Ironically I just lost a portion of you with my first statement. In truth what you are saying is that because I am not willing to see that they are BLACK and VICTIMS OF RACISM and thus look past the terms of the original agreement that it is ME who is a racist sympathizer or Uncle Tom.
Instead I am focused upon upholding of a mutually agreed upon settlement. The present case where the Congressional Black Caucus is upset over agricultural funds going to farmers in Arkansas for disaster relief (see Booker Rising) has nothing to do with the settlement regarding the aggrieved Black farmers nation wide.
Here are the facts surrounding the case:
- A class action lawsuit was filed by the Black Farmers seeking damages regarding years of systematic racial discrimination in lending and assistance provided to Black farmers by the US Department of Agriculture
- After years of trying a settlement was reached back in 1999 for $981 million directed toward approximately 23,000 farmers. The agreement requires that any farmer with a claim come forth within a 6 month time window for consideration. They need not prove that they were discriminated against, only that they had been denied a loan by the Ag Dept.
- At the end of the 6 month window for claims an additional 73, 000 people came along with intention to file suite. After an initial rejection of their claims a judge ruled that a one year extension should be given to those who could show just cause as to why the missed the original 6 month window. This left the bulk of the 73,000 shut out.
- Having suffered a loss in the legal system the case was put back into the political system. A bill that would provide an additional $100 million for additional payouts was worked upon back in 2008.
- As the number of claims were trued up with the costs this $100M grew to the present $1,500M, far more than even the original payout that was contractually agreed upon in the original settlement
As in the original settlement, claimants can seek expedited damages of $50,000 under a lower threshold of proof than a typical civil case -- essentially by showing they applied for and were denied USDA farm assistance.The difference between legitimate redress for injury and by which everyone it told to tap into the gravy train is defined by the integrity of the entire process. Even Rep Autur Davis admits to placing a low ball figure for the second round ($100M) during the budgeting process, knowing that a more realistic number would have scuttled its inclusion in the farm bill.
Claimants also can bypass the expedited process and pursue larger damages, but most are expected to seek the $50,000 payment.
If just half are successful, it would cost $1.8 billion; a two-thirds success rate would cost about $2.5 billion
Why then doesn't any one consider that with the price tag at $1,500 M, a 15 fold increase - that the present push back is a legitimate response to seeing the con that was made during the budget process?
My personal position remains. I would prefer to see $1,500 million invested in the various HBUC Agricultural and Mechanical schools from which the next generation of Black agricultural professionals will descend.
The present agreement has government funds being transferred into private hands due to a grievance that the recipient has. I believe that a more sound investment in our strategic future is had if this money is used to fortify the system of academics from which new farming techniques will derive from advanced studies.
It takes the notion of "dignity management" to be in place for this type of vision to carry forth.
From the USA Today story:
Supporters acknowledge that the $100 million was an arbitrary amount that will not come close to covering the actual cost. Yet the measure ran into little opposition during the monthslong debate on the farm bill, mainly because of the artificially low price tag.
"The reality is that we had to fix some dollar amount to this provision because that's what the House rules require," said Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., a lead sponsor of the proposal.
With a higher estimate, he said, lawmakers probably would have stripped the provision.
The decision to allow new claims comes almost 10 years after the Agriculture Department settled a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of thousands of black farmers. The farmers, mainly from rural areas in the South, alleged that local USDA offices routinely denied them loans, disaster assistance and other aid frequently given to whites -- practices that often drove them out of business.
At that time, 22,500 farmers filed claims. Nearly two-thirds were awarded a total of $981 million in damages, including one Virginia farmer awarded $6.6 million.