Reparations lack widespread backing among Americans, as consistently demonstrated by numerous polls. Despite the evident lack of public support, Democrats persist in putting forth proposals for a reparations measure.
In May, Representative Cori Bush (D-MO) presented House Resolution 414, asserting that the United States is morally and legally obligated to offer reparations to millions of black individuals within the nation. Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), a proponent of the resolution, contends that the federal government should bear the responsibility of compensating for the repercussions of slavery and its aftermath.
Bowman asserted that the government’s past investments in the American people during the space race and the pandemic serve as evidence that they are capable of undertaking similar initiatives. In an interview with the Journal News, the congressman argued that the government can fund reparations without imposing tax increases on anyone. The reparations measure proposed by “The Squad” members is estimated to incur a cost of $14 trillion for the country.
The Democratic representative inquired about the source of funds, asserting, “We spent it into existence.” He contended that the United States is under an obligation to compensate for the historical enslavement of black individuals, asserting that it has resulted in enduring harm. The proposed measure also tackles purported racial inequalities in mass incarceration and housing, aiming to eradicate the wealth disparity between white and black populations.
The proposal includes providing tuition-free college education to 107 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) nationwide and aims to reinstate voting rights for individuals with past or current incarceration experiences. Paradoxically, despite the bill’s assertion of addressing racial disparities, it would introduce new ones, as free college education is not extended to white individuals.
The bill has faced challenges in Congress for several months. With Republicans holding the majority in the House, and considering the prevailing lack of support for reparations among the majority of Americans, the prospect of the measure advancing through the committee is rather doubtful. Even if it were to pass the committee, the chances of it gaining approval in both the House and Senate are diminished.