In a spectacular display of what happens when woke politics intersects utter financial illiteracy, a San Francisco government advisory committee on reparations has recommended the city pay eligible black residents age 18 years and older $5 million apiece.
That’s just the headline recommendation of the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee (AARAC), which was created by the city’s board of supervisors amid 2020’s nationwide racial tumult.
Next on the wish list: “a comprehensive debt forgiveness program that clears all educational, personal, credit card, payday loans, etc.” The group said this measure will get blacks out of “an inescapable cycle of debt” so they can “build wealth.”
Rivaling the $5 million payment as an eyebrow-raiser, the committee also wants a welfare program that targets a $97,000 annual income for low-income blacks for the next 250 years.
That’s right: a quarter-millennium of near-six-figure per capita handouts. “Centuries of harm and destruction of black lives, black bodies and black communities should be met with centuries of repair,” AARAC chair Eric McDonnell told the San Francisco Chronicle.
As with every leftist agenda item, this one demonstrates a profound obliviousness to the influence of incentives on individual human action: There’s no surer way of guaranteeing an individual will stay “low-income” than promising to round them up to $97,000.
But wait — there’s more: Those who qualify for reparations should also receive payroll tax, business tax and property tax credits, the panel says.
The city should also “create structures and pathways to mitigate tax consequences for recipients of reparations funds.” Sounds like the board of supervisors will get to take a fact-finding trip to the Cayman Islands.
Never mind that California wasn’t a slave state, says the committee:
“While neither San Francisco, nor California, formally adopted the institution of chattel slavery, the values of segregation, white supremacy and systematic repression and exclusion of Black people were legally codified and enforced.”
The Chronicle approvingly called it a “bold” plan, and said “what happens next will show whether San Francisco politicians are serious about confronting the city’s checkered past.”
To its credit, the committee seems wary of a new California gold rush comprised of opportunistic reparations prospectors. To guard against a wave of black migrants cashing in, AARAC took a stab at incorporating time-in-residency prerequisites.
Their fiscal border wall, however, has big gaps. Their list of criteria applies a “must meet at least two” approach, making it easier for new San Franciscans to sidestep the length-of-residency rules. For example, if you’re a descendant of a slave, and you were personally or a direct descendant of someone incarcerated for breaking drug laws, you’re in.
In a blow to the woke pillar of creative and flexible identity, AARAC shamefully stipulates that all applicants should have “identified” as “black/African American” for at least 10 years. Let’s just hope there’s no need for photo ID.
Financial acumen appears to be in short supply among the AARAC members. San Francisco’s budget is around $14 billion and there were about 47,000 African Americans in the 2020 census. If just 10,000 residents qualify, the $5 million payment alone would cost $50 billion.
Diversity isn’t a strength of the reparations committee either: All 14 members are black. However, there’s a vacant seat right now — available only to “an individual who has lived or is currently living in public housing.”