The conversation among scholars, economists, and politicians seems to keep turning back to reparations.
President Joe Biden is in favor of a study on reparations, according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
The Chicago Policy Review recently came out and said that reparations are a must. The respected journal describes itself as covering “today’s most pressing public policy debates.”
To address racial disparities faced by Black Americans, policymakers must prioritize a Black agenda highlighted by a federal reparations policy, wrote Marvin Slaughter, a staff author at Chicago Policy Review. For many scholars, reparations—as a policy—represent an initial attempt to acknowledge, redress, and provide finality of judgment for the financial hardships caused by slavery and Jim Crow, Slaughter wrote.
The Review article cited renowned reparations scholars Dr. Sandy Darity and Kirsten Mullen, authors of a June 2020 report on reparations entitled “Resurrecting the Promise of 40 Acres and a Mule: The Imperative of Reparations for Black Americans.”
Remedying the Black-white wealth gap would address “the most glaring indicator of racial injustice in America,” the Review reported.
Black Americans constitute about 13 percent of the U.S. population but own less than 3 percent of the nation’s wealth, according to Darity and Mullen.
A mean differential of $800,000 in net worth per household is directly tied to the legacy of slavery, Darity and Mullen asserted. Dismantling the Black-white wealth gap will cost an estimated $10 trillion to $12 trillion in federal expenditures.
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Darity and Mullen crunched the numbers by taking into account the 40 acres of land promised but never given to newly emancipated slaves. In 1865, an acre of land cost $10 on average, according to economists. The overall up-front cost of the 40-acre grant program would have been $400 million at the time. Add a compounded value at a 6 percent interest rate and this would amount to $3.1 trillion today.
“But computing the present value compounded at a 9% interest rate (the average return on an investment in the U.S. stock market from 1870 to 2020) yields an estimated reparations bill of $16.5 trillion,” the Review reported.