So much of every discussion of our looted economy is still talking about the 1% within their paradigm.
Let’s change that right now:
1. The 1% have no wealth. They have our wealth.
The current paradigm funnels far more of the profits on produced goods to the 1% than is their ethical share. On this hungry planet, with fewer resources every day to go around, what individual needs or deserves 7 houses, a couple of yachts, and hundreds of millions of dollars hidden in offshore accounts — more stolen money than they can spend in twenty lifetimes?
That was and is our money.
Solution: All personal wealth over $10M is taxed at 100% and used for free education, infrastructure, healthcare, housing and a base income for every citizen.
In a more and more automated world, it is already clear that not everyone has to work 40 or more hours a week. It is also clear that our species needs to live more gently on this planet, more like caretakers than gang rapers.
Removing the mad struggle for money and subsistence from the 99% through ethical sharing of the profits of production will go a long way to accomplish this. When no one can live above a certain level of wealth, distinction as an individual will come not from excess but from personal accomplishment. That’s a much more human measure of your humanity.
2. The 1% have no political power.
They do most certainly have the full attention of every level and branch of our government from the Federal on down to the smallest towns, because they have all our money, which they donate a pittance of to our politicians in order to bribe them to do their bidding.
Solution: Even in this extremely topsy-turvy “government by bribery” paradigm, the 1% cannot stand for an instant against the onslaught of all our votes to kick them and their stolen money right out of government, to the Nth degree. It will probably take massive civil disobedience to get this point across, but we could have the undivided attention of Congress, the President and the Supreme Court within a year or two by forcing them to accept only public funding for campaigns.
The new rules would be: absolutely no private or corporate campaign contributions, gifts, or career benefits given to politicians at any level. No lobbying by corporations, and no lobbying by former politicians, ever.
Lobbying will be replaced by every bill introduced in Congress or at City Hall being subject to public scrutiny for 30 days prior to any vote. Lobbying can take place in the newspapers and over the internet. Every citizen is involved this way, if they feel the need to speak up.
Imagine how much more quickly the Trans Pacific Partnership treaty could be resolved to the benefit of all citizens if we could see the goddamned thing and comment on it. Or maybe it wouldn’t even come up.
3. The 1% do no work.
And that’s okay. Why would a person set for life need to work? But they must be recognized for what they are. Such people, and their heirs, are called rentiers — a word that should be on the tip of everyone’s tongue from now until we restore America to the best educated, most highly progressive and productive nation on earth.
Rentiers own land, assets, factories, funds and other means of production. They claim this ownership entitles them to take nearly all the profits away from those who do the actual work. They often claim this ownership proves they are smarter, wiser, all around better people than workers. They are special people who know what’s best for everyone, always, in every situation. Matters of culture, politics, economics and other weighty subjects are therefore best left to them to decide. And they really do have your best interests at heart at all times.
You know, aristocrats. Doing God’s work.
This theft of profits, unrestrained, is a crime against humanity, for it causes and commits the violence of endemic poverty upon countless millions, who go without nutrition, education, shelter, medical care, and hope.
This theft of profits, restrained, is healthy capitalism, for it spreads wealth around society like manure in the garden, so everything blossoms.
Capitalism restrained means that once you are set for life, you let others have a chance as well. Hoarding more wealth than you can reasonably spend in your lifetime makes you a genuine danger to others, since you are preventing them from having what you have merely so that you can have multiples of the same. It’s gluttony.
Right now, Bill Gates meets regularly with venture capitalists and other people to come up with dozens of new patents to file every month claiming ownership of techie ideas they never make any effort to produce on. They just want to suck money out of anyone who comes along and wants to use the idea to produce something useful. Now, if these fellows were still building a nest egg for themselves to see to their retirement, one could forgive this behavior perhaps. But given the staggering wealth already in the hands of Bill and his venture capitalist friends, this pathological grasping for ever more money is obscene.
Solution: Limit the total of profits, wages, and other perks and rewards to owners, management, shareholders, banks, rentiers of every kind to no more than 25 times the income of the lowest paid worker. This allows capitalism to blossom as it can when done right, when every worker has real wages, and every worker can become an investor themselves, rentiers who eventually need do no work if they choose.
Everyone is still subject to the overall $10M wealth limit. At a certain wealth point ($10M), your investments and wages are for the benefit of all citizens, not just you.
What about children? If you gift $10M to each of your children as they grow, you may earn another $10M for you, and $10M for your spouse. You may bet your $10M on the Mets for the pennant, just for the thrill of getting out there and earning another $10M. But the upper limit on personal wealth always applies. Your wealth goes to your heirs at death, unless they don’t want it. They might prefer to go get their own, thank you very much.
4. The 1% are not Americans.
Not any more. The mere fact of having so much of our money channeled into their hands through theft of profits from workers means they are inevitably internationalists, since money knows no nation as home. With nearly all profits from our work handed over to the 1%, they must then hand it all over to people on Wall Street or in the City or elsewhere to be used all over the world for speculation and government bribery and resource stripping that further impoverishes us all, and gives even more of our money to the 1%.
Solution: Restrain rentiers and speculators by the above $10M personal wealth limit, and by getting donated bribery money out of government entirely. When investment income is best obtained by investing in productive enterprises that properly share the profits between rentiers and workers, the mad frenzy to create mountains of money to hide offshore goes away.
The most you can accumulate personally is $10M. After that, you might as well go take a walk, learn to paint, write a book of poems, give your money to NASA or return to your work knowing you are making human lives better because you feel like doing that. Or spend it all on a really wild month in New Orleans or Tibet so you can come back and earn another $10M. Whatever floats your boat, monkey. But once you hold $10M in wealth, you work for the benefit of the rest of us. You work for fun, for satisfaction, for progress, for achievement, for love of what you do well.
I think a lot of our best and brightest people will be absolutely happy to do just that.