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View Diary: How to Cut the Poverty Rate in Half: A Universal Income For All (73 comments)

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  •  ThatSocialistNixon presented it to Congress (5+ / 0-)
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    Cofcos, lcrp, claude, GleninCA, BusyinCA

    where it went nowhere. But then Nixon is well known to have been a

    • tree-hugger (EPA)
    • appeaser (détente with Russia and China)
    • cut-and-run Peacenik (Vietnam)

    in addition to being a crook.

    Friedman and Nixon both thought it worthwhile on Republican principles to replace the vast maze of welfare laws with a single payment that the recipient would decide how to use, in more-or-less Free Market style, thus cutting out a vast bureaucracy managing vast paperwork wastefully trying to decide who doesn't qualify. Then we could argue what is the appropriate level of payments. Should we set them at well above poverty, the Progressive position; or just above poverty, as Democrats might argue; or well below poverty, as many Republicans would have demanded?

    That plus real stimulus, a minimum wage with COLAs, free education through college, single payer, serious reform of disability (VA and civilian both), full unemployment coverage for as long as recessions run on, and giving unions about as much rights as corporations would go a long way toward ending poverty, not entirely, but to a degree comparable with Sweden or Denmark today. I could add a few other measures to roll back job-killing Republicanism, such as switching government and education to all Free/Open Source Software and Creative Commons content, cutting back copyright to sanity (including a legal process for the public to claim abandoned copyrights), eliminating software patents, and so on.

    If you want to hear my ultimate fantasy, it is this: an Unbalanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution that would index tax rates inversely to the state of the economy, so that taxes on workers and the middle class would go down in recessions and crashes, and taxes would go up in good times, and sharply up during bubbles, preferably enough to pop them right away, and prevent any succeeding crashes.

    I would consider adding a touch of hysteresis, so that taxes would go down more on the lower end in bad times, and up faster on the higher end in boom times, until the boom and bust cycle could be brought fully under control in a natural equilibrium rather than a bureaucratic or political process.

    My son, Certifiable Genius, thinks that we can achieve the same effect in a simpler way with a Wealth Tax that would treat wealth from income and capital gains exactly the same. So taxes on those whose net worth is hit worst by a recession would go way down, while taxes on those who profit from boom and bust alike would go way up in boom times. It could be set to return a refund for those whose net worth goes negative.

    Considering the amount of unemployment and underemployment I endured, plus the loss of my life savings, during the last two crashes, either way would work for me.

    Cue the screaming from the 1%.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 04:41:37 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  No Friedman and Nixon (1+ / 0-)
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      thought it worthwhile on Republican principles to replace Social Insurance programs with welfare programs like EITC financed from General Fund revenues and tax credits while pushing to eliminate any and all taxation on capital.

      Look at the Ryan Roadmap. Or any other Republican economic plan. Right along side proposals to establish a guaranteed income floor for the poor in any program you could mention is an equal attempt to eliminate taxation on estates, corporations, (God Help Us) carried interest, dividends, while carving out tax exemptions for Health Savings Accounts, Education Account and whatever Accounts would allow Rentiers to shied their income from taxation while shiting the burden down to upper middle class professionals and the remnants of the unionized manufacturing and public service sectors.

      The Republican Roadmap always has run in the same direction: eliminate speed limits for capital (Makers) while imposing them on Takers (middle class people using "loopholes") and Moochers (anyone using any public service not including Coast Guard services to yachts in distress).

      "Tax fairness" "Flat Tax" "Rate Reform" "Consumption Taxes" no matter what the supposed public polciy justification it always has the proximate result of lower top rates and/or reducing taxation of capital. In this respect there is no difference between Forbes and the Kochs and Rubinistas. They are not all haters but they all share a fundamental Friedman and Rand induced belief that Makers should not be taxed. Ever. On Anything. Even On or After Death.

      For example the Full Ryan Roadmap would grant tax freedom for even the heirs of Billionaires. Forever. Every possible source of those heirs' incomes would be tax exempt. And all the while the Randites and Paulites serve this up as some sort of break for middle class savers.

      It's like we can't add.

      SocSec dot.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

      by Bruce Webb on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 08:28:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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