Math Hard for San Francisco Reparations Advocates

( – Many found it difficult to believe when San Francisco’s government announced in January that it believes the city should pay each black resident $5 million in “reparations” for the enslavement of black people that ended in the U.S. in 1865.

They may find it even more difficult to believe how the city came to this conclusion.

“There wasn’t a math formula,” city consultant Eric McDonnell told the Washington Post.

Using the familiar language of progressive government, McDonnell, chairman of the city’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee, said the committee was on a “journey” to find out how much to “invest in families”. He said chattel slavery, which ended almost 150 years ago, had “destroyed” black opportunities.

Slavery was never legal in San Francisco, though that does not give pause to reparations advocates. They claim that continuing discriminatory practices by the San Francisco government have harmed black people to such a degree that, apparently, only the sum of $5 million each will balance the scales.

Not every local agrees. Civil rights attorney Leo Terrell, who is black, said the reparations plan is obviously unconstitutional.

There are 50,000 black residents of San Francisco. It is not clear how the city would determine which of them were “black enough,” or were sufficiently harmed, to qualify for the multi-million-dollar payout.

Nor does anyone seem to know how San Francisco would generate enough revenue to pay that amount to even a fraction of the city’s black residents.

City supervisors Hillary Ronen said she wished San Francisco “had this kind of money,” but it doesn’t.

Ronen’s fellow Supervisor Shamann Walton said some locals proposed funding the reparations through a tax on marijuana, but that tax has been suspended for years. It appears likely that it will remain suspended when the question has to be decided again in 2025. But the tax would not even come close to funding this project.

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