On Wednesday, President Barack Obama signed a $1.25 billion check to black farmers who have allegedly been victims of past wrongdoings by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The settlement apparently solves a string of so-called unfair loan policies that occurred over 20 years ago.
Here comes the record rewind.
There are a variety of problems with this touchy-feely measure. At the time this lawsuit was filed, there were an estimated 33,000 black farmers in America. But the money from the settlement will be disbursed to some 80,000 black farmers — a difference of 47,000. And some USDA officials have even revealed that the actual number of victims is around 4,000.
Oh boy, here we go.
This is what happens when you try to award large sums of money to people, or groups, without adequately researching their claims.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, each farmer will receive an approximately $50,000 payout from this so-called Pigford II settlement. That means taxpayers are going to be footing the bill for what amounts to a hidden form of reparations. The whole thing reeks of potential fraud.
Are we to believe that every single one of the 80,000 or more “farmers” who receive a check will be doing so in an honest and open way?
The scary part is that whenever the government doles out money, it seems like the money ends up in a campaign war chest or in the hands of a special interest group.
The bottom line is that if these kinds of settlements can be done through a specific agency with a no-holds-barred approach, then it will almost certainly open the door for widespread payouts based on race and ethnicity, with little or no proof of wrongdoing.
Have individuals in this country been victims of unfair practices by government entities or others? Has racism and discrimination been a problem in this nation? The answer to both questions is obviously yes. However, should massive settlements be limited to people of certain races or genders? I have a feeling that if a group of white male farmers petitioned for any kind of a freebie from the government based on their race, they would be laughed at and the lawsuit would be dropped in a nanosecond.
Nobody wants to use that dangerous “R” word these days in fear of being labeled unjust, racist or unfair, but this new scheme — err, settlement — paves the way for across-the-board reparations.
In this day and age of political correctness, the government can pretty much cook up anything it wants and get away with it, all in the name of “fairness and justice.” Of course, anyone who opposes settlements such as this will be labeled and destroyed by the left-wing media. The new Congress needs to take a serious look at this calamity so that the American people know exactly where their money is going and why.
And government has the audacity to question why we are angry.
Ashley Stinnett lives in West Virginia, where he serves as an adjunct college instructor, writer, media and public relations consultant, public speaker and political commentator. He is a registered member of the West Virginia Associated Press, and is a nationally syndicated columnist. He is the author of the new book, “Grasping Appalachian Conservatism: How Not To Be Mistaken For A Latte Liberal.”