It's time to face the facts: We live, work, plan, rule, and most importantly, are ruled by one major principle: Economic success in a capitalistic society is measured by how well the highest earners are doing. There's a vital corollary to that theorem: Poverty doesn't matter to those who are working.
Nothing could be farther from the truth!
The basic planks in this platform are:
- Capitalism depends entirely on investment money from the wealthy class.
- Since rich people spend more than lesser earners, especially on luxury items, their capital input is worth more to the economy than anything we lower-class schlubs can ever do to feed the economic machine.
This attitude ignores two vital sources of capitalistic funding:
- All the money from people in the middle and lower classes pooled into mutual and retirement funds, including 401Ks and IRAs; bank and credit union accounts; interest collections from loans; and much more.
- The combined spending of people in the lower classes who pay for goods and services they need and even more.
When you compare what one member of the upper crust is able to throw around compared to that from any one of the rest of us, the rich have the edge. But when you consider the small number of people who earn a million dollars or more with the combined economic power of the rest of us, we'll always be the overwhelming majority. That's why our economic value should always be respected in financial decisions, whether they're made on Main Street, Wall Street, or Pennsylvania Avenue.
Regardless of the cumulative investing and spending power of the lower classes compared with that of the rich, conservatives insist the country's economic health depends on protecting the wealthy by cutting basic services for the neediest among us. As a result, they're destroying the economic life of not only the U.S. but the entire world.
It's time to turn this ship around. Let's consider some of the worst problems:
Conservatives want to direct more money toward construction and management of prisons than schools. However, studies show that every dollar invested in education is returned many times over in productivity and taxes and much less is needed for law-enforcement and prisons, which actually have a negative impact on the economy.
Conservatives don't want to spend any public money on health care for low earners, people with disabilities, and senior citizens. But investment in promoting healthy lifestyles and nutrition, preventive care, and timely care for people with illnesses or injuries is much cheaper than denying adequate and necessary care. Besides, healthier people are more productive, which is good for the economic health of the country.
Finally, conservatives claim global warming is a myth and cleaning up pollution and dirty industries is too expensive. But the rising cost of pollution-related health problems prove that eliminating and preventing pollution and building green industries ace the most logical investments for a prosperous future.
The upshot is that investment in quality education, health care, and environmental cleanup and protection pay off in the long run. Those investments provide well-paying jobs for people, many of whom are unemployed because of financial shenanigans of the rich and their conservative political allies. That strategy will strengthen the impact of the real economic machine, all the rest of us.
Even if it takes a temporary rise in the taxes of the highest-earning citizens--which would actually just be a return to the tax levels of the last time the economy was doing well--it'll pay off in the long run even for those "put-upon" rich people. So much for the argument that raising taxes on the rich is too much of a sacrifice for conservatives to allow.
So, when politicians and big spenders think about where to put their money, they should consider investing in America and Americans--the real Americans who work for a living and whose money keeps the doors of businesses open for the long haul.
Debbie Jordan is the author of The World I Imagine: A creative manual for ending poverty and building peace, a collection of 47 essays originating in the column she writes for the Arizona City Independent Edition. Jordan writes about her solutions to some of the world's most detrimental social issues. Jordan is committed to inspiring others to improve the world through community involvement and volunteerism. http://www.imaginetheworldatpeace.com/