March 5, 2009

Stealth Reparations: "Mouth Full of Gimme and a Hand Full of 'Much Obliged' "

reparations-can_web.jpgJohn Derbyshire @ The Corner relates this sage observation:

I was giving him my usual rap about Caracas on the Hudson, and how cardboard box cities will spring up in Miami, Houston and Los Angeles over the coming decade. "It's the poor who always suffer worst from inflation." I said.
"Not in this case," said my friend, "because all the poor in this country are deeply in debt. They'll all have the relative value of that debt wiped away while the middle class will end up bearing the brunt of the burden. All Obama has to do is dilute the currency and he'll be responsible for one of the greatest transfers of wealth in human history without firing a shot."

I submit that there are elements lurking in the Obama legislative offensive even more craven and hypocritical than that. Smarter too.

Suppose, just suppose, you were a politician whose most fervent supporters were looking for a check, a fat check, from the government for wrongs done to their great-great-great-grandparents through slavery. This yearning for unearned money is what has been dubbed, Reparations. It's been a popular dream in and out of the surviving urban ghettos for decades. Nothing focuses the mind of the professionally indigent -- and those set up to serve them -- more than the vision of globs of money descending upon them from the Great Father in Washington.

But at the same time you are a smart politician. You know that just pounding a gigantic honeypot labeled "Reparations" down the throats of the taxpayers would create a firestorm of argument. Not only about the money but about the recipients as well. You want Americans to have a full and frank, no-holds-barred "conversation" about race? Just announce you're going to pay one race off.

The quest for reparations goes back long before the Civil War, and emerged after in the concept of "40 acres and a mule" that were given and sometimes taken back from freed slaves. It has been kept alive up to this day through a series of groups whose special pleading has grown sharper as the distance in time from slavery has increased. The issue slipped beneath the surface of American political life during the recent campaign as did so many others but that does not mean it has sunk. As a quest, reparations is always ready to resurface.

It's hard to encapsulate what is wrong, deeply wrong, with reparations, but Thomas Sowell comes close with:

The only thing that would give the idea of reparations for slavery even the appearance of rationality is an assumption of collective guilt, passed down from generation to generation. But, if we start operating on the principle that people alive today are responsible for what their ancestors did in centuries past, we will be adopting a principle that can tear any society apart, especially a multi-ethnic society like the United States.
Even if we were willing to go down that dangerous road, the facts of history do not square with the demand for reparations. Millions of immigrants arrived in this country from Europe, Asia and Latin America after slavery was over. Are their descendants guilty too and expected to pay out hard cash to redeem themselves?
On an individual level, paying reparations is like being asked to pay for a meal that you didn't order, that you never ate, in a restaurant that was burned to the ground 144 years ago. But even if you did decide to pay the bill, who, exactly, is supposed to get the money?

An announced program of reparations would also open up the Pandora's book of just who was black enough and previously enslaved enough to deserve the handout. In addition there would be other "victim" groups among your supporters that also felt they deserved a similar check because of all the "oppression" they or their forefathers-mothers lived under for anywhere from two centuries to the last six months since they've come out as a victim. And then the feminists would want to cash in on all the wages their grandmothers and great-grandmothers didn't get because they were homemakers. And then there's the dwarf Croatian albinos and the transexuals-in-transition and then there's..... Whoa, Katie bar the door!

A smart politician knows how to take it by taking it easy. And right now the taking is easy, so why rock the sinking boat?

Other issues that would arise around an up-front "Reparations" move would be touchy things such as genetic testing to "prove" the seeker had "enough" African-American lineage to qualify. Perhaps you'd have to set up some system of "Proportional Payment" in which the long buried racist concepts such as Quadroon, octoroon and, more rarely, quintroon...and hexadecaroon. would come into play. Perhaps "Federal Slave Descendent" IDs would have to be issued.("Bearer Certified 1/4 Former Slave") We used to have such things before Emancipation. They were called "Manumission Certificates." Why not go forward into our darker past? And let the government keep the list. All governments love lists. For your security and protection, of course.

After the primary identification was done, we'd have to find out exactly how much slavery any Government-Certified descendent of slaves experienced. Internet services offering fraudulent family trees would do a land-office business, and there would be yet another opportunity for a government list. Those that had a lot of slavery in their family tree, but needed money now, could sell them to the highest bidder in an online Affirmative Auction.

And on and on it would go since we're talking yet more trillions. A fornication-festival for lawyers would set up for decades on the National Mall complete with ducking booths, corn dogs, and games like "Pin the Tail on the Surviving Taxpayer". At the same time we'd see the sure to be created "Federal Department of Racial Fairness for African-Americans Only" to assure, dare I say it, the minimally-mandated level of "racial purity." (Sound familiar?)

Once this sort of favored-race status was up and running I'm sure Hispanic-Americans, Native-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Shorter-Americans would have something to say about that. What they'd probably say, if they didn't get theirs, is, "Hey, let's vote this doofus out of office... and his little dog too."

Nope, just opening up the Reparations Pay Window on the Democrat Plantation wouldn't be a smooth political move. But why bother when a clever politician could simply ram a series of gob-stopping economic measures "for the common good" in this "time of national crisis" through his toadies in the Congress. The result would be the same. The result would put large pots of money out and about for those that have spent several lifetimes learning how to "game the system."

And nobody, but nobody, knows how to "game the system" better than the Race Industry. It is, after all, what these people, and their organizations in and out of government, do for a living. If you would see their monuments, look about you. All you've got to do is put the honey pot out in the vacant lot and the bears will shamble by for their share. Just make sure you have a lot of their relatives from the Department of Homeland Liquidity standing by with Post Office pens to help them fill out the forms.

The genius of it all is that a smart politician will have effected "Reparations" without ever calling it "Reparations." This means you can always go back to the issue of "Reparations" in a year or so when the money from this handout is spent.

Some might call this "double-dipping at the dessert buffet." I call it "political genius."

Posted by Vanderleun at March 5, 2009 11:38 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I hope they go for it.

Posted by: Fat Man at March 4, 2009 7:56 PM

I think even the Dems in congress are on the verge of a collective "wtF???" where Teh OnE is concerned.

*chuckle* Not really. They see more power and money to grab.

End of empire. And game, probably.

Posted by: TmjUtah at March 4, 2009 9:03 PM

Exactly. The equivalent of not passing unpopular legislation, but electing leftist judges to legislate it from the bench.

Posted by: Brett_McS at March 5, 2009 1:19 AM

Ah, it's all true, but how dare you say it?
There's even more to say... but never in writing.

Meanwhile, we'll not see cardboard cities, we'll see RV cities and co-ops springing up everywhere as those close to retirement cash out their remaining funds and hit the road. Why not? It's sounding pretty good right about now.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at March 5, 2009 5:17 AM

"Great Father in Washington"

You mean Master Washington, no?

Posted by: JD at March 5, 2009 5:19 AM

It is more correctly "The Great White Father" - a sobriquet bestowed on the President by various Indian tribes.

Actually, many tribes have prospered (relative term) in recent years. Course they had the good sense to partner with the mafia.

Posted by: Roy Lofquist at March 5, 2009 7:13 AM

African Americans have been the most problematic and contentious American ethnic/racial component, and the tragic irony is that it looks like they will be at the forefront of those who will cause America to fall. How very sad, considering two things 1) America is no longer -- for all practical purposes -- a racist country, and 2) Black America has "arrived" in spectacular fashion.

As a group they've been at the heart of one of the core reasons for the financial melt-down in the form of the modern entitlement I shall call "a right to a mortgage -- no matter what." Also, of the estimated $7 to $10 trillion spent over the last 40 years on "combatting poverty," and contributing mightily to the national debt, it's very likely that at least half of that amount had been spent on African Americans.

What exactly have post-racial non-black Americans done to deserve this, other than be utter idiots, saps and cowards in the face of an obvious, transparent, and long-standing grifter/extortionist game played by so-called "victims?"

Posted by: Roderick Reilly at March 5, 2009 10:31 AM

All I can say is that they're already looking into it. Go to

H.R. 40:
111st CongressThis is a bill in the U.S. Congress originating in the House of Representatives ("H.R."). A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate and then be signed by the President before it becomes law.

Bill numbers restart from 1 every two years. Each two-year cycle is called a session of Congress. This bill was created in the 111st Congress, in 2009-2010.

The titles of bills are written by the bill's sponsor and are a part of the legislation itself. GovTrack does not editorialize bill summaries.

2009-2010 Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act

To acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to examine the institution of slavery, subsequently de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.

Posted by: Hangtown Bob at March 5, 2009 5:00 PM

Roy, where do you get the idea that the U.S. is, "for all practical purposes," no longer a country with racial problems?

Research consistently shows that black Americans often face discrimination in jobs, housing, and education. Less than a generation or two ago, but still quite a bit.

More importantly, the racial inequality started in this country by slavery, and made worse by the century of brutal Jim Crow discrimination which followed, has hardly improved at all. Black Americans, at least in that sense, have certainly not "arrived."

Posted by: James at March 6, 2009 9:12 AM

Derb's comment reflects the Free Silver movement of the late 19th century, whereby indebted farmers wanted the U.S. government to coin silver in order to build up the money supply and reduce the value of their debts.

Posted by: John at March 11, 2009 2:17 PM

Yes, it's the white man holding them all back, all those fucking affirmative action programs, scholarships, recruiting, those are all part of our evil scheme to keep the black man down! Brilliant! Look in the mirror to find all the cause you'll ever need.

Posted by: carl hungus at April 1, 2009 12:54 PM

Reparations can be summed up in one simple thought:

So... You want me, to pay you, for something I didn't do, that wasn't done to you?

That makes sense... Like lug-nuts on a birthday cake.

3+ generations in public housing on welfare isn't reparations?

Affirmative action, scholarships, quotas, contract set-asides... Those aren't reparations?

To me it's quite simple: Anyone who wants reparations, here's the offer: We'll buy you a one-way ticket to the African nation of your choice, and give you a check in the amount of 5 times the annual per-capita income in that country. In return, you renounce your US citizenship and promise never to return.

Take that offer and go, or refuse it, stay, and STFU.

Simple. No "study" required.

The fact is that if my ancestors had not been slaves, I'd have been born in the Congo. I thank G*D every day that my ancestors were slaves so I could be born in the best, most prosperous country in the history of the world.

America: Love it or leave it.


Posted by: Dedicated Dad at April 3, 2009 4:10 PM