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The right to an equitable sharing of contributions to the common good.

August 7, 2017

Wake up America

Economic Democracy — basic rights fundamental to a society committed to a fair distribution of wealth, income, and power:


Because there are so many sensible fixes for the tax system discussed in the progressive blog-o-sphere and elsewhere that are readily available to anyone, it would be unnecessary for me to discuss them here. It is sufficient to mention that whatever the tax if it is not truly progressive and if it encourages capital accumulation at the expense of labor or consumption of practical necessities, it is not consistent with Economic Democracy. Dealing with the deficit hysteria is of greater immediate concern.

The deficit hysteria a fraud. The Republicans knew it when they ran up the deficit to pay for their tax cuts to the wealthy. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that the masters of the Republican Party would have you believe, the wealthy are not, I repeat they are not, the productive element of society but are the primary beneficiaries of that productivity. In fact the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, statistics show the percentage of value added to our society from manufacturing since 1950 has steadily dropped until now it is less than the both the financial sector and the professional services (lawyers and accountants) sectors.

Even though anguish at the size of the deficit is a phony tactic used to scare the public into transferring more of their wealth into the hands of the fortunate few, the principles implied by Economic Democracy require the deficit, if it is going to be reduced, be reduced first from funds transferred from those that can most afford it and who have benefited the most from society’s largess. After all, what kind of a society have we become when we will give untold amount of wealth to our wealthiest and often least socially productive citizens and stand strangely quiet when our public deficit balloons, and then turn and blame the teachers of our children for increasing the deficit by their asking for a few dollars raise in pay and then demanding that they give back raises they had already received to help reduce the defect that under no rational analysis could they conceivably had a hand in causing? Where has been the cry for them who received the public benefits that caused whatever deficit crisis we now face to give back the money? A fair and just society would not just cancel the gift of public funds at some time in the future, but demand that what they received be paid back with interest.

Obviously, a necessary and essential step is to allow tax cuts for the wealthy to lapse and they get back to paying a fairer share of the costs of the society that so greatly benefited them. The Republican Party also managed a twofer with the tax cuts during the Bush administration, not only did the already wealthy benefit, but Wall Street also made billions in commissions for transacting the loans the government required to pay for the tax cut.

The two wars that we are waging must be ended sooner rather than later. There is no reason in the world why the most powerful country in the world would or should allow itself get bogged down in a war of attrition. Either the enemy is a real threat to our existence and freedom, like the Soviet Union may have been, in which case we may need to use whatever means we have available to deal with it or we should not place American lives and treasure at risk. The wars themselves take our tax dollars and spend them all too often on war profiteers and in foreign countries on goods and services that do not benefit the American worker or small business.

Although the defense budget may be grossly inflated and need of pruning an even more fundamental question needs to be addressed. Why is it we allow the defense industries to make a profit on our common defense needs and then permit them use these profits to lobby our government to purchase more equipment? Why do we ask our sons and daughters to put themselves in harms way to fight and die for the rest of us while the owners of the companies supplying their equipment reap huge profits? War profiteering is wrong. The profits should be going instead of into the pockets of the profiteers, into the hands of the men and women doing the fighting and dying and their families. The argument is, of course, that if we don’t pay them their unconscionable profits, they will not supply us the goods we need and our defense will suffer. And that threat apparently, according to the Republican Party, represents the highest form of patriotism

If the defense of our country requires giving bribes to those unwilling to bear the risks that the defense of democracy entails, we will not long be the strongest country in the world nor long be free. During WWII under some of the greatest threats and economic stresses this country had ever faced, stringent war profiteering controls were imposed. We need independent auditors and investigators to prevent the continuing waste of the countries defense budget by the defense industry, probably more so than a review of the defense budget itself.

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