Radical Dem Squad Demands $14 Trillion in Federal Reparations for Descendants of Slaves: Massive Bill Funded by Reducing Defense Spending 

Several House Democrats, led by Representative Cori Bush, introduced a resolution on Thursday to reignite pressure for federal reparations that would equal over half of the U.S.’s GDP. 

The resolution states the U.S. has a ‘legal and moral’ obligation to issue reparations for the enslavement of Black people and calls for the payment of $14 trillion. During a press conference, Bush said the amount is “at least the amount of the black-white wealth gap.”

The entire GDP of the United States was $25 trillion in 2022. The country is already $31.4 trillion in debt, with lawmakers locked in contentious negotiations over potential budget cuts so the debt limit can be raised. 

The $14 trillion number is in line with economist and Duke University professor William “Sandy” Darity, who estimated that the wealth gap exceeds $300,000 per person and that there are around 40 million Black people whose ancestors were enslaved. 

When asked about the funding of such a massive program, Bush suggested the U.S. reduce its defense budget and spending abroad. 

“We’re working with this administration, we’re talking with other members of Congress, but I’ll say this…If we can continue to fund these endless wars, or we can continue to put trillions of dollars into these forever wars, into the Defense budget even beyond what they asked for, if we can send money abroad to help elsewhere, then we have to make sure, because we’re talking about things that are happening now.” The Pentagon’s 2024 fiscal year budget requested $824 billion.

President Biden said he supported a study of reparations while campaigning

While on the campaign trail, now-President Biden said he supported a study of reparations. 

“Uncomfortable as it may be, our country was not founded on the principle that all people are created equal,” said Bush. 

“It was founded at the expense of the lives, freedom, and well-being of Black people, African folks who they stole, whose enslavement, exploitation, and dehumanization, were written, written into the Constitution.”

Bush continued, “The truth is slavery and discrimination are not a minor or insignificant part of our country’s development. They are integral.”

Rep. Bush was flanked by activists and numerous other Democrats from the House, including Jamaal Bowman of New York, Summer Lee of Pennsylvania, Barbara Lee of California, who is running for Senate, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. 

The representative cited numerous ways Black people “continue to live under slavery” and cited segregation, voter suppression, the black-white wealth gap, disparities in health, and redlining.

Bowman said, “Trauma lives in the Black body.”

“Research has shown this from generation-to-generation trauma lives in the body and lives in the blood vessels and lives in the DNA and the cells and the mind.”

He continued, “So when we talk about disproportion impact of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and so on, stress when we talk about that, it’s directly connected to our historical oppression in this country.”

Bowman then compared Black people fighting for “freedom” to other nations defending themselves. 

“I watch with pride and support when I see the Irish fight for Ireland, and the Italians fight for Italy, and Jews fight for Israel, and Palestinians fight for Palestine. I love that. Black people are fighting for our sovereignty in the same way.”

Current member of the House and California Senate Candidate Lee praised her home state, where a reparations task force recommended that the state legislature consider direct payments and issue a formal apology for slavery. 

“It’s far past time for the federal government to catch up,” said Lee. 

The task force California was created to study the economic effects of discrimination and slavery in the state in September 2020, making it the first state to investigate the possibility of paying reparations for Black Americans. This was despite slavery being banned in California before it joined the union.

The task force formally approved its final recommendations to the California State Legislature last weekend — which some have seen as controversial.

The task force suggests minimum payments of $360,000 for Black Californians, although payments may go as high as $1.2 million.

An additional recommendation would give control of decisions on local land use to a state agenda. The agency would approve plans based on whether they decrease or maintain segregation. 

Around three in 10 American adults say descendants of enslaved people should receive some repayment, according to 2022 Pew Research polling.

“Our ancestors may not be here, but we are their descendants, and we deserve to have compensation…for everything they’ve lost,” concluded Bush.