Columnists, Denver, Featured, Jon Caldara, Politics

Caldara: Denver doesn’t belong in the reparations business

Crime is rampaging in Denver. Homicides are skyrocketing.

Vagrants infest our streets. Our sidewalks are littered with human excrement and used needles.

Inflation is stealing from working families. Colorado is in the bottom third of states in employment.

Our once-shining city is in decay.

So of course, now is the time for the city’s leader, Mayor Michael Hancock, to turn his attention to the most pressing Denver issue of all…reparations for slavery.

As The Gazette reported, Mayor Hancock “is leading a national effort to establish pilot projects that will provide reparations to African American citizens in several cities around the country.”

Hancock is now co-chair of Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity (MORE, clever acronym, eh? Well named, given that when asked how much all this should cost, the answer is simply, MORE).

MORE is a group of 12 mayors from fiscally responsible cities like Los Angeles, Providence, RI, and Austin who believe that their city governments, at taxpayer expense and without consensus on the ethical and financial ramifications of reparations, must “act as laboratories for bold ideas that can be transformative for racial and economic justice on a larger scale, and demonstrate for the country how to pursue and improve initiatives that take a reparatory approach to confronting and dismantling structural and institutional racism.”

For those not schooled in the overly wordy language of oppressor/oppressed victim-speak, the above gobbledygook means since the federal government won’t give reparations, we socialist-leaning cities will.

As progressives continue their stranglehold over urban areas, governmental mission creep turns into a tsunami. It used to be only smug cities like Boulder would do sanctimonious things like passing a moratorium on nuclear weapons. (Seriously, if you have a nuke, I strongly recommend you stay out of Boulder.) But at least that type of virtue-signaling didn’t have a large price-tag.

Reparations for slavery has a massive price tag, squeezing out other budget items. So next time your car is victimized by an oppressive pothole know you’re making up for centuries of systematic oppression. “We all even now?”

Reparations for sins of generations past is a big decision which should come from a very deliberative process and is one of the few decisions that should be centralized at a national level.

The United States, not the City and County of Denver, paid reparations to Japanese Americans who were interned by executive order of big government icon Franklin D. Roosevelt. After all Denver didn’t intern them. And important point here, those who were personally interned were the ones compensated, not their descendant’s descendants.

Should it matter to anyone, slavery was always illegal in Colorado. And as the statue of the union soldier at the State Capitol, the one toppled by anti-police and #BLM rioters, might indicate, Coloradans fought and died to end slavery.

That leads to a question. If descendants of slaves deserve payments for the wrongs done to their ancestors, why should the descendants of those who paid the ultimate price by being killed in the civil war to free slaves be forced to pay for it?

Apparently, the debit side of the balance sheet passes along the generations, but the paid-in-full credit side stops with death.

Of course, your public-schooled child, now proficient in Critical Race Theory, will tell you it’s the systemic, institutional racism created after the Civil War which deserves reparations. After all Denver is such a systemically racist city a black man can’t be elected mayor.

If Mayor Hancock wants to help black families advance in his city, racial favoritism and wealth redistribution aren’t answers. Opportunity is.

Mayor, what is keeping black families down in Denver? Crime, a result of the progressive dream of emptying the jails. Enforce the laws again.

Education is the key to economic mobility. Champion school choice.

Minorities are priced out of homes in Denver, so let builders build and end growth boundaries.

Minorities are confined to government transit. Give poor people cars or transit vouchers for Uber.

Stop enslaving minorities to government.


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