INTERVIEW: Author Star Parker Slams ‘Reparations,’ Offers Conservative Solutions
On Thursday, author and founder of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), Star Parker, spoke with The Daily Wire about reparations, which have become an increasingly hot topic among Democratic lawmakers.
Parker opposes the idea of monetary reparations, and during our interview she offered several major solutions to poverty-related issues facing low-income Americans.
DW: Reparations have become one of the hot topics among the Democrats running for president. Even several years ago, the idea of reparations wasn't really brought up in major debates. What is your opinion on the now-mainstream Democratic position that we need to formulate a plan to provide reparations?
PARKER: The reason the Democrats are talking about reparations today is because the Democrats are losing their grip on the black community. They see the same polls that everyone sees, that a third of African Americans have told pollsters for 20 years that they’re evangelical and conservative. They see the same polls that all the rest of us see, that just in very recent history, within the last year, 22% of African Americans say that they are conservatives politically. Therefore, Democrats understand that if these black conservatives start voting their values, they will lose every election.
Because right now, when you think about the ethnicities – in the Asian community, 29% poll as conservative and 29% vote Republican. The same numbers are present in the Latino community, 29% poll as conservative and 29% vote for Republicans. It’s only in the black community that 22% poll as conservative, but only 8% vote for Republicans. The Democrats recognize that the 14% could slip away overnight, so all of a sudden, reparations is the number one challenge that they are going to discuss.
Also, their playbook was determined 50 years ago and they don't move from it. They just bring it up when it’s the appropriate time to play the race card to divide America because it's a political season.
DW: Why do you think reparations aren't feasible?
PARKER: Well, it's obvious that they're not feasible. We’re talking about a diverse society, and there's just no way you can calculate which American was of African American descent that had ancestry in slavery.
Now, are there possibilities that you could attempt to determine at the hand of government? Yeah. You can take the playbook of Germany and line up everybody that looks like they have some ethnicity in them, and force them to take some tests to determine if they have a certain percentage of black slave blood in them. I mean, most of the records even of slavery were destroyed during the Civil War. It’s just a political ploy. This is not practical.
If they really were serious in saying they want to do something about the income gap – which is where they say they're trying to help – they wouldn’t want the government writing a check for reparations. If they were really serious, they would personalize Social Security because personalizing Social Security would allow one generation to pass their wealth to their heirs instead of sending it to the IRS. They would allow people to take their payroll tax and put it in an IRA instead of sending it to the IRS.
So, they're not serious – this is just a political ploy to racially divide us so that the black people that the Democrats know are open to the messaging of Donald Trump on those social issues, that are open to the messaging of Donald Trump and are feeling the economic benefit of the policies of Donald Trump, are starting to slip away. They know that, and that's why we're all of a sudden having hearings on reparations.
DW: That brings me to a two-pronged question. First, do you think that all the talk of reparations, especially if it's repeatedly brought up in the upcoming debates, will have any impact on the votes of the black community? Second, is there a more comprehensive alternative to reparations that you or your organization has contemplated?
PARKER: Will this strategy work? It depends on the response of the Republicans. If the response from the Republicans and the response from the conservative Right is to constantly mock it, and make fun, and become offensive, then yeah, black people may say, "Wait a minute. Why are you doing all this?" and it will distract them from the blessings and benefits that have occurred under this current administration to make their lives better. It depends on how Republicans handle this discussion, because anytime you interject race into any discussion regarding America and the history of America, emotions rise high, and what happens in the black community – whether perceived and/or true – there are great fears about returning to the past.
The Democrats stoke those fears. If, on the other side of the aisle, they mock that fear – no one likes to be laughed at when they feel vulnerable.
Regarding the second question, what can we do if we were, as a nation, really concerned about those that seem to just need that one push, that one opportunity to get beyond living paycheck-to-paycheck, the people who say, "One $400 medical bill or broken car would send me under" because they do not have savings, they do not have net worth, they do not have family that can loan them that extra money that they need – what can we do as a society?
One, we can personalize Social Security. We can allow them to start building net worth. Instead of the government forcing employers and employees to send 6.2% on each end to the IRS, we can take that 12.4% and put it in an IRA so that they begin to grow wealth in order for them to have an asset that they can borrow against, get a credit card against, and get on to building an opportunity for themselves to break out of poverty.
The second thing that we can do is we can allow money to follow children to schools that the parents want. We should allow for parental choice on every level to any type of school so that those poor families will have opportunities to break the cycle of poverty.
The third and final thing that we should do is we should remove all wage laws. We should allow for people to put their own talent on the table and allow someone else to buy it if that's the relationship that an individual wants with their boss. We should not have these minimum wage laws in our country that force businesses to make decisions to go with technology as opposed to hiring a 14-year-old or 15-year-old to allow them the opportunity to make a little bit of money, to take the burden off the household that needs that money to pay that electric bill, or for that broken car.
DW: Is there anything that that you want to say that about the reparations issue that we haven’t touched on?
PARKER: I think what I would like your readers to know is that we have another four years, maybe eight years if Pence is elected after Trump, to keep focused on what's important in America, what's important in our values. This president said that he wanted to make America's strong again, he wanted to make America wealthy again, he wanted to make America proud again, he wanted to make America safe again. He wants America great again, and he has set in motion, in every single one of those areas, policy ideas. So, the question then becomes, "What do we want?" Do we want to move away from these amazing opportunities or do we want to continue on in order to make ourselves a healthy country for the future?