The U.S. Conference of Mayors released a letter Monday that supported a Democratic plan to move towards reparations to black citizens for the legacy of slavery in the country. Estimates put the price tag on payments to 41 million black people somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 quadrillion. A quadrillion, numerically boasting 15 zeroes, is the designation that follows trillion.
"We recognize and support your legislation as a concrete first step in our larger reckoning as a nation, and a next step to guide the actions of both federal and local leaders who have promised to do better by our black residents," said the letter from Conference President Greg Fischer, mayor of Louisville.
The plan to create the "Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act" has been introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).
Jackson Lee submitted the bill in the House last year "to begin the long delayed process of atonement for slavery." Though the proposal did not receive as much attention a year ago, recent Black Lives Matter protests and riots have thrust the issue into the spotlight.
The $6 quadrillion number was calculated through a complex process that attempts to account for unpaid slave hours, a fee for the costs of discrimination, and additional penalties for massacres, plus interest. The authors of the estimate conclude that would amount to approximately $151 million to each black descendant of slaves and a cost of $18.96 million on every taxpayer.