Economists Say California Reparations Plan Could Cost Up to $800 Billion

( – California’s plan to distribute reparations to black residents could cost the state over $800 billion, which was reported by economists to a state panel considering the payouts.

The stated reasons for the proposed compensation are to make up for generations of housing discrimination, over-policing, and disproportionate rates of incarceration of black Californians.

The estimated $800 billion cost is nearly three times California’s existing annual budget of $300 billion, not including an additional recommended $1 million for each older black resident to compensate for health disparities that shorten the average life span. Two other harms that the task force claims the state of California perpetrated which aren’t included in the estimate are the seizing of property by the government and the devaluation of black businesses.

The proposed funding was calculated by a consulting team made up of five economists and policy experts, although their proposed number may not be adopted by the state because of the high cost.

The reparations task force will meet to discuss the numbers on Wednesday and will either vote on adopting the consulting team’s suggestions or come up with more realistic figures to carry out the plan. Even after the task force settles on a number, black residents may be waiting a long time for reparations as the final say is determined by the state Assembly, the Senate, and the governor.

One of the task force lawmakers, Assembly member Reggie Jones-Sawyer, said other lawmakers have “to go in with an open mind and come up with some creative ways to deal with this.” In a January interview, Jones-Sawyer said reparations should go beyond financial compensation and California’s actions should also become a national blueprint for other states.

To be eligible for a payout, certain requirements must be met, including California residency as well as proof of descendency from enslaved and freed black Americans in the U.S. up to the 19th century, leaving out black immigrants.

Reparations are a controversial plan, and it’s not clear if such policies will improve race relations in America or make things even worse.

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