Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) said this week that the United States could pay for the cost of reparations in a similar fashion to the emergency COVID funding passed in 2020 and 2021. The statement came after studies in San Francisco and the state of California indicated that reparations payments could be larger than the city and state’s entire budgets.
Bowman compared a possible reparations plan to other challenges the country has faced, including the space race and the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
“When COVID was destroying us, we invested in the American people in a way that kept the economy afloat,” he said. “The government can invest the same way in reparations without raising taxes on anyone.”
“Where did the money come from? We spent it into existence,” he added.
Bowman is a member of the left-wing “Squad” which includes Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
'Squad' lawmaker explains 'creative' way to pay $14 trillion in slavery reparations: 'Moral and legal obligation' https://t.co/V3kMreCtlD via @nypost >><> Isn't there a fire alarm somewhere in the world that needs pulling? Go there and pull it.
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) January 18, 2024
He is also a sponsor of H.R. 414, which states that the country has “a moral and legal obligation to provide reparations for the enslavement of Africans and its lasting harm on the lives of millions of Black people in the United States.”
If passed, the bill would spend $14 trillion in reparations payments.
California commissioned a panel to study reparations under Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). Despite months of research, the committee proposed a reparations plan that could have given each Black resident more than $1 million.
The committee stated that proposed payments would simply be a “down payment” to make up for the legacy of slavery and racial discrimination.
The group’s 500-page report stated that even “160 years after the abolition of slavery, its badges and incidents remain embedded in the political, legal, health, financial, educational, cultural, environmental, social and economic systems of the United States of America.”
Should the formula the Reparations Task Force used to calculate proposed payments be followed, the total cost to taxpayers in California alone could be above $800 billion. The current California state budget, which is facing a major deficit, is less than $300 billion.
Despite backing the creation of the California Reparations Task Force, Newsom did not endorse any specific form of reparations.