Reparations Time?

If you squint closely enough, you can detect Gavin Newsom edging ever so slightly to the right in preparation for running for president in 2024. (Pay no attention to his disavowal of a 2024 run the other day; he only ruled out challenging Biden. If Biden withdraws on his own, Newsom 2024 will be on!) He opposed a recent proposal to raise incomes taxes yet again on the top 1 percent of income earners in California. And he’s suddenly demanding California cities get tougher on homelessness. In fact if you look closely some liberal California cities—even Berkeley and Oakland—are clearing out some of the more conspicuous homeless encampments. They are doing this very quietly, so as not to upset progressives.

I wonder how Newsom is going to react to the news that the commission he set in motion to study whether California should pay reparations for slavery has reported in with a recommendation that all descendants of slaves in California should be granted $223,200 per person, at an estimated total cost of $569 billion. This at a time when California is suddenly facing a $25 billion budget deficit (though I predict it will double to $50 billion or more by next spring). I wonder how Newsom will distance himself from this recommendation. And how will California hispanics, Vietnamese refugees, and other minority groups feel about being made to pay for reparations for one single class of people who have faced racial hostility in America’s past? I can think of few things that will drive more hispanic voters to Republicans than this proposal.

And how much would this proposal cost if it went national? I’ll need to do some math, but an easy conservative guess is that it would cost several trillion dollars. That’s a winning platform for 2024! But just how would Newsom back away from a national reparations scheme if he embraces it in California?

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