Reparations for Black Californians Would Cost the State $800 BILLION, Economists Estimate
It’s difficult to put a number to the cost of decades of systemic discrimination, but the state of California is attempting to do just that in its debate over a potential reparations program for Black residents. According to economists, compensation would cost an eye-watering $800 billion—2.5 times the state’s annual budget. “We’ve got to go in with an open mind and come up with some creative ways to deal with this,” said lawmaker Reggie Jones-Sawyer, who sits on a task force examining reparations that was formed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. The sum recommended by economists would amount to nearly $225,000 for every Californian affected by the discriminatory housing practice of “redlining,” as well as $125,000 for those harmed by disparities in policing and incarceration during the “war on drugs”—events that occurred long after the abolition of slavery in a state that never officially endorsed it.