The actual, amazing untold story here is that WITHOUT government forced redistribution by 1880 blacks owned 10% of the land in the south-—this coming from people who had been in chains a mere 15 years earlier. That is an astounding record.
Thanks for your post.
Good farmland of "40 acres and a mule" in today's terms is more-or-less $200,000 ($100k to $400k depending on location, location, location).
$200,000 invested at an (optimistic) 5% annual return generates annual income of $10,000.
In other words, annual government welfare payments of $10,000 per family equate to the present value of "40 acres and a mule".
Today's annual welfare costs total around $1 trillion of which perhaps 40% goes to descendants of slaves (40 million), which means their per capita welfare costs are around $10,000 per year.
Even if we (falsely) assume all slave descendants receive government assistance, and an average family size of three (mother and two children), then welfare costs $30,000 per family per year, or three times the value of "40 acres and a mule".
In short, it would have been vastly cheaper for the Federal government in 1865 (or even today!) to simply buy abandoned farmland, and give it away to former slaves, on the one and only condition that they, or their descendants, would make no further welfare claims on any government agency.