Gavin Newsom, the would–be president many Democrats hope might be an alternative to the current dodderer–in–chief, has landed himself in hot water. Once an enthusiastic backer of just about every progressive cause, the California Governor must now cope with a budget deficit that has already ballooned to $32 billion. This will no doubt limit his ability to spread largesse to the party’s loyal constituencies.
Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the coming battle over reparations for African Americans. Newsom approved a reparations task force in the midst of the frenzy which followed the murder of George Floyd, but he now faces a bill that could top $800 billion. Newsom has already hinted that the reparations discussion is about “more than cash payments”, but in reality cash — estimated as at least $125,000 per individual but sometimes much higher — is what this is all about.
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Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at joelkotkin.com and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.