little more so that we can fund crucial investments that provide opportunities for millions of Americans. Here’s how it works: A family with a net worth of more than $50 million – roughly the wealthiest 75,000 households – would pay a 2-percent (or 2 cents) tax on every dollar of their net worth above $50 million and a 6 percent (or 6 cents) tax for every dollar above $1 billion. Read more here.