Basically, this is a class-action suit filed against the Secretary of Agriculture by African-American farmers for past discrimination by USDA loan programs. Back in February, the two parties settled for $1.25 billion. This is on top of the $1 billion already paid out in 1999; only 16,000 people received money from that, so the new settlement is intended to take care of the rest. But remember, you need to register with the class action to get money from the program.
Funding for this, by the way, passed the House but stalled in the Senate. That is not the interesting bit.
No, the interesting bit is two-fold.
First, Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC) complained that “More than 4,000 African-American farmers in North Carolina and over 75,000 nationwide have been discriminated against and denied just compensation for decades.”
Second, those numbers are bit high. The National Black Farmers Association says, at most, there are only 18,000 African-American farmers in the US.
Got that? Okay, what got Representative Steve King (R-IA) interested in this settlement is that more than 94,000 people have registered for the second round of payments alone.
Okay, even if we agree that not everybody got their money in the 1999 settlement, there should only be about 2,000 people incorrectly compensated. So where did this additional 92,000 (and ticking!) come from? Of course, that assumes that of the 18,000 black farmers in the US, each and every one of them was unfairly treated in the USDA loan process, which is a bit of a stretch.
Rep. King has asked to meet with Secretary Vilsack to see if his math agrees. If so, we should expect to only compensate 2,000 people. And if that is the case, please explain why 2,000 people receive $1.25 billion, whereas ten years ago, 16,000 people managed to get by with $1 billion?
Could it be that President Obama made a promise of money to the plaintiffs that added $1.15 to the $100 million expected to be compensated?
On unrelated news, if the presidential election for 2012 were to be held in November, it appears that the President would receive only 33% of the vote.