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"Why reparations for slavery could help boost the economy"


Imagine we have decided yes, as a society we must pay a price for these injustices, and it must be large. Those payments could well constitute the stimulus that the U.S. economy needs to take it into the next century.

To the economy, stimulus is stimulus, as long as it’s done right. Whether it is paid to a group of people based on where they live, their ethnicity or their religion might matter to politics, but to the economy, it doesn’t matter – as long as the money is put to work through either consumption or investment. The reparations-as-stimulus idea gets a short mention from Coates, who writes that:

Today reparations would affect 44.5 million Americans, most of whom are in a position, or could eventually be in a position, to do far more than spend. The stimulus would lead to both entrepreneurship and investment and potential direct poverty alleviation for 3.2 percent of the total population, assuming that cash-based reparations payments would be large enough to lift even the poorest recipient above the poverty line. This would affect the roughly 27 percent of African-Americans who were below the poverty line in 2012.

Put those elements together and there is a prime case for stimulus that would both alleviate poverty directly, and provide payments to people who can either grow their investments or start or expand businesses.

I think poverty should be alleviated because it is poverty, which is why I support both a Jobs Guarantee and a Guaranteed Annual Income. However, I've got no objection to a line item for reparations, as long as there's some kind of process where those to whom the amends are made can speak directly (which is why I suggest a Truth and Reconciliation Commission), and the form in which the reparations are made is under the control of those to whom they are made. (For example, the tribes might prefer land, to money. On the other hand, money could be given for land.)

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Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Reparations to all of the fragmented segments (artifacts of political design, of course) that have been shafted by the .01% including the First Nations, slaves and all of us former-chumps-of-the-Democratic-persuasion whose collective "wealth" (for some definition thereof, e.g. a measly 401K plan or a measly savings account or spending money on an education that leads to carreer-interruptus) and prospects have been pulverized by the .01% (and their lackeys in the 20%) and all the men and women who lost their jobs, pensions and dignity in the wake of NAFTA and the destruction of labor unions, and all of the men and women currently enslaved in shit jobs that pay shittier (sup-poverty) wages, and all of the men and women who are carrying massive student loan debt without a hope of ever paying it back and meanwhile working shit jobs at shit wages ...

and so on.

I support QE for the 99.9%, which includes all of us, and not fragmentary segments - because otherwise we're in StrongMan Land - otherwise known as clientage. Which is what we've had ever since our government started doling out Special Crumbs to small groups, thereby destroying any hope of The Masses joining together without false consciousness.

I also don't support any Cash Pallet Programs that don't also have a built in safeguard against the artificial inflation of assets held by the .01% (housing, fuel, the food stream, utilities, schools, etc.) Because otherwise you can give everyone $10 million dollars this week only to have the Kleptocrats slap new price tags on everything people need to live to "match" the increased available cash.


Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Not following what "line item" and "baseline" mean.

All baselines do if they are on the citizen/consumer/spendaholic side is cause the Klepto's to rub their grubby hands together and make their supply numbers lots higher so on their fictitious books they can write "eleventy billion dollars" and then grab that out of the real economy, thus nullifying whatever raised baseline was achieved.

That's why it has to be a 2-pronged (simultaneous) scheme. Or perhaps banning speculation in assets and commodities that people need for dignified lives would eliminate any need to giving people "more money" and "higher baselines." Or rollback and then freeze prices of everything that's increased (cough, "inflation") more than the curve of real wages (and we know where those went, and where the supply side pricing spirals went).

Submitted by lambert on

I want to get on with writing the suppporting material for the 12-Point platform because I'm tired of crapping around and thinking small.

There are two income distribution programs: One is the jobs gaurantee, the other is an income guarantee. That should take care of setting a baseline, society-wide.

They also provide a natural vehicle to distribute reparations; that's what I meant by a line item although that's dumb, since checks don't have line items.

(I broached that idea on Hipparchia's reparations post and that's my take until I hear something better.)

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

All of these free money suggestions are scams to buy off one or another segment of the population and not actually fix the problems, for everybody, IMO.

Also, that money is not going to go far in the economy of 20 years hence where every job requires a PhD and almost nobody has them.

thats what we're looking at, my friends.