Is it Logical for the US federal government to pay reparations to African Americans
Debate Rounds (3)
Con, in your remarks you seems to be conceding that while reparations might be fair, they are impractical because they 1. " would ruin our economy", 2. cause the government to "lose money", 3. that there is no specific recipient to whom the "money would go" and finally 4. it is unclear who "would pay" for these reparations.
To answer these claims, I will first phrase the debate in a fashion that allows for a clear policy objective to be conceived. Reparations can take many forms: such as cash allotments, privileges, or public goods (direct payments, affirmative action, and investment in public works in minority communities).
In this debate I argue that a specific form of reparations, "high quality and free public elementary education" for all African Americans is both logical and feasible. But even if you don"t 100% agree with me on this point, if you believe some reparations are practical and feasible then you must side with my opinion on this matter and reject my opponent"s stance that reparations are impractical and unfeasible.
To make my claim that high quality education is feasible for all African American students, I note that the most expensive town in America has average private school tuition of about $27,000 per year (1), that Black student enrollment is projected to fluctuate between 7.7 million and 7.9 million between 2013 and 2024 (2), and that the federal annual budget spending on defense alone for 2015 is $814 million and total federal government of around $6.2 trillion (3). So, if we improved educational spending so that every black student in the country was going to a school that was as costly as expensive as the most expensive town in the country then the cost of education would be $213 billion per year.
While clearly this is an exaggerated value for the cost of providing a quality education for this population, the total cost to the federal government is only about a quarter the cost of the armed forces or 18% of the total federal budget. This ignores the not insubstantial expenditure already paid for educating this population. So, now that it is clear that such expenditure is feasible. I will address the four points brought up by my opponent.
1. Reparations would ruin the economy
The US economy is huge. The GDP of the US is 18.124 trillion dollars as of 2015 (4). It is hard for me to imagine the degree of reparations necessary that would result in the economy being "ruined". However, my belief is that failing to make reparations to this critically vulnerable segment of the population disproportionately harmed by historic US policies is a primary source of cyclical crime. Currently there are 2.3 million African Americans incarcerated costing about $70 billion per year (5). This cost may be reduced if quality educational opportunities were available and it is not hard to imagine secondary benefits of higher quality educational such as unforeseen technological innovations.
2. Federal Government would Lose Money
One must spend money to make money. If we think that high quality education has the possibility of moving some non-trivial portion of the African American population from the poverty line ($11,770) (6) to the lower bound of middle class ($38,200) (6) there are significant potential benefits. Assuming that rising incomes to middle class from poverty level reflect genuine value to society of labor, the gain for each person who has been raised to middle class is $26 thousand per year and over 20 years $529 thousand. Since I am asking for an investment of $27 thousand per year per student over 12 years this would amount to $324 thousand from first grade to twelfth. Taking the cost to benefit ratio (324/529), if 61% of students who would otherwise be impoverished moved instead to earn middle-class incomes, then the entire cost of the program would be paid for from this reward.
3. Who would the money go to?
It is pretty clear that the vast majority of African Americans are either victims or children of victims of racial violence.
4. Who would pay for it?
There is an enormous federal budget (paid for by the American people) of which some non-trivial portion could be allocated to reparations in the form of improved public education.
In this debate, I argue that reparations in the form of high-quality education for all African American primary school students are both feasible and just. I support the justice of such reparations based on the intuitive notion that if you cause harm to others you should attempt to rectify that harm. This should be true between peoples as well as individuals. I argue that reparations can be provided in the form of high quality education for all African American youth costing no more than a private education in the most expensive town in the US. Thus we need not spend more money on education than an estimated $213 billion or 18% of the total federal budget.
RightSideRising forfeited this round.
RightSideRising forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 1 year ago
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