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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/28/16

Shrinking Consumer Base Part 2 Of Fair Income, Political And Equitable Wealth Distribution A Series

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Immer eine gute Idee - Always a good idea
Immer eine gute Idee - Always a good idea
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There are a couple of ways to end inequality. One has been demonstrated by the legal moves to erase social inequality and provide all members of society an equal basis before the law. The other was seen in the 90% tax racket during and following World War II. Various programs have also been introduced to raise the bottom to a higher standard of living in an effort to ease poverty. These programs have been characterized as socialism, social welfare. That group has not achieved a more equal status in society through these programs but have been frequently politicized and stigmatized as worthless welfare cheats and lazy bums. More recently the equality of the poor and middle class before the law has again been eroded by Corporations insisting on arbitration clauses in all their contracts, an expensive process that favors the corporations who control it.

As the number of Welfare "Bums" appears to rise, the trend is to shrink the consumer base. Today in the United States over 110 million people are reported to be on some form of welfare. So next time you are in a supermarket line look to the left, look to the right and one of the three of you are likely to be on some form of welfare that includes over 35% of the population. [] The growing retirement numbers increase the shrink as more and more depend upon social security as their major means of support. Today nearly half of the U.S. population lives in poverty or is low-income, according to U.S. Census data.[ Yen, Hope (December 15, 2011). "U.S. Poverty: Census Finds Nearly Half Of Americans Are Poor Or Low-Income". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 28, 2014.]

Moving further into the twenty first century, the market will demand that we establish a basic income for all citizens just to preserve the consumer base. While more and more jobs are sent out of the country and more is taken over by Artificial Intelligence, computerized robotics, the relative size of the consumer base must decrease. This will result in less profit in the market and that will decrease money available for basic research, design and production and decrease the income to those producers and sellers who depend on the market. The size of the market must be supported. This can be most assuredly done by a guaranteed basic income.

The guaranteed income should adequately cover basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, education, transportation health care, incidentals and some entertainment. The market is not and should not be a one way street as it depends upon both the buyer and the seller. In theory it fair market value depends upon what a willing seller will take from a willing buyer for its goods and services. But this depends on a free market, which is largely not the case in America today. The market needs a predictable group of buyers with basic incomes to survive and thrive.

As this nation grew, it provided land and opportunities for its population. But those provisions are largely gone or inappropriate today, Even the higher education that was so readily available after World War II through the GI Bill and cheap tuition and modest living expenses does not exist. To avoid a huge depression, and/or a blood bath, we are faced with the need to establish basic incomes in order to provide opportunities to our citizens and support the market with a full compliment of buyers, consumers, at least for basic necessities.

Guaranteeing a basic income is not a new idea Our homestead laws of the Nineteenth Century were one approach. You can trace such proposals back to the agrarian law proposals of the levelers and diggers in the English revolution of the seventeenth century, through Thomas Paine's pamphlet "Agrarian Justice" of 1795 and many other proposals since. Many were proposed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and some are even under consideration today in countries like Switzerland and Finland. This avoids the stigmatizing of welfare and assures adequate consumers for the basic needs of the society to keep the producers in business.

Basic incomes could be established by Congress, with the Federal Reserve permitted to act as a safety valve, providing necessary adjustments to avoid bad recessions or run away inflation. Congress could always chart and change the course all within its powers to create money. The basic income could also solve a problem of establishing a base line for computing executive incomes and salaries and investor returns allowed to be paid out of the profit before the remainder is paid to the government. We will discuss next how Profit really belongs to all for the creation of the market in our next post.

Congress could establish income and salary caps that once exceeded could require the same amount paid as excise taxes. Thus it could rein in the unbridled creation of an oligarchy, a plutocracy class through market forces as even investors would balk at enormous sums paid to higher executives. Couple that with well aimed Federal and State death duties to reduce the size of gigantic estates, while still promoting the continuation of small family owned businesses and farms, would go a long way in bringing back the middle class, with equality and fairness in the political process. In the mean time we could phase out welfare programs as unnecessary, and some forms of social security depending on how much is provided for necessary health care.

It is possible to return the country to the people if we are wiling to truly face our economic problems and not get sidetracked over the current social issues not involving the disparities we face. We need to elect both brave federal and State responsible representatives pledged to work together to solve our economy and get rid of the plutocracy that now dominates out political life.

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AB 1959 and JD 1963, University of Missouri, Columbia. 50 years active member of Washington State Bar Association, mostly civil and commercial office, trial and appellate practice and Superior Court Arbitrator for about 40 years or so, since the (more...)
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