“[Black Entertainment Television] BET founder Robert Johnson explains his Big Idea of $14 trillion in slavery reparations,” as reported by Maria Schultz of Fox News.
“Johnson says 40 million African Americans should each receive $350,000 to atone for slavery and to close the wealth gap with white Americans.”
How does Mr. Johnson define “African American?”
If we manage to come up with a “reparations” dollar amount, does this payment get cut in half if you’re only half African?
What if you’re a quarter African…, or an eighth?
What if your 1/1024 African descent, like Senator Elizabeth Warren is 1/1024 Native American?
And how will this be determined and who will determine it?
‘“The Big Idea’ is a series that asks top lawmakers and figures to discuss their moonshot — what’s the one proposal, if politics and polls and even price tag were not an issue, they’d implement to change the country for the better?”
“Robert Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, says it’s time America atones for slavery and systemic racism by paying African-Americans reparations to make them economically equal to white Americans.”
“Johnson, the first black billionaire in the United States, has put a price tag on the debt America owes to African-Americans at $14 trillion.”
Hmmm…, why hasn’t this systematic racism stopped you Mr. Johnson?
There are millions and millions of white, off-white, light brown, yellow and red people walking around who aren’t billionaires like you.
But how can that be if our apparent racism is such a hinderance to you and other African Americans?
‘“Nobody talks about cash, but black people understand cash,’ Johnson told Fox News.”
That’s a good one, Mr. Johnson! But, I would say everybody pretty much understands the concept of “cash money.” That statement there is a pretty racist statement, itself, from where I’m standing.
“Under his proposal, an estimated 40 million African-Americans would get $350,000 in direct cash payments over 30 years (costing the average taxpayer roughly $2,900 a year, according to his office). The $350,000 would signify the wealth disparity between African-Americans and white Americans.”
Exactly how would non-white people be excluded from chipping in on this tax?
Would African Americans end up paying for their own reparations?
“Johnson contends white Americans built generations of wealth on the backs of slave labor, and black people will never be able to catch up in wealth unless they are paid this debt.”
“You want a big idea: white America, what would happen if you said, ‘please forgive us and accept our apology. And by the way, we think we owe you what was taken from you for over 300 years of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation and denial of economic opportunity and rights,’ Johnson said.”
‘“I think that would be a huge emotional assuaging of guilt.’”
Your assumption that I feel any guilt is a major miscalculation on your part.
How about if we [white people] said, “Please forgive us and accept our apology on behalf of our ancestors, and just left it at that?
I mean millions of non-black people immigrated to America after the whole slavery thing even took place.
It is pretty racist for African Americans to expect reparations from people based solely on race rather than actual ancestral ties, isn’t it?
Again, just askin’.
What would probably work better would be a Labor Day telethon type of thing, where those that do feel guilty can “assuage” their guilt by kicking into a pot that would then be distributed as a means of “reparation.”
“Johnson, the founder of RLJ Companies, discussed his reparations proposal at length with Fox News this week. This Q & A has been edited for clarity and brevity:”
“Q: You’ve put forth a reparations plan that calls for $14 trillion in direct cash payments to descendants from slavery. Why do you think it’s important for today’s Americans to atone for the sins of the past?”
“Johnson: ‘America from its inception has been plagued by the evils of slavery, so much so that this country fought a brutal civil war to try to settle the issue. Well, obviously, the issue was not settled after the Civil War. And this country has experienced continual racial violence, segregation and discrimination since that time. And as a country that has espoused ideas about freedom, individual rights, equal treatment under the law, everything in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and yet at the same time have this significant division between blacks and whites. Economically, socially, educationally — all of these things are because America has never come to grips with its original sin of slavery, which has been responsible for most of the disharmony between blacks and whites in this country.
And therefore, I’m proposing that if America can atone for that in the form of cash payments to African-Americans to make them economically equal to white Americans, two things will happen. One, African-Americans will be, in effect, financially equal in a capitalist society and given the opportunity to grow wealth for themselves and their families. And two … unless you can atone, forgive and then repair in the form of the $14 trillion of cash, which the way I’ve developed it would make 40 million African-Americans equal in wealth to white Americans, we will live with this problem for generations to come.”
“Q: Your plan calls for $14 trillion to be paid out to descendants of slavery over the course of 30 years. How do you get to that figure?”
“Johnson: ‘It’s simple math. If you look at it this way, the median white American family has about $350,000 of personal net worth. African-Americans have about 10 times less than that. So about, let’s say, $30,000 of personal net worth of an African-American family. In order to make everything equal. You have to bring African-Americans equal to white Americans.’”
‘“And the factors that we use to determine net worth are pretty simple. Your home is your most important asset for most middle-class people. African-Americans are way behind white Americans in homeownership. Income, i.e. salaries, are the next factor in wealth. African-Americans fall behind white Americans significantly in income, savings, investments in stocks and bonds, money to put your kids in school. When you take all these factors, you come up with the fact that the disparity of wealth is something that you need to close. So, in order to close that — to bring 40 million African-Americans, up to $350,000 of wealth. Well, you multiply that number — $350,000 – times 40 million African-American descendants of slaves. You come out with $14 trillion. That money would be paid out over 30 years.’”
So, like in your case Mr. Johnson, and the cases of many extravagantly rich black entertainers and sports figures…, would they be expected to return much of their wealth in an effort to “equalize” things?
Again, just askin’.
“Q: Would this be a special reparations new tax that would fund this program?”
“Johnson: ‘Ultimately, it’s a debt owed by the taxpayers. And reparations is a debt owed by the nation as a whole because all of the wealth that was taken from slaves. Free labor is a transfer of wealth.
That wealth of slavery found its way throughout the creation of wealth in the United States. I’ve often said that slaves may have died but the money that they created did not die. Money doesn’t die.’”
You did live through live through the financial crises of 2007-2008 didn’t you, Mr. Johnson?
Money doesn’t seem to “die” for people like you or our privileged and protected financial institutions, but for average people like me, a lot of our money definitely “died,” or was redistributed back to those who caused the problem out of their greed in the first place.
‘“Money not only circulates; money multiplies. If you gave me a group of the brightest forensic accountants, I would be willing to bet you that I could trace every dollar of wealth in the United States today back to slavery.’”
Oh, I’m sure you could…, and I’m sure you’d be wrong.
Many, many, many more Americans did not own slaves, as opposed to those who did.
‘“The $350,000 would be paid on average $10,000 to $11,000 per year for the next 30 years to each African-American descendant. Let’s assume there are 170 million people who pay taxes in the U.S. If you break it down by days, it comes out to American taxpayers paying about $8 a day in reparations.’”
Oh, that’s all?
‘“Now, anticipating the question, what about poor whites who may not have that money to pay into the reparations program? Well, we could do it like we do other taxes. It could be a progressive tax. So those white Americans with more money would pay more, like the income tax. Those white Americans with less money would pay less. And by the way, African-Americans would also pay tax on this because it’s a responsibility of the nation. And we’re not exempting African-Americans from paying that tax, even though they are the recipients of the damages, just as if you were to get damages awarded by a court today. The court wouldn’t say, well, you have damages coming, you don’t have to pay taxes. You have to pay taxes.’”
Ok…, well that doesn’t make much sense, reparations or not.
And poor “guilty” people are held to lesser accountability than richer “guilty” people?
This whole thing just keeps getting better and better.
“Q: And how do you envision these direct cash payments being distributed? And how would you determine who is eligible for the payments?”
“Johnson: ‘The eligibility is any African-American, black American, who is a direct descendant of slaves. So that’s fairly simple.”
Actually, it isn’t that simple at all.
I would estimate that there are many “black” Americans who are not descendants of slaves.
Does Ancestry.com have the final determination here, or what?
And what if there is no “documentation” available?
Are we just going to take someone’s word for it?
‘“And the definition of who’s black. We simply use the slave era definition of black. And back in slavery days … if you had one drop of blood in you that was black you were determined to be black. You were treated as black. So, we’ll use that same model.’”
So, you’re saying that approximately 300 million out of our population of 328 million would be receiving reparations?
I mean, who’s to deny someone who “identifies” as black or claims that “One drop” of African heritage?
If we get to this point in the process, please remind me to buy stock in DNA testing companies.
Even if someone supported the concept of reparations for slavery, who could support this proposed solution?
‘“The money would come out of the taxpayers’ pockets. … So that money would be transferred in the form of a cash payment to every African-American. It’s sort of like Social Security. They send you a check.’”
“Q: There’s been some reparations proposals in Washington. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., has a bill that would establish a commission to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African Americans and then make recommendations on reparation proposals. In the House, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, authored the companion legislation. Do you support these efforts? Have you talked to them about these plans?”
“Johnson: ‘I know about them and I know Sheila Jackson Lee and I know Cory, but no, I have not talked about them. And fundamentally, the reason I haven’t talked about them is because they are going nowhere.
There is no need to study reparations or slavery. You can go to Google and you could have within an instant, hundreds of thousands of articles, literature, studies, on reparations and slavery. To me, this is rearranging the deck chairs on a racial titanic. It’s not going any place.’”
Ha! A “racial titanic!” That’s a new one!
‘“The Democrats will never, ever vote for any reparations involving cash payments to descendants of slaves. They will never do it. And what they will do is what they have always done, which is paternalistic programs managed by bureaucrats to give support — somewhat means-tested support — in the black community. And call it a day. That’s it. I guarantee you that’s what will happen with this study. Because that’s what this government … is comfortable with: giving money to hopefully well-meaning bureaucrats to supervise money going to help black people.
If you’re going to close the wealth gap, there are only two ways to do it. Either you’ve got to stop white people from getting wealthier, which you’re not going to. Or you got to make black people wealthier.
The only way you are going to do it is if you give them cash. Programs don’t do it.’”
Oh…, sorry about that. Then maybe we should rethink all of these social programs that just “don’t do it.”
“Q: How would you know if this program has been successful? Would you gauge it from an economic standpoint where you see the wealth gap lessen or be closed?”
“Johnson: ‘You would obviously gauge it by closing the wealth gap. That’s fairly simple because what happens when you have wealth, you do the things that white Americans have done from the time they first arrived here. They bought homes. They started businesses. They sent their kids off to college. They saved. They invested. And all of a sudden they accumulated wealth. African-Americans were denied that opportunity.’”
I don’t think “denied” is the proper word to use here, as there are many wealthy African Americans in America. So, these wealthy African Americans were not “denied,” but others were?
What is it?
‘“The second part is really up to white Americans. Will white Americans say to themselves, ‘we have atoned for an original sin. And not only that, we have made 40 million African-Americans whole for what was done to them through no fault of their own. They were dragged here on ships to be slaves. Not even people. Property. And we took advantage of the labor that they created and used it to build our wealth. Now we’re saying we want to atone.’”
And actually, they weren’t “dragged here,” they were sent here by other Africans…, African slave acquirers and African slave traders.
“If white people see this as a way of saying in a huge way, I apologize. I’m sorry. I can assure you there are no more forgiving people on the face of the Earth than African-American people.’”
If what I see on TV, courtesy of Black Lives Matter, is your definition of “forgiving,” you can keep your forgiveness.
IF…, and that’s a big IF, we ever get to the point of actually doling out reparations, there may be other factors that need to be considered.
Regarding the Black Lives Matter (BLM) actions, let’s start by deducting the costs of all of the burnt buildings and property from the overall reparations amount.
Then let’s deduct the value of all of the looted merchandise.
How about the cost of all of the torn down statutes, and the cost to clean-up and repair all of the defaced and vandalized property?
Then there’s the cost for additional law enforcement and military deployment.
And how about the costs for the losses of private businesses?
Then we’ll have to deduct a recipient’s cost to society up to this point by determining how much money have they already received via social programs…, or, how much in “reparations” have they already received.
There are six major U.S. welfare programs. They are the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP or “food stamps”), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and housing assistance.
Once all of these other factors are taken into consideration, the actual cost of “reparations” to all of the other Americans, or non-blacks, which include those of European descent, Latino descent, Asian descent, Indian descent, Native American descent, can be determined.
I’m sure we’ll find that many African Americans have already received more than their share.
I could additionally make the case that White America has been attempting to make atonements for enslaving Africans all along.
Like I have already mentioned, we have a wide array of social welfare programs, but we also have an allowance of Black specific colleges and businesses, as well as an acceptance of Affirmative Action for scholarships and job opportunities.
In the end, the truth is, slavery was not unique to the United States; it is a part of almost every nation’s history, from Greek and Roman civilizations to contemporary forms of human trafficking.
I don’t have a personal is with Robert Johnson…, in fact, he and I are in agreement on many issues, and on many levels…, however, as far as reparations are concerned, Mr. Johnson is way off base in my opinion.
Mr. Johnson decried the ineffectiveness of the democrat party on behalf of African-Americans, and he even said he felt “Dems are taking black voters for granted.”
He has called for BLM to break away from the democrats and form their own party.
The problem is, Mr. Johnson, this “party” already exists.
It’s called The Communist Party.
If you’re not already “following” me and you liked my blog(s) today, please “click” on the comment icon just to the right of the date at the bottom of this article. From there you can let me know if you “like” my blog, leave a comment or click the white “FOLLOW” button at the bottom of that page, which will keep you up to date on all of my latest posts.
We’re all entitled to our opinions. I value yours and your feedback as well.
I’d love to hear from you!
Thank you, MrEricksonRules.
Leave a Reply