DETROIT — New Age author and Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson on Tuesday explained the math behind her proposal to pay $200 billion to $500 billion in reparations to black Americans.
She said the present-day value of the 40 acres and a mule promised to former slaves after the Civil War was trillions of dollars.
“If you did the math today, it would be trillions of dollars, and I believe that anything less than $100 billion is an insult, and I believe the $200 to $500 billion is politically feasible today because so many Americans realize there is an injustice that continues to form a toxicity,” she said during a Democratic presidential debate.
Her rivals have voiced support for reparations but favor a congressional commission to study the issue.
In the debate, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke described the logic behind the reparations movement.
“The very foundation of this country, the wealth that we have built, the way we became the greatest country on the face of the planet was literally on the backs of those who were kidnaped and brought here by force,” he said. “The legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and suppression is alive and well in every aspect of the economy and in the country today.”
He promised to address the historic injustice with a new voting rights act, programs to correct disparities in education and health care, support of the congressional commission on reparations.
Ms. Williamson said he didn’t go far enough.
“We need some deep truth-telling,” she said. “We don’t need another commission to look at the evidence. I appreciate what Congressman O’Rourke has said. It is time for us to simply realize that this country will not heal — all that a country is is a collection of people. People heal when there’s some deep truth-telling.”