San Francisco’s Reparations Proposal: Nearly $600,000 Per Household

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Last week, San Francisco’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee submitted a proposal to the city’s Human Rights Commission that would pay every eligible African American adult living in San Francisco $5 million. The report calls for 18 other financial recommendations, including the cancellation of personal debts, annual income supplements for 250 years, and the conversion of public housing to condominiums that would be gifted to recipients. The recommendations are listed on pages 31–32 of the proposal.

This proposal and estimate that its cost, presented on a per-household basis, will be nearly $600,000 per non–African American San Francisco household. For the reasons I describe below, this estimate may be too low. The obvious fiscal implication is that the committee’s recommendations are infeasible. Implementing a plan of this size—or even one that was one-fifth as large—would lead to significant business and household relocations, which in turn would magnify San Francisco’s existing fiscal problems by reducing the city’s tax base and the scope and depth of its economic activity. The tax consequences of this proposal would turn San Francisco into a 21st-century version of Detroit, which has lost 60% of its population since 1950. After losing 6.3% of its population between 2019 and 2021, San Francisco remains vulnerable for additional population losses.


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!