Terrible ideas never really die on the Left; they just come back over and over again, like a gas station sandwich after a night of heavy drinking. So it is with reparations for slavery, which liberals would happily embrace en masse if they ever thought they could ram it through Congress. Here's why reparations for slavery are a bad idea.
1) How do you prove that slavery is responsible for problems black Americans are having today? If it were 1866, it would be easy to prove that black Americans who had been enslaved were hurt by the practice. They were mistreated, deprived of their freedom, and were not paid wages for their labor.
On the other hand, if you fast forward to today, it’s extraordinarily difficult to show that anybody’s problems were caused by something that happened almost 150 years ago. Keep in mind that there were white indentured servants forced to work alongside slaves back then. There were white Americans who were kidnapped and enslaved by the Barbary pirates. There were Japanese and Italian Americans who were forced into internment camps during WWII and many of them actually had their property confiscated and sold. The relatives of many Jewish Holocaust survivors live in America as well. So while black Americans have been treated worse than any other group in America, there are a lot of other groups that have seemingly bounced back with little damage from how they’ve been treated in the past.
Additionally, while black Americans are indisputably doing worse than most other groups in America, there are certain subsets of African-Americans that are doing just fine. For example, black female college graduates make 102% of what white female college graduates earn. African immigrants also outperform black Americans who were born here in a number of ways.
A new paper (pdf) from University of Chicago PhD candidate Alison Rauh finds that black immigrants tend to be more successful than black Americans. They out-earn black natives (after accounting for age) and are more likely to be employed. This is not surprising; white immigrant groups outperform their native cohort too. But what’s most intriguing is how their children fare. The children of black immigrants are more likely to go to and complete college than native blacks (and whites) and are less likely to drop out of high school. The children of black immigrants also earn more than native blacks or first generation immigrants.