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Redistribution masquerading as reparations

Redistribution masquerading as reparations

Saturday Night Card Game: Tax and Spend to redistribute wealth. Sounds like the Democratic Party Platform.

We previously addressed The dead-end Case for Reparations, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ backwards looking road to nowhere:

Coates never gives the answer as to who gets what and how.

And that’s ultimately the problem with reparations arguments that are not based upon the people causing the harm paying the people directly harmed by specific conduct soon after the conduct is remedied.

As Coates explained his views to Melissa-Harris Perry this morning, it became clear that there is no sense at all of holding the guilty accountable in the sense we normally do, or compensating actual victims.

There is a complete disconnect between cause and effect — anyone with a particular skin color is presumed to be a victim of policies even from generations earlier. It’s a simplistic and non-evidentiary approach which generalizes anecdotes and ignores the myriad of factors that influence success or failure in life.

Rather, this is a societal redistribution, in which the not actually guilty pay, and the not actually injured get compensated, via the power of government to redistribute wealth.

It’s just redistribution with a different justification.

That Coates’ so easily acceded to Harris-Perry’s suggestion that women fit Coates’ reparations narrative too, reflects the impossibility of the reparations agenda. The same answer would apply to numerous other groups as well.

And so the true reparations absurdity is revealed.

A vast majority of the country is owed reparations, but also has to pay reparations. It’s just a shuffling of money.

The only way to do this is, as Ezra Klein suggests, just have the Treasury print more money and give it to people.

Sounds like the Democratic Party Platform.

Jamelle Bouie at Slate reflects this redistributionist attitute, common among supporters of Coates’ article.  Use the government to take and to give on a massive scale. Also known as Tax and Spend:

Instead of cash, the federal government would implement an agenda to tackle racial inequality at its roots. This agenda would focus on major areas of concern: housing, criminal justice, education, and income inequality. As for the policies themselves, they don’t require a ton of imagination. To break the ghettos and reduce the hyper-segregation of black life, the federal government would aggressively enforce the Fair Housing Act, with attacks on housing and lending discrimination, and punishment for communities that exclude low-income residents with exclusionary zoning.

What’s more, it would provide vouchers for those who want to move, subsidized mortgages for those who want to own, and huge investments in transportation infrastructure, to break urban and rural isolation and connect low-income blacks to jobs in wealthier, whiter areas….

Haven’t we been doing most of that for the past 50+ years. How’s it working out?

It think the redistribution agenda explains a lot of why the reactions to Coates’ article are so over the top from liberal writers and pundits.

Reparations to African-Americans has been a topic of discussion for decades, and using analysis similar to that of Coates, but the reaction to Coates’ article is that he has come upon something new.

So why this reaction now?

Redistribution is the theme of 2014 and 2016 for Democrats.  Even if Thomas Pikegty’s writings are on shaky grounds now, the war on the wealth and income gap will survive into the election season.  But it’s a hard argument to make simply based on wealth and income redistribution as such.

Reparations, or at least a discussion of reparations, fits the narrative.

Whatever we have, was gained unfairly.  Whoever doesn’t have, was cheated.

The entire system is rigged.

You didn’t build that on your own.

Even though the discussion will go absolutely nowhere, it’s a discussion Democrats are happy to have.

Update: Prof. Stephen Bainbridge wrote in 2009, when the issue of slavery was raised (as it has been periodically):

As a matter of compensatory justice, however, reparations for slavery differ significantly from the Holocaust or Japanese internment. In the latter cases, there were living victims whose injuries could be redressed. In the case of African-American slavery, there are no living victims or even immediate descendants.

Courts have routinely held that descendants of slaves have suffered no legally cognizable injury for which they have standing to sue. In his decision in the African-American Slave Descendants Litigation case, for example, federal district court judge Charles Norgle rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that they suffered continuing harms, in form of racial profiling, racial slurs, and shorter life expectancy, as result of the enslavement of their ancestors.

Slavery was a great injustice. Yet, there is no moral case for reparations. None of the principal legitimate purposes of punishment — deterrence, compensation, or retributive justice — would be served by requiring corporations to pay such reparations.


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I quote another who observed this consists of taking from people who never owned slaves and giving money to people who were never slaves. When will the former Black slaves pay reparations to the thousands who lost love ones fighting the Civil War?

What about those who are mixed, and have Black and White ancestors? Do we figure out which part is bigger?

My ancestors arrived legally after the Civil War was over, so I’ll take a pass, thank you.

Would African-Americans who arrived after the Civil War be eligible for payments? What about those from the West Indies?

” . . . anyone with a particular skin color is presumed to be a victim of policies even from generations earlier.”

In any other context, such a sweeping presumption would be denounced as racism. So it is odd to see people who are such vocal opponents of racism advocate a program that’s based on racism.

“Instead of cash, the federal government would implement an agenda to tackle racial inequality at its roots. This agenda would focus on major areas of concern: housing, criminal justice, education, and income inequality. As for the policies themselves, they don’t require a ton of imagination. To break the ghettos and reduce the hyper-segregation of black life, the federal government would aggressively enforce the Fair Housing Act, with attacks on housing and lending discrimination, and punishment for communities that exclude low-income residents with exclusionary zoning.

What’s more, it would provide vouchers for those who want to move, subsidized mortgages for those who want to own, and huge investments in transportation infrastructure, to break urban and rural isolation and connect low-income blacks to jobs in wealthier, whiter areas….”

This is precisely what Obama has been setting in place.

You are I are to be pushed back into the inner city, from which we…with our money…were allowed to “flee”. Never mind that minorities ALSO join the exodus out of the cities when they have achieved.

Remember, people are much easier to control when you have them herded together, and they are much less mobile, too. Imagine having to ride mass transit every day, subjected to TSA scrutiny.

That really is the goal.

    n.n in reply to Ragspierre. | May 24, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Yeah, his kind salivate over high-density population centers, with an abortion/murder clinic on every corner. So that they may preserve the pristine environment of their estates. Coates represents the new aristocracy.

    Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | May 24, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Here’s another little wrinkle…

    According to Coates, Toureeee, Bouie, et. al., there really IS something to white supremacy.

    It was SO far ascendent to what black people could muster in resistance that it kept them suppressed for hundreds of years.

    AND it is STILL working so well, only government intervention can balance the scales!

    Now, I totally reject that bullspit, but if they actually believe it, they are some kinda weak-assed pvssies who think very little of the other people in their own “victim class”.

    Give me people like Ben Carson, Thomas Sowell, Stacey Dash (yeah, you could give me Stacey Dash…that’d work!) who just don’t seem weak and helpless.

    pjm in reply to Ragspierre. | May 24, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    “huge investments in transportation infrastructure, ”

    Or just by them all a fucking Cadillac and get it done with.

Oh but it is happening in their minds.

You see to the moderne civil rightists, all whites are guilty of all racism all the time any where at any time in the past, now or in the future.

They’ve removed any darker hued individuals or groups from the equation as having been involved in any way shape or form with the phenomenon of black slavery.

Therefore all whites and whites only must pay and all blacks having been victims at some point should receive equal benefit.

Other countries don’t enter into this equation because those who have evolved this racial extortion scheme know they would receive short shrift from them due to them still retaining a modicum of sanity and the ability to think logically and to arrive at a conclusion that would preclude them from responding with little more than their languages various forms of “no way dude”.

Many American minds on the other hand have been or allowed themselves to be twisted into pretzels of illogic, lies, distortions and a mistaken sense of responsibility. This along with an unjustified hope that this will somehow end the continuous, and lately becoming the raison d’etre for so many of the AA anchors/pundits concerning any negative actions or criticism of any black person ever, drum beat of finger pointing and shaming witch hunts via the modern media.
(which is mostly responsible for the distortions and lies and the perpetuation of guilt into a second century.)

Since even Toure’ probably senses the moment of the pendulum swinging against them isn’t too far ahead in time, they have decided to take a last stab at perpetrating one final scam on the country and see if they can milk that for a few more decades.

Humphrey's Executor | May 24, 2014 at 8:11 pm

They never consider that the supposed cure will do more damage than the supposed disease.

    He knows. He knows that he is sponsoring prejudice. He knows that he is dividing people. He knows that he has a selective judgment. He knows that “reparations” has already been redistributed to a representative minority, and he was a beneficiary of that policy. He knows that his party has misspent the dowry that he is now claiming. He is seeking donations.

    This can actually be seen in the case of the American Indian, who were paid reparations we actually did owe them, and it many cases it created a welfare mentality.

Not only collective sin, but also inherited sin. These are doctrines of a degenerate religion. Then there is the prospect of selective sin, which must cause Coates to salivate in anticipation of redistributive change.

I imagine that Coates fashions himself as a Mandela, who joined with international leftist interests to defeat competing black Africans and slaughter millions of white Africans. He must be sorely disappointed that his allies do not possess the same leverage to wage war on Americans.

Just what we need, The Great Society (the Sequel).

My ancestor was blinded in the Civil War, fighting for the North. He was blind for the rest of his life, and taken care of by his family. No federal pension for him. No jobs for a blind man, either. And no disability payments. And his blindness caused a lot of hardship for his family.

Coates’ ancestors were sold into slavery by other African tribes. White traders didn’t go into the African bush for a round up. They went to African ports or Arab ports and bought slaves that were for sale!!!! Those white, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish traders were more respectful of “multiculturalism than Coates himself is today!!

    Milwaukee in reply to Jack. | May 24, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Will reparations be collected from those who did the collecting, the African tribes who made money selling others into slavery? Will it be collected from the nations that did the slave trading, such as the English?

OK, I’ve ‘wrestled’ with the issue and determined that Reparations makes sense for freeloaders, hucksters, and really stupid white people. Next.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to DaMav. | May 24, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    I the law is passed, I’m buying stock in Best Buy, Schlitz, Toyota (Lexus) and Daimler Benz.

Freaking money grubbing (black) racist nutbags.

TrooperJohnSmith | May 24, 2014 at 10:00 pm

My poor, starving, uneducated Irish ancestors who were pushed out of Ireland by the British-led Big Potato faction. My Scottish ancestors were run off their ancestral lands in the Highland Clearances. My French Huguenot ancestors were oppressed and persecuted by the Catholics and forced to flee. Their ancestors had been oppressed and conquered by the Romans. My Cherokee, Choctaw, Kiowa and Sac-and-Fox ancestors were hunted, given the pox, robbed and turned into pants-wearing wards of the state. They were also hunted by freed slaves who had joined the U.S. Cavalry after the Civil War. My German ancestors were property of the Junkers class and came to Texas for free land.

So, from whom should I demand reparations? Who would have the deep pockets, here?

Henry Hawkins | May 24, 2014 at 10:12 pm

I’m going to withhold judgment on reparations until I see what share I’ll receive as a 58 year old white man.

I’ve already auctioned off my white privilege on eBay. Some dumbass from Compton paid me $12 million for it – and it was almost completely worn out! Sucker!

Coates’s tract is very peculiar, and somewhat different from the other racist bilge his ilk have been churning out for years. Note that he complains of white supremacy – he’s moved beyond that lukewarm “privilege” stuff. And he asserts that blacks are in some special way “vulnerable”, as if they’re systemically inferior, perpetually incapable of competing (An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane).

What he’s claiming is that his implicitly postulated Master Race (Black nationalists have always perceived … that white supremacy is not merely the work of hotheaded demagogues … but a force so fundamental to America that it is difficult to imagine the country without it – in other words, he can’t imagine any way that an America could have been founded, or built, defended, or maintained, by anything but those detestable whites) – should be required to support what he considers its permanent underclass.

So far, it’s a disgraceful thesis, but at least logical and internally self-consistent. But he then wanders off into true la-la land, with his fantasies that such an arrangement will lead to any sort of national catharsis. In reality, its only logical endpoint would be a permanently (and, worse, officially and government-administered) split society of Neitzschean uber- and untermenschen. Not even our Puerile Progressives claim to want that.

Bruno Lesky | May 24, 2014 at 10:36 pm

“…the federal government would implement an agenda to tackle racial inequality at its roots.” Per Coates’ supporter Bouie at Slate.

Wellllll … good luck with the reparations / income redistribution plans for that: TO TACkLE RACIAL INEQUALITY AT ITS ROOTS.

Personally, I (a white person) could have come to no good end were it not for some lucky circumstances that taught me about production and exchange …that one needs to find out what the OTHER guy wants and figure out how to provide it. And get paid somehow.

When I reflect on the demand for reparations, I think: I had to learn skills that OTHERS valued … had to go through vast periods of rejection with no sure thing of success … to get to a point of controlling my survival.

That, to me, is an important play in The Game of Life. It’s what Ben Carson, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams etc. all speak of about how you go about that Game. And the relative comfort I have now is inflected with the deep pleasure of the struggle and uncertainty along the way.

I was lucky that this was possible in the America in which I grew up.

I am beholden to Charles Murray for his understanding of what makes for human fulfillment. He quotes Aristotle via Rawls: “Other things equal, human beings enjoy the exercise of their realized capacities (their innate or trained abilities), and this enjoyment increases the more the capacity is realized, or the greater complexity.”

I wish those seeking reparations could instead be guided by wiser counsel that would provide not income equality but a chance for … happiness … and all the life that it entails.

Murray: in Pursuit of Happiness and Good Government

CountMontyC | May 24, 2014 at 11:00 pm

If we pay does that mean the whining will stop? I mean forever and not just until the money runs out

This is just another bunch of thieves saying that, since all the rich white people got all that money from this administration, it is their turn.

Since all humans evolved out of ancestors in Africa, we are all therefore African in origin.
Therefore since all citizens in the US owe $100,000 in reparations for their crimes of discrimination, each citizen must write a $100,000 check to themselves and cash it.
Anyone who disagrees is obviously a Neanderthal who does not believe in evolution, and should therefore be mocked and shouted down.

There we go, fixed it. Next problem.

Reparations being discussed in this post = base materialistic envy; an attempt to put the mack on you.

Current forms of ‘reparations’always on the table: minimum wage increase, affirmative action, bail outs of Detroit & big stupid businesses, global scamming using carbon credits, progressive taxation, millionaire taxes (being proposed here in Illinois by Mike Madigan who now, per the Sunday Chicago Tribune 5/25/2104, wants to “put together a budget that does not rely on voting to keep in place the 5 percent personal income tax rate.), welfare, abortions, …

When do I get my reparations for the all of the stupid that government has done with all the money I sent it? When do I get my reparations from those who contribute nothing to society? Am I being taxed so that more people have time on their hands to complain?

Reparations had better begin and end with relationship and not with money.

smalltownoklahoman | May 25, 2014 at 7:19 am

There can be no greater form of innocence than not even being alive at the time a crime was committed. Yes slavery was a horrible evil inflicted blacks, so was segregation and jim crow laws, however the vast majority of the people alive today have taken no part in such policies nor have they perpetuated them or something similar. Punishing people for crimes they never were a part of is not, and never shall be, justice!

Midwest Rhino | May 25, 2014 at 8:37 am

Point one below is pretty powerful … Obama’s paternal side probably came from slave owners and sellers. Will his family be paying the reparations? Of course not, he made his way to the top using racist hate, yet he is a chief offender of the slavery practice.

I’ve used this article a number of times in the past:

There Is No Single Group Clearly Responsible For The Crime Of Slavery

There Is No One Group That Benefited Exclusively From Its Fruits

Only A Tiny Minority Of White Americans Ever Owned Slaves, And Others Gave Their Lives To Free Them

America Today Is A Multi-Ethnic Nation and Most Americans Have No Connection (Direct Or Indirect) To Slavery

The Historical Precedents Used To Justify The Reparations Claim Do Not Apply, And The Claim Itself Is Based On Race Not Injury

The Reparations Argument Is Based On The Unfounded Claim That All African-American Descendants of Slaves Suffer From The Economic Consequences Of Slavery And Discrimination

The Reparations Claim Is One More Attempt To Turn African-Americans Into Victims. It Sends A Damaging Message To The African-American Community.

Reparations To African Americans Have Already Been Paid

What About The Debt Blacks Owe To America?

The Reparations Claim Is A Separatist Idea That Sets African-Americans Against The Nation That Gave Them Freedom

David Horowitz expounds on each of those at the link.

PersonFromPorlock | May 25, 2014 at 12:32 pm

What might work would be a suit by blacks against the Democratic party (no sovereign immunity) for all the ‘help’ blacks have gotten from them in the last fifty years.

Don’t hold yer breath.

TrooperJohnSmith | May 25, 2014 at 12:37 pm

I’ve decided that they’re baking up the wrong tree. Maybe the case for Reparations should go something lime this:

“The United States Government, under the auspices of The Great Society and Related Social Welfare & Entitlement Programs (see attachment 1), has destroyed the lives, opportunity, nuclear family unit, educational and vocational progress and quality of life of African-Americans in the United States and its Territories.”

Now, that might have legs…

I do not begrudge people their wealth. The issues which concern me are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. This means that we need to address the normalization of elective abortion/murder, the exploitation of unmerited leverage to dominate others, and progressive policies which devalue capital and labor.

Take from one race to give another.

They call it reparations, I call it racism.

Hey, this is fun. Rome sold a large percentage of the Jews in Israel (those they didn’t murder) into slavery; let’s get reparations from Italy!

Although I really think Africa should pay the United States for selling their citizens into slavery.