Democrats don't seem to get behind much at all, and that may be because too many of them are unprincipled, or that they have their priorities wrong, or they aren't really Democrats at all.
Anyway .... We have a 1% problem, and a 47% problem and the solution seems to lie in closing the gap.
It used to be Communists who were accused of a desire to "Redistribute Wealth and Income", a feat they never really managed to accomplish to any great effect.
All the time America was busily engaged in scouring the dusty "sub-bed" region for stray Reds, the Right in this country were busy getting on with ..... Redistributing Wealth and Income ..... Upwards!
You see it was never true that the GOP and it's attendant megalomaniacs were fearful of a redistribution of wealth. All they were actually concerned about was the direction.
So my first principle will be the following:
To each according to his needs, from each according to his ability
Although that phrase, or similar is popularly attributed to Karl Marx, Marx appears to have used a phrase in common parlance, as a conclusion to his vision of a society living on a higher plane.
Indeed, it may even be traced back to a Biblical origin:
Matthew 25 11-27
11 While the people were listening to these things, Jesus proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.
12 Therefore he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return.
13 And he summoned ten of his slaves, gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business with these until I come back.’
14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to be king over us!’
15 When he returned after receiving the kingdom, he summoned these slaves to whom he had given the money. He wanted to know how much they had earned by trading.
16 So the first one came before him and said, ‘Sir, your mina has made ten minas more.’
17 And the king said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you have been faithful in a very small matter, you will have authority over ten cities.’
18 Then the second one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has made five minas.’
19 So the king said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’
20 Then another slave came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina that I put away for safekeeping in a piece of cloth.
21 For I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You withdraw what you did not deposit and reap what you did not sow.’
22 The king said to him, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! So you knew, did you, that I was a severe man, withdrawing what I didn’t deposit and reaping what I didn’t sow?'
23 Why then didn’t you put my money in the bank, so that when I returned I could have collected it with interest?’
24 And he said to his attendants, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has ten.’
25 But they said to him, ‘Sir, he has ten minas already!’
26 ‘I tell you that everyone who has will be given more, but from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.
27 But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be their king, bring them here and slaughter them in front of me!’”
and Acts 4 32-37:
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.
33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all
34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales
35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”),
37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Being the "inclusive" Socialist that I am, I am happy to help the believers (the real ones), with Scripture ... and I am happy to quote it verbatim, I believe that it is out of copyright.
So a guiding principle appears to be that we should give where we can, and take what we need.
Let's look at the "wealth" bit of the equation:
There are a million of these diagrams, I found this one.
Wealth, per se, is less of an issue in the hands of the person who originally accumulated it, than it is in the hands of those who inherit it. The inheritors contributed nothing, nil, zip, nada. I don't begrudge the fortunate offspring of the wealthy a decent start in life, but I do object to the creation of an "entitled ruling generation of super rich", who contribute nothing.
So the next principle will be:
Inheritance (Wealth) Tax will be zero on the first two million dollars, fifty percent on the next five million and ninety percent on the remaining estate above five million dollars.
That is sufficient to make ones children very comfortable, without adding them to the worthless super-rich. There would be some exemptions. For example .. "lifetime gifts" would be taxed as income to the recipient, except for college fees, medical bills and reasonable help towards a first home, etc.
I do not seek to help the rich man to pass through the eye of a needle, merely to prevent too many people from receiving too much of that which they haven't earned.
Wealth in the hands of those who originated it is a minor issue, easily resolved. Income is less so.
How much income is too much? Not an easy question to answer, but in many cases it can be related to the income of those who contribute their efforts to that end. For example, were I the CEO of a major company, how much would it be reasonable for me to earn? Quite a lot, I would think. It is both an incentive and a reward. But I do not run the company myself, all the employees help and I do not have a company to run without them. So it's not unreasonable that my efforts are rewarded as a proportion of theirs. I will have the highest salary, because I am the "innovator", the driving force, the visionary, the Boss. My workforce is equally entitled to share the rewards, because they do the actual "creating".
So, next principle:
No company employee can earn more than 25X the hourly rate of the lowest paid employee. Stock options are salary, deferred and taxed when redeemed. Stock Options cannot be redeemed for ten years after they are granted. Stock Options, if offered, have to be offered to all employees.
All company employees shall have equal access to the same health plans and pension schemes
The effect is a simple one. The company can pay it's CEO whatever it wants, but to do so it must also raise the salaries of all of it's employees, in direct proportion. The delay on the stock options means that the Board will be very keen that the company is not just healthy this year, but healthy for at least the next ten years. Short term planning for profit just went out of the door. The wealthier employees will be tasked with protecting the long term futures of all the employees, in order to stay wealthy.
All income will be taxed at the individuals marginal rate, wherever that income comes from.
It might seem to some that these stipulations are a little harsh, or not, but historically they are pretty representative, certainly in terms of income; even if the Wealth Tax proposal is a bit radical.
Since 1947, the Census Bureau has employed a commonly used measure, the Gini coefficient (also known as the index of income concentration), to measure family income inequality. With two exceptions, the Gini coefficient decreased between 1947 and 1968. During this period, the Gini for families indicated a decrease in income inequality of 7.5 (±2.1) percent.2 Since 1968, however, this trend has reversed. Income inequality for families, measured by the Gini coefficient, increased between 1968 and 1998 (see Figure 1). The net effect over the entire 1947-1998 period is an increase in family income inequality.
Get the whole grisly story from the US Census Bureau.
Before I am accused of "the Politics of Envy", let me ask a few simple questions:
My neighbor, Garth Brooks, is sitting on an estimated $150 Million. Fair play to the guy, he earned it, but would he really be all that distressed if he only had $50 Million in the bank? He has three charming and delightful daughters, one in college, one about to go and a High Schooler. I hope they enjoy college without a care in the world, but have they earned the inheritance that is in their futures? Will they be better people when gifted tens of millions?
Sam Bradford left OU, a Public University, as number one pick in the NFL Draft. A contract estimated at $80 Million was his reward. Would he refuse to play football for $2 Million?. or $10 Million? Could not the balance be used to fund the futures of hundreds of other college students who would also like a full ride scholarship?
The vastly wealthy "Captains of Industry" do not draw their massive salaries and bonuses, then regard the money in the way that the rest of us regard our income. They already have more than any decent human being could actually spend. When we receive our monthly check, it is used to meet our personal and family needs ... to those other guys it is not ... Accumulating wealth is simply a way of keeping score!
We need to help them find a more productive scoring system.
Imagine too what we might accomplish with the revenue that would be generated. A healthier, happier and better educated workforce. One result would be that the rich actually find it easier to get rich in the first place, and that we all would be happier.
It's not a bad, Socialist, ambition.
Sure there is more, much more, but that's enough for all the "too long, didn't reads" among you.