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Obama giving black farmers $1.25 billion in Reparations

Posted by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 6:15 PM
  • 24 Replies

Obama Giving Black Farmers $1.25B in Reparations

By: Theodore Kettle

Black farmers – possibly over 70,000 of them – will get cash payments and debt relief from the federal government totaling $1.25 billion, in reparation for alleged racial discrimination suffered under the Department of Agriculture’s loan programs, the Obama Administration has agreed.

The president announced the deal on Thursday, applauding Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Attorney General Eric Holder for “bringing these long-ignored claims of African American farmers to a rightful conclusion.”

The Washington Post called the settlement “part of a wider effort by Obama and senior officials to dispense with lawsuits stemming from America’s checkered civil rights legacy.”

House Majority Whip and Congressional Black Caucus member James Clyburn cheered the deal. “History has taught us to never give up when fighting for what is right,” he said in a statement. “What happened to these black farmers was wrong, and we now have the opportunity to make it right.”

Clyburn said, “I thank President Obama for his leadership on this issue” adding that “I especially want to congratulate my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus for keeping the focus on the plight of black farmers.”

Congress, as well as a federal judge, will have to approve the deal. The Justice Department told the Post that claims up to $50,000 will be able to be made to the government through a streamlined process, while larger claims will require more detail in the evidence a victim provides of government discrimination. The charges made by thousands of black farmers, with culpability finally accepted by Washington, accuse the USDA of decades of racist practices.

That $1.25 billion is only a fraction, however, of the sum that the reparations movement has called for to compensate for all the injustices committed against blacks in American history.

The National Legal and Policy Center some years ago examined slave reparations activism and found one proponent calling for the federal government “to pay $500,000 to every slave descendant,” which would total “more than $15 trillion and require a surtax of roughly $50,000 on each non-African American man, woman and child in this country (the median family income is not even that high).”

Another estimate from a 1990s Harper’s magazine article calculated that reparations would cost $97 trillion – based on 222,505,049 hours of forced labor between 1619 and 1865, plus 6% compounded interest.

Pointing to “the staggering breadth of America’s crime against us,” TransAfrica founder Randall Robinson in his book, “The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks,” argued that “Solutions must be tailored to the scope of the crime in a way that would make the victim whole. In this case, the psychic and economic injury is enormous, multidimensional and long-running. Thus must be America’s restitution to blacks for the damage done.”

According to the reparations mindset, therefore, President Obama’s $1.25 billion for 70,000-plus black farmers is hardly even a beginning

by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 6:15 PM
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Replies (1-10):
lookingforlogic
by Member on Jul. 12, 2010 at 6:19 PM

Institutional racism in America is our most disgraceful legacy.  I agree that this is fair.

TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Jul. 12, 2010 at 6:22 PM

 This is the first time I've ever heard of this happening. Absolutely disgraceful. If they were inindeed discriminated against they deserve reparation.

tornados4
by Bronze Member on Jul. 12, 2010 at 6:32 PM

so then you also agree that government should pay 5 hundred thousand dollars to every slave desendant, as well?

Quoting lookingforlogic:

Institutional racism in America is our most disgraceful legacy.  I agree that this is fair.


candlegal
by Judy on Jul. 12, 2010 at 6:34 PM

wow

TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Jul. 12, 2010 at 6:36 PM

   This is a completely separate issue. These farmers were denied aid and loans based on the color of their skin. This did not happen 400 years ago, it is or was happening now.

Quoting tornados4:

so then you also agree that government should pay 5 hundred thousand dollars to every slave desendant, as well?

Quoting lookingforlogic:

Institutional racism in America is our most disgraceful legacy.  I agree that this is fair.

 

 

    Different, but not less~Temple Grandin

candlegal
by Judy on Jul. 12, 2010 at 6:38 PM

I am pretty sure of that.


Quote:

According to the reparations mindset, therefore, President Obama’s $1.25 billion for 70,000-plus black farmers is hardly even a beginning

stormcris
by Christy on Jul. 12, 2010 at 6:45 PM

So is he likewise going to give the same treatment to the Hispanic farmers who have laid claims?

These people missed a deadline to file for compensation and they reopened it in 2008 and now we are reopening it again which if my count is correct is the 5th extension.

katy_kay
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 6:47 PM

Am I wrong in thinking this "news" is from February of this year?  

Here is more on the case: 

Black farmers: Government to fund racial bias settlement

By Paul Courson, CNN
February 18, 2010 6:35 p.m. EST

Washington (CNN) -- The head of the National Black Farmers Association said Thursday the U.S. government has agreed to pay qualified farmers $50,000 each to settle claims of racial bias.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said those farmers may also pursue a claim for actual damages from the bias, and potentially receive up to $250,000.

The settlement, which covers as many as 80,000 black farmers at a price of more than $1 billion, still needs to be funded by Congress, both sides acknowledged Thursday.

The 2010 farm bill, still pending in Congress, includes more than $1 billion to cover the compensation claims.

In a written statement Thursday, President Obama said his administration "is dedicated to ensuring that federal agencies treat all our citizens fairly, and the settlement in the Pigford case reflects that commitment."

The Pigford case was decided in favor of black farmers by a federal judge's ruling in 1999.

The head of the farmers group, John Boyd, said: "It's really theDepartment of Agriculture agreeing to pay, the Justice Department agreeing to pay and our lawyers agreeing to the process."

In a conference telephone call with reporters, Vilsack said racial bias unquestionably took place in his agency over many years.

He gave an example of two farmers, one white, one black, applying for a farm loan with an office of the USDA.

The white farmer's application "was processed rapidly, it was approved, and resources were quickly available to enable him to put a crop in," Vilsack said. The application from the black farmer "was denied without due diligence on whether he had the capacity to repay, or else he or she was strung out over such a long period of time that they couldn't put in a crop," Vilsack said.

The result, Vilsack said, was that "in some cases they lost the farm."

This month Boyd's group organized demonstrations throughout historically black agricultural areas of the South, including areas in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia.

The rallies wrapped up Monday as a small group of activists gathered outside the Agriculture Department in Washington. Boyd and other demonstrators expressed frustration that Congress has yet to approve a budget that would pay for the 1999 class action settlement in the case.

Part of the reason lawmakers were reluctant in the past to provide funding, Vilsack said, was their concern that no agreement -- such as the one announced Thursday -- was on the table.

He described a two-track process in which black farmers could receive a flat $50,000 payout with minimal proof linking discrimination to the denial of federal farm support.

A more rigorous system of proof could establish actual damages and yield a potential payout up to $250,000, depending on how many other claimants also prove their cases to draw from the funding provided by Congress.

Boyd acknowledged "not everyone will qualify" for the payments.

"It's still a victory that their claims will be reviewed as a result of this agreement, which at least gives them a chance and keeps this out of courts, where no one gets any money," he said.

Vilsack, noting the farm bill is still awaiting approval, said he didn't think "anybody in Congress doubts there's a responsibility to settle." However, if no funding exists by the end of March, farmers can walk away from the agreement if they desire, he said.

Boyd said he will meet Friday with the staffs of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to affirm that the agreement should be funded.

ymadaris2
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 7:02 PM

what is wrong with some people. somebody got things twisted. this is not slavery days. your forefathers or mothers is not hear. can the bulls**** if the farmers need the money yes i agree. if the people was green, blue, orange,  would any body still complain.

Della529
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 7:06 PM

 Yes, it is.  This from Newsmax.com "Sunday, 21 Feb 2010 09:55 PM "

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/obama-reparations-black-farmers/2010/02/21/id/350458

I wonder if it was funded by Congress.

Quoting katy_kay:

Am I wrong in thinking this "news" is from February of this year?  

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