The Reparations Pipe Dream and the Tax Cut Reality

by Kevin Martin


A New Visions Commentary paper published June 2003 by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Ct., N.E., Washington, DC 20002, 202/543-4110, Fax 202-543-5975, E-Mail, Web Reprints permitted provided source is credited.

Just when I think I finally have our black "leaders" all figured out, they throw me another curve ball.

In the Chicago Sun Times, Jesse Jackson recently railed against the Bush Administration's tax cut, repeating the worn-out liberal mantra that tax cuts only benefit the wealthy. He warned that Medicaid, Medicare and funding for public schools is in danger. It's kinda funny to hear this argument from a rich man such as Jackson who sent his kids to private school.

But I'm left completely stupefied. If billions of dollars in tax cuts spread out over years endanger all types of social programs and create deficits, then why does Jackson support what might end up totaling trillions of dollars to pay "reparations" to the descendents of slaves?

You'd be a fool to fall for the reparations scam. I'm sure Jackson, the NAACP, Congressman John Conyers and the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA) know that neither political party would actually try to enact this political hot potato. When Senator Hillary Clinton appeared on CNBC host Chris Matthew's Hardball "College Tour" from Albany, New York, she shocked a young black student who asked her if she supported the concept of reparations. Senator Clinton - a liberal superstar - replied with a flat-out "no."

In my opinion, reparations are meant to "entertain" black America. It keeps us occupied by and beholden to the old guard black leaders. Since slavery is a common bond and so many of us can trace our ancestors to that era, these leaders can claim they are still fighting for our liberation.

When the United Nations sponsored its so-called Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa nearly two years ago, every left-wing black activist in America seemed to jump at the chance to push reparations to the forefront of international headlines.

The UN's racism conference, however, was doomed from the start. Black activists watched in horror as Yasser Arafat and other radical Arabs turned it into a soapbox to bash Israel. The Bush Administration, of course, was criticized for not sending Secretary of State Colin Powell. But, while pro-reparations activists blamed Powell's absence in part for the conference's failure, they remained silent about the departure of congressional liberals when things got uncomfortable.

Dejected Congressional Black Caucus members and reparation activists tried to put the best spin possible on the conference, even remaining to the end to make the claim that they were still fighting for what black Americans are owed by the United States. I contend they are just fighting to keep us on the plantation, bowing at the feet of their liberal big government benefactors.

If we're to accept the notion that cash can heal the wounds that slavery inflicted, I believe it's then valid to say that President Bush has done more to help black Americans than all of the blustering of the pro-reparations crowd. How? By giving us that tax cut that has Jesse Jackson so flustered.

One of N'CORBA's reparations demands is "immediate tax relief" for all black Americans. The current round of tax cuts could be seen as reparations for the months we slave to meet our tax obligations. In 2003, "Tax Freedom Day" - the day we stop working solely to pay Uncle Sam - fell on April 19 (109 days!). When an estimated 16 million black Americans receive tax relief, this date will retreat.

Our so-called leaders can keep their reparations pipe dream. I'll take my tax cut and invest it in the future and my family. The past is behind me. I can't change things there.


(Kevin Martin is a member of Project 21 who owns an environmental contracting firm in the Washington, DC area. He can be reached at

Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.




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