Like many deep-blue states, California has its share of deep-rooted problems. From a surge in violent crime, homelessness, and drug overdoses to a giant budget shortfall, a population exodus, and a power grid on the brink of collapse, the Golden State is suffering from multiple crises.
Yet, instead of addressing these problems and actually making life better for the 39 million Americans who currently live in California, Golden State lawmakers are focused on identity politics in the form of a comprehensive reparations plan that one California lawmaker says, “will be a blueprint for America.”
So, what does the California Reparations Task Force (CRTF) “blueprint for America” look like?
For starters, the CRTF seeks to provide all eligible Black Californians with a lump sum payment of $5 million. On top of that, eligible residents would also receive “free” college, “free” housing, and total debt forgiveness, among several other government goodies.
According to California Reparations Task Force Chair Kamilah Moore, “I hope that… this task force sets a precedent not only for what other states can do… but, of course, the federal government as well because it's primarily the federal government's responsibility. They are the entity that has the big enough purse, for instance, to close the wealth gap, and so I do think that the task force is headed in the right direction in terms of that precedent-setting.”
If Moore gets her wish, and other states follow California down the reparations road, the economic and social repercussions would be terrible. If the federal government were to embark on a similar quest, it would spell the end of America as we know it.
First, it must be stated that slavery never existed in California. In fact, California was a free state that fought alongside the Union against the Confederacy during the Civil War. That alone should make the reparations conversation in California moot.
Second, California (and every other state for that matter) does not have billions of dollars at its disposal to redistribute to a sliver of its population. Currently, California’s population is 39 percent Hispanic, 35 percent White, 5 percent Asian, and 4 percent Black. Is it fair to force 95 percent of Californians, all of whom had absolutely nothing to do with a reprehensible institution that was outlawed more than 150 years ago, to pay enormous sums of money to 4 percent of the population simply based on their skin color? Of course not. Actually, that is the very essence of racism.
Third, if California lawmakers really wanted to help its Black residents and close the wealth gap, one-time payments and other government handouts will not make the situation better, it arguably will make it worse.
Consider. Since the start of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “war on poverty,” the federal government has spent $22 trillion on various wealth redistribution programs. Yet, over that span, the rate of poverty remains unchanged.
Perhaps this is because giving some people other people’s money is an incentive for the former to remain indolent. In other words, government checks breed dependence on government.
On the other hand, if California lawmakers were actually interested in addressing the plight of many of the Black residents who live in the Golden State, they ought to take a forward-looking approach that would include an increased police presence, a tough on crime approach, lower taxes, fewer regulations, and commonsense policies that would make energy affordable and abundant.
And, if these same lawmakers were really audacious and genuinely wanted to throw a wrench into the cycle of poverty that has entrapped so many Black Californians, they would do everything in their power to ensure that universal school choice was the norm in the Golden State. It also would help if these so-called leaders addressed the elephant in the room: the breakdown of the Black family, which is arguably the biggest driver of poverty and so many other societal problems.
However, these are difficult conversations for leftist lawmakers, who always view more government wealth redistribution as the answer to everything. It is much easier for politicians to propose a superficial solution, like reparation payments, even though time has shown that giving people money doesn’t solve deep-seated, complex problems.
I hope the rest of the country does not follow California’s lead on this issue. Once upon a time, Americans flocked to California because it was the land of freedom and opportunity. Today, Americans are fleeing California because it has become the land of big government socialism and identity politics. Suffice to say, this is not the path that other states, or the federal government, want to tread.