12 August 2006

heading 14; in which reparations are still due

  • Aug 12, 2006

heading 14; in which reparations are still due

Imagine this:
Take two people: same age, same race, same education, same skills and intelligence, etc.  You give one $10,000 and set him out into the world.  You give the other nothing, and set him out in the world.  Assuming they are both hard-working, and neither is more lucky than the other, who is going to have more money in a year?  Who will have more in 50 years?  Who will have more to pass down to their children?
In no other time or place besides the United States were slaves considered live stock.  Slaves were historically usually prisoners of war.  In the US they were considered farm animals.

 Everyone should have learned this in high school history class:

The first permanent English colony, Jamestown: 1607
First African slaves brought to English colonies: 1619
Revolutionary war ends: 1783
Civil War ends: 1865
Desegregation of schools: 1955
Jim Crow / Civil Rights movement: 1950s-1960s

 From the time of the first colony, European Americans were able to earn and save money, and accumulate wealth which they could pass down via inheritance.  Certainly since the revolution ended European American's property was theirs, and their success was largely dependent on how smart they were and how hard they worked. 
The slaves which the vast majority of today's African Americans descended from were not allowed to keep property, and in fact were not even paid for their labor.  While they were legally "freed" after the civil war, segregation was legal, they could not vote, and few whites, (who already owned all the land and companies) would hire them.  Segregation was formally outlawed in 1955, and the civil rights movement of the 1960s was the first time they were fully allowed to have the same opportunities that whites had.
 So consider the dates above in another way:
 (assuming the average person starts a family at 20, which is young by today's standards, but not so strange for people in the 1800s)

time from Jamestown to present: 398 years (20 generations)
time from revolution to today: 222 years (11 gen)
time from end of civil war to today: 140 years (7 Gen)
time from civil rights movement to today: 40 years (2 Gen)

In other words, the difference in time for European Americans to accumulate wealth vs. African Americans is 358 years (18 generations)

When they were set free, they were supposed to each get 40 acres and a mule - this was specifically to make up for what I just pointed out. 
But for some reason that never happened...

For 246 years the United States got free labor from African Americans. 
This is more time than from the civil war to today.
The country never re-paid that debt. 
Thousands of employees, working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 258 years. 

Today we have to pay it in other ways.  We have several choices as to how to repay it. 

We can pay for cops and prisons, because poor people are more likely to commit crime.  
We can pay for welfare.  
Or - we can pay for higher education, so that the poor have a chance to get the good jobs that will mean they don't need welfare or crime to get by.  
In fact, we do a little of each - but with a trend toward more of the former as a result of less of the latter.

There is, in fact, a very easy way to level the playing field for everyone, but no one will like it, even though it is entirely fair.
100% tax on UN-EARNED income.  If you did not EARN your money, you don't DESERVE it!
 Especially inheritance.  When your parents die and leave you money, you didn't do anything to earn that money, and yet we feel we are somehow entitled to it.  
Use that money, first of all, to make preschool and kindergarten universal.  Going to those early education or not has consistently been found to have a greater impact on future success than what particular district, schools or teachers, a child has.  Then use some to make the first two years of college free for everyone.  Re-distribute any left over wealth among every one.

If we tax all inheritance, re-distribute it equally, and equalize educational opportunity, then no one has any excuse for how they end up.  Success will be truly merit based.  
Then, it would be valid, if blacks are still poor, to say they are just lazy, or dumb, or whatever.  

Unfortunately, people think that taxing unearned income is immoral, so it'll never happen.  (of course, they do it in communist countries, but then, that has it's whole host of other problems). 
Earning money via interest from loans or the stock market is also not merit based, not based on how hard you work, but based solely on how much you already have (no matter how you got the capital in the first place). 
Jews, Christians, and Muslims should all know that the Bible forbids charging interest (as well as holding any debt more than 7 years, or holding back wages overnight) - although for some reason only the Muslims bother to follow that law...

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