African Americans Need a Basic Income not Reparations Talk

The numbers show African Americans need a basic income not talk about reparations.

Unfortunately, many politicians want to talk about reparations for slavery rather than real solutions like the basic income. For example, US Senator and presidential candidate Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) supports a bill to establish a committee to study reparations, Axios reports.

In detail, the commission will study slavery, racism, and discrimination and the possibility of reparations. Thus, Booker wants a commission to tell us what we already know; that slavery, racism, and discrimination are bad and hurt black people.

Consequently, Booker has no plans to pay one cent to a single black person. Instead, the Senator wants to pay a group of overpaid intellectuals and academics to study and discuss well-known history.

African Americans need Money not a Reparations Commission

Booker’s reparations farce is tragic because African Americans are suffering from terrible income inequality and poverty now.

For instance, Median Household Income for a black American home was $36,651 in 2018, Black Demographics calculates. In contrast, the Median Household income for all American families was $55,332 in 2018.

Thus, a typical African-American household makes $18,981 less than a typical US family. Moreover, if you divide $36,651 by 2.53; the average number of people in American household according to Statista, you get a black individual income of $14,660 a year.

Conversely, the US Census Bureau estimates the average per capita income for blacks at $18,802 a year, Black Demographics claims. Moreover, the Census Bureau calculates the average per capita income for all Americans at $27,319 a year. Thus the average American is making very little money.

On the other hand, the average U.S. black family income in 2018 was $40,946. Black Demographics estimates. Meanwhile, the average income for all US families was $62,527 a year. Thus the average African American family makes $22,031 less a year than everyone else.

African Americans Need a Basic Income not Reparations

Hence, reparations advocates’ focus on economic justice is correct. The data indicates income inequality; and a lack of money, are the biggest problems facing Black Americans today.

Tragically, reparations advocates like Booker have no plan to increase African Americans’ incomes. Instead, they want a discussion of reparations,  likely to go nowhere.

In fact, 74% of Americans oppose slavery reparations according to a 2016 Marist Poll. Consequently, any reparations effort will fail. Thus, politicians like Booker try to fool black voters with reparations bills.

Basic Income is Realistic Reparations is not

Conversely, a basic income has net support among working-class whites, Data for Progress claims. In addition, the lowest-educated whites; probable Trump voters, were strong supports of a basic income.

To explain, a basic income is a set amount of money paid by the government to every citizen or most citizens. Moreover, advocates like the presidential candidate Andrew Yang (D-New York) are proposing basic income as a solution to America’s growing income inequality.

Interestingly, Yang is attracting a surprising amount of support for his campaign; which focuses on basic income and technological unemployment. For instance, Yang raised $1.8 million in contributions during 1st Quarter 2019, more than former Housing Secretary Julian Castro (D-Texas), CNN calculates.

Can Andrew Yang Make Basic Income a Reality?

Importantly, most of that money comes from small contributors. Moreover, Yang is making a clever and strategic use of those funds.

In fact, Yang outspent every potential presidential candidate; save Donald J. Trump (R-New York), in Facebook ad buys from 7 April to 13 April 2019, NBC News claims. To clarify, Yang spent $154,840 and Trump’s supporters spent $161,285 on Facebook ads that week.

Finally, The New York Times’ Kevin Roose thinks Yang’s “viral popularity on social media feels reminiscent of the “meme army” that helped lift President Trump to victory in 2016.” Oddly, even some white supremacists and neo-Nazis support Yang, which proves Basic Income’s popularity.

Notably, Emerson Polling shows Yang is more popular than well-known Democrats. The April 11-14 Emerson Poll places Yang at 3% tied with Castro, and ahead of US Senators; Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota).

An Basic Income is Possible and will Help Black People

Thus, an American Basic Income; unlike reparations, is possible, but not probable right now.

Importantly, a basic income will help black people. For example, Yang’s $1,000 a month Freedom Dividend could raise the income of an African American household to $48,651 a year. Note: I base this number on two adults receiving the Freedom Dividend which begins at age 18.

In addition, the Freedom Dividend could raise the annual median income for a black family to $52,946. Plus, a Freedom Dividend could raise BlackDemographics’ individual income for African Americans to $30,102 a year.

Interestingly, the Freedom Dividend could raise the median income of a black family with two kids to $88,946 if it covers children under 18. Note: I base this calculation on the classic American family of husband, wife, and two kids. However, Yang’s scheme does not cover children for reasons I cannot comprehend.

The Basic Income will Help Everybody

Moreover, the basic income will help all the Americans left out of the United States’ breakneck growth. That will include most blacks, and many whites.

For instance, the average white household in West Virginia is now economically “black.” To explain, the real median household income in West Virginia in 2017 was $43,469 the Department of Numbers calculates. In comparison, the US median household income in 2017 was $60,336.

Furthermore, the median household income in West Virginia fell by -1.92% in 2017. Meanwhile, the 2017 national median household income grew by 2.51%. Moreover, West Virginia is one of our whitest states; the US Census Bureau classifies 93.6% of West Virginians as “white.”

Basic Income can unite Working Whites with People of color

However, West Virginia is politically potent. The state has two U.S. Senators to represent its 1.806 million people.

Plus, West Virginia could help elect the next president because it it has five Electoral College Votes. Notably, President Donald J. Trump (R-New York) received around 58% of West Virginia’s popular vote in 2016.

Hence, a basic income plank could help a candidate like Yang carry states like West Virginia and reach the White House. Therefore, a basic income is realistic politically while reparations is not.

Specifically, the Freedom Dividend would increase the median household income in West Virginia to $67,469 a year. Thus, Andrew Yang could have a lot of appeal in that state.

Basic Income could become the basis of a New Political Coalition

An astute politician who advocates basic income could build a powerful new political coalition of working-class whites and people of color.

Tellingly, a net majority of working-class whites, a net majority of working-class people of color; and a net majority of college-educated people of color support basic income, Data for Progress claims. Thus, the support for the basic income is there if somebody will tap it.

Unfortunately, politicians and intellectuals are too busy obsessing on the past to notice the dismal reality and bleak future that most blacks and other Americans face. However, those thought leaders will have to face that reality because technology is making it worse.

We need to talk about Technological Unemployment not Reparations

For example, the Union of Concerned Scientists predicts self-driving cars will make income inequality worse. In particular, the Union speculates autonomous vehicles will harm “low-income communities and communities of color.”

We should take notice, because autonomous vehicles are on our streets now. In fact, Alphabet’s (NYSE: GOOG) autonomous vehicle subsidiary Waymo is ordering 62,000 minivans for ride share from Fiat Chrysler (NYSE: FCAU), Reuters reports.

Moreover, robots are filling jobs historically held by people of color and the poor. Specifically, Walmart (NYSE: WMT); America’s largest grocer and retailer, is researching the possibility of using Flippy the robot fry cook in its delis, Yahoo reports. Moreover, Flippy will join hundreds of robot janitors Walmart is deploying in its stores.

Americans of all colors need leaders willing to talk about technological unemployment rather than slavery; a problem our ancestors solved 154 years ago. Unless we forget reparations and work for a basic income; income inequality, racism, and poverty will get worse in America.