How you may wind up paying for San Francisco’s reparations plan

April 21, 2023 in Columnists, News by RBN Staff


Source: The Hill


“Play stupid games, win stupid prizes” seems to be the conservative response to San Francisco’s proposed reparation plan, which would dole out $5 million to each Black resident. After all, paying for this latest obsession of the radical left would transform the city into a bankrupt “21st century Detroit.” If you live in California, you’ve probably figured out that at least part of the bill would fall on your doorstep. However, Americans around the nation — including those in conservative states — would likely be on the hook for California’s radical reparations payouts, as well.


FILE — Dr. Amos C. Brown, Jr., vice chair for the California Reparations Task Force, right, holds a copy of the book Songs of Slavery and Emancipation, as he and other members of the task force pose for photos at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., on June 16, 2022. Economists for a California reparations task force estimate the state owes Black residents at least $800 billion for harms in policing, housing and health. The preliminary estimate will be discussed at the Wednesday, March 29, 2023, meeting of the state reparations task force. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)



San Francisco’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee presented the plan, which includes not only millions in payouts to eligible Black residents, but also an elimination of all personal debt, guaranteed annual incomes of at least $97,000 for 250 years, and homes for Black residents for just $1. The city’s Board of Supervisors heard the proposal with enthusiasm, and its political make-up as perhaps the most left-wing city in the country may lead to its passage.

So far, the advisory committee has not explained where it will come up with the money to fund the plan. But don’t worry, the committee has a plan to figure out such details: a proposed “Office of Reparations,” at an additional cost of $50 million, would deal with the logistics of the payouts.

In reality, San Francisco — which already lost more than 6 percent of its population between 2019 and 2021 — cannot by itself afford the proposed reparations package that would be estimated to cost nearly $600,000 per household. Assuming that San Francisco attempts to pay for its Venezuela-on-steroids economic plan through legitimate means, it would have to lean heavily on California and large amounts of federal aid to cover the additional cost. California leaders inevitably will beg Washington for a federal bailout “to help working families,” thereby forcing residents in conservative states such as Texas, Florida and Arizona to fund San Francisco’s reparation payouts that they did not vote for and do not support.

The first stage of the reparations plans, those $5 million payouts, would alone total $175 billion. This is not only more than 10 times the city’s budget, but it is also larger than 47 states’ annual budgets. The combination of high crime, high taxes, and residents and businesses leaving San Francisco has blown a massive $291 million budget deficit in the city’s budget. That figure is projected to rise to over $1.2 billion in the next five years. Meanwhile, San Francisco already receives almost 10 percent of its budget dollars from federal and state aid. Even if that figure is doubled, or tripled, or even increased tenfold, there would not be anywhere near enough to cover the cost of reparations.

Should San Francisco pass comprehensive reparations, one thing is clear: The federal government, sooner or later, will be asked to pick up most of the tab. There are already ample precedents of this concept playing out during the pandemic, and it will happen again.

Many blue states requested and received the American Rescue Plan funding they needed to patch up their budget holes during COVID. This soft blue-state bailout helped spark our current rampant inflation and did little to nothing to help these states with their massive debt problem.

In fact, some of the funds provided to states and municipalities through President Biden’s rescue package were already used for reparations plans. Providence, R.I., put aside $10 million for its Municipal Reparations Commission, while Memphis’ home county approved a “soft” reparations plan of $5 million. And if San Francisco’s plan doesn’t go forward as planned, the state of California is planning a $360,000-per-Black resident reparations plan.

The push for reparations likely will not stop with just a small number of predominantly-blue cities. San Francisco has led the way on a number of increasingly deranged left-wing ideas, and unfortunately it will on this, too. By 2021, 11 mayors across the country — including those of Los Angeles, Boston, Berkeley, Calif., and St. Louis — pledged to pursue reparations. Each one of the municipalities that pass such reparations measures eventually will come to Washington for their own bailouts. And blue-collar workers across the country will pick up the tab.

Should a mechanic from Oklahoma City or a teacher in Wisconsin cover reparations payments they did not vote for?

There will be plenty of rhetoric about how the rich would pay for such a bailout or how a corporate tax hike will cover such “equity” costs. However, through a direct tax bill, or inflation due to massive new deficits, or economic instability, if cities such as San Francisco push through with economic hari-kari, you should expect the tab.

To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, the Democrats eventually will run out of other people’s money.

Kristin Tate is a libertarian writer and an analyst for Young Americans for Liberty. She is an author whose latest book is “How Do I Tax Thee? A Field Guide to the Great American Rip-Off.” Follow her on Twitter @KristinBTate.