Economists Quietly Drop Their Estimates For California 

( California officials have been debating the merits of a reparations program that would repay the descendants of American slavery for all the trials and tribulations that they and their ancestors were forced to go through in America. 

Many ideas have been thrown around about how to best do this, though it hasn’t been clear to this point how much it would all cost. Now, a recent report has shed light on the actual financial figures. 

The Associated Press reported this week that the reparations program that’s been tossed around in California would cost the state as much as $800 billion. For some perspective, the state’s annual budget totals around $300 billion. 

Those figures prompted Reggie Jones-Sawyer, who serves on the state Assembly in California, to say: 

“We’ve got to go in with an open mind and come up with some creative ways to deal with this.” 

Even more shocking is the fact that the $800 billion estimate doesn’t even include repaying people who lost some land or who had a business that was affected in a negative way by actions that were taken by a government that was motivated by race in some way. 

The committee that is working on the plan for reparations has a deadline of July 1 of this year to determine a final cost estimate that they must then present to lawmakers in the state.  

There are many people who are opposed to the reparations plan, especially since California was never a slave state. As such, they don’t believe that reparations make any sense for the government to move forward with. 

In addition to the state government in California, the Berkeley Unified School District is also considering a proposal that would provide reparations to Black students. The district is planning to create a committee that would recommend what actions the school board could take. It’s expected that the committee would recommend giving cash payments to people as part of the program.  

Trish McDermott, a spokeswoman for the school district, commented to the San Francisco Chronicle: 

“We believe this is a critical conversation for school districts to have at this moment as educators look to better address the opportunity gap of Black students.” 

A community group in Berkeley was the one that urged the school district to consider paying reparations to Black students, according to McDermott. She didn’t elaborate on the group any more than that.  

During a recent school board meeting, Board President Laura Babitt said: 

“The need for reparations in response to the institution of U.S. slavery has existed for over 150 years, but it has recently taken on an increased public attention. We have heard you, and with the support of the board that was expressed at the last board meeting, I am pleased to announce the creation of the Berkeley Unified School District’s Reparations Task Force.” 

Reparations were first made available to Black residents in the town of Evanston, an Illinois suburb of Chicago.