This is a "quick and dirty" post of a thought that came to me today. I'll continue to work on the idea, but I wanted to get it out for your thoughts/consideration as soon as possible. MBM
Reparations is about money; money that is due slave descendants. While some aspect of a reparations award would, no doubt, be in the form of non-cash payments (e.g. future tax breaks), a good portion of it would include cash. Whether in the form of a pool of funds to capitalize home mortgages and new businesses, or cash to finance community development programs, or simply direct cash transfers to people - money would come under the control of those who's families "invested" in the United States economy through slavery. Reparations would be slave descendants "cashing in" our centuries old investment in this country.
The American economy would, naturally, be a huge winner through reparations. The money that would pass through to American businesss could mean trillions of new dollars into the current economy.
We live in a capitalist country. Money makes the American world go 'round. When corporate America wakes up and realizes the potential impact of reparations to them is when some serious momentum for reparations will begin. Believe it or not, even someone like George Bush would be singing the praises of reparations like Kwame Toure when he starts smelling the money.
Black folks need to be out front of this and actually manage, in a systematic and controlled way, how macro reparations monies are spent. Ensuring that African American businesses play a vital role in this is a paramount concern. At the same time, we need to "prod the capitalist beast" a bit to get corporate America behind reparations. Why not create a commission with the objective of granting contracts for companies to execute various aspects of a reparations award? Why not have companies bid to be able to participate in the various contracts - whether building housing, or providing medical care, or funding schools, or for banks, or consumer goods companies etc. where we might spend our money? On the consumer side, we obviously couldn't and shouldn't want to tell reparations recipients what to do with their money, but - like many other contexts - we could grant certain participating companies "official sponsor" or "offical vendor" status that would show which companies have pledged to do the most for us. This is similar to advertising. Companies spend millions and millions to be the official sponsor of this and that with the hope of influencing consumers to buy their products.
Doing this would accomplish two extraordinary objectives:
Objecitve One: This approach would even further leverage the government reparations award by having companies pledge to do even more for us to be able to be the recipient of our award money.
For example, lets say that a key component of a reparations award would be to create a network of health care facilities throughout our communities. We could invite the various HMO's and medical providers (like Kaiser Permanente) to bid to be awarded the right to do that. They would be getting the contract to build these facilities and to staff and run them. It would mean perhaps a multi-billion+ dollar stream of revenue to them over many mnay years. In the same way that Wal-Mart currently promises black communities a bundle of benefits (like construction and retail jobs, and local community investment) to win support to build new stores in their community, these companies would similarly bid to win these enormous contracts. A part of our consideration process would be what these companies would do to reinvest back in our communities. We would, simply, select the company that would do the most for us! This process would happen in every conceivable category consistent with the reparations award - as well as where consumers would likely spend their money.
On the consumer side an example might be home building. We invite large home builders to bid on contracts to build, say, first homes for reparations recipients. To win the contracts, again, the buiilders would offer all manner of benefits and services to encourage us to choose them. In essence, this is their "marketing expense" to win the revenue stream.
Objective Two: As I have suggested many times, African America has the ability to "play the game" and, in fact, win it - even playing by "their" rules. What do you think happens when we get corporate America drooling about a potential multi trillion dollar windfall for them? They get their Washington lobbyists out in full force to press Congress to make reparations happen. The force of greedy corporate lobbyists out pushing Congress - which as we know is driven in part by lobbyist influence and money - is when all of a sudden the justice and equity of a reparations award will become manifest to America.
This can happen.