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Obama's Stealth Reparations By: Paul Sperry
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, October 28, 2008


While he was an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama told a Chicago radio show host that he sought "major redistributive change" for the benefit of fellow blacks.

He was speaking in the context of the civil rights movement, and how it had fallen short of "economic justice." Although John McCain and other Republicans are afraid to say it, his remarks can only be interpreted to mean one thing: economic reparations for slavery.

This is yet another example of Obama's lack of candor and deception about his true radical agenda during this campaign, as well as the mainstream media's failure to vet such serious issues and force them out into the open where voters can see them and have a fair chance to evaluate them before they go to the polls.

In 2001, Obama said it's a "tragedy" the Constitution wasn't radically interpreted to force redistribution of wealth for blacks, and it's still an issue of concern for him today. And he suggested he wants to effect "major redistributive change" through legislation.

He complained that during the civil-rights era, "the Supreme Court never ventured into issues of redistribution of wealth" for blacks, and that the Warren Court was not "radical" enough.

"One of the tragedies of the civil-rights movement was there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change," he said while serving as a state lawmaker and University of Chicago lecturer. "And in some ways, we still suffer from that."

That was in 2001. Now those coalitions, led by ACORN and other radical urban community organizers, hope to deliver Obama to national power along with a legislative majority working on their behalf.

"Maybe I'm sharing my bias here as a legislator, but I'm not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts," he added. "The institution just isn't structured that way."

Obama explained that justices felt uncomfortable forcing school districts to pay the extra expense to make the necessary changes to accommodate their desegregation rulings. They would rather not get involved in issues of direct remuneration. Legislators, on the other hand, would have no such qualms about making people pay.

He said the process of redistributive change and "economic justice" is "administrative and takes a lot of time" -- things that are best left to a federal administration and legislature.

In a separate interview, he said the framers of the Constitution had an "enormous blind spot" regarding slavery -- no argument there. But then he said that the Constitution -- in spite of its subsequent proper amendments giving blacks full citizenship and rights -- still "represents the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day."

This echoes what he wrote in his 2006 autobiography about the Constitution being "marred by the original sin of slavery."

Question: Does Obama want to further amend the Constitution in some way? It seems he thinks something is missing, left undone. Does he want to institutionalize reparations somehow? It's a serious question he should be compelled to answer, if he would only give reporters outside his fawning entourage a chance to ask it. (He hasn't held a press conference in over a month.) Remember, Obama was a constitutional lawyer and would know how to get the amendment ratification process started with the right majority in Congress behind such a movement.

Back in August, Barack Obama said Washington shouldn't just offer apologies for slavery, but also "deeds." Don't worry, he said, he wasn't talking about direct reparations.

I wasn't put at ease then, and I'm definitely not now.

"I consistently believe that when it comes to ... reparations," Obama told a gathering of minority journalists, "the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds."

A few days later, he clarified his remarks, saying he was not calling for direct cash payments to descendents of slaves, but rather indirect aid in the form of government programs that will "close the gap" between what he sees as white America and black America.

In other words, stealth reparations.

He says government should offer "universal" programs -- such as universal health care, universal mortgage credits, college tuition, job training and even universal 401(k)s -- that "disproportionately affect people of color."

Obama's 2006 book and Web site outline a plan calling for essentially a government bailout of the inner cities, which he describes as "repositories for all the scars of slavery and violence of Jim Crow." Among other things, he proposes:
  • Doling out federal grants "targeting ex-offenders or substance abusers";
  • Subsidizing supermarket chains that relocate to the inner city;
  • Creating a "universal 401(k)" in which the government would tax private contributions and match public contributions made into new retirement accounts by low-income families;
  • Imposing "goals and timetables for minority hiring" on large corporations whose work forces are deemed too white;
  • Ramping up funding for the Community Development Block Grant program, Head Start and HUD public housing subsidies.
  • Funding Small Business Administration loans for minority; businesses who train ex-felons, including gangbangers, for the "green jobs" of the future, such as installing extra insulation in homes;
  • Doubling the funding for federal after-school programs such as midnight basketball;
  • Subsidizing job training, day care, transportation for inner-city poor, as well as doubling the funding of the federal Jobs Access and Reverse Commute program;
  • Expanding the eligibility of the earned income tax credit to include more poor, and indexing it to inflation;
  • Adopting entire inner-city neighborhoods as wards of the federal government; and
  • Spending billions on new inner-city employment programs, including prison-to-work programs.
This is just a down payment on the "economic justice" Obama has promised the NAACP -- financed by "tax laws that restore some balance to the distribution of the nation's wealth," he says in his book.

And the indirect aid he's proposing now could quickly turn into cash transfers once Obama is safely ensconced in the White House -- with perhaps a filibuster-proof majority of Democrats at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Claiming "blacks were forced into ghettos," Obama is certainly sympathetic to the idea of reparations. His church has actively petitioned for them for decades. And he's strongly suggested there's a legal case to be made for them.

"So many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow," he said. "We still haven't fixed them."

He assumes the economic gap is a legacy of discrimination and largely unrelated to personal responsibility. He also makes it seem things haven't gotten better for blacks, despite statistics showing enormous economic gains and a rising black middle class ("Better isn't good enough," he insists). He also assumes, like his spiritual mentor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, that America is "still run by racism." Obama claims "institutional racism" still exists in America, without offering any evidence that legalized discrimination still remains in this country, even in its most backwater parts.

Another Obama confidante, Rev. Michael Pfleger, has asserted that white people have a moral obligation to surrender their 401(k) funds and other assets, which he suggested properly belong to blacks.

Obama himself has said more needs to be done to "cleanse America of its original sin." He said he cannot "brush aside the magnitude of the injustice done, or erase the ghosts of generations past, or ignore the open wound, the aching spirit, that ails this country still."

"The problems of inner-city poverty arise from our failure to face up to an often tragic past," Obama said.

He also wrote in his recent autobiography that he sympathizes with militant black activists who fear that "white Americans will be let off the hook" for past crimes, such as "a hundred years of lynching under several dozen administrations."

"I understand these fears," Obama said, and agrees that the government has a "responsibility to make things right," suggesting there is at least some legitimacy to militant demands for payback.

In calling for a "new order," he invoked the memory of abolitionists and their "willingness to spill blood and not just words ... that helped force the issue of a nation half slave and half free."

Apparently, Obama is under the delusion such a division still exists in this country, and that radical action must be taken to unshackle blacks from whatever fetters he imagines are holding them back.

"I'm reminded that deliberation and the constitutional order may sometimes be the luxury of the powerful," Obama said. "And that it has sometimes been the cranks, the zealots, the prophets, the agitators and the unreasonable -- in other words the absolutists -- that have fought for a new order." By cranks, zealots and agitators, he is no doubt referring to all the radicals -- from Wright and Pfleger to Frank Marshall Davis and Bill Ayers -- with whom he has surrounded himself.

Just what is this "new order" he and all his absolutist pals have in mind for America? And why keep it such a mystery from voters?

Paul Sperry, a Hoover Institution media fellow, is author of Infiltration and co-author of a forthcoming book on the Muslim Brotherhood in America. Email: Sperry@SperryFiles.com.


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