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May 25, 2019

The reality and repercussions of racial oppression are mostly absent from political discourse in the US. Steve and his guest Darrick Hamilton address it head-on in this thoughtful and detailed 2018 discussion of the range of solutions.
Hamilton, professor of policy, economics and sociology at OSU, explains why reparations cannot be simply about handing out cash. The first requirement is a detailed acknowledgment of the harm done, which must be specific to the victimized group. When talking of reparations to Native Americans, for example, that unique history of oppression must be spelled out.
Redress in the form of individual payments could have unintended consequences, exacerbating class divisions, so some form of ownership might be included. The nation needs a Marshall plan for building black institutions as a further means of redistribution and reparations.
A federal job guarantee, while separate from reparations, is also crucial for mitigating inequality.
It’s not only an economic benefit, but a psychological one, which doesn’t get emphasized enough in the debate.
Finally, Professor Hamilton explains the principles of baby bonds, which address the mechanism by which Americans build wealth. Each child would be given a trust fund at birth, calibrated to the family’s wealth. The concept goes back to Thomas Paine, who spoke of a “stakeholder society.”
Darrick Hamilton is Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Professor in the Glenn College for Public Affairs, and Professor, Departments of Economics and Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences (by courtesy) at The Ohio State University.