Saturday, May 31, 2014

Plutocracy And A Dystopian Future For Our Children


The wave of super-charged economic inequality-- spurred by uncontrolled greed and avarice and abetted by sold out politicians-- isn't just drowning the American middle class. This week, the British are being told to get ready for a grim future, with no chance for the vast population to "claw their way out of a hand-to-mouth existence."
Rising house prices will see the British middle classes disappear within 30 years, leaving behind a tiny elite and a huge proletariat, a Government adviser has warned.

David Boyle, a fellow of the New Economics Foundation think tank, said that for many young people today owning their own home was a pipe dream… [H]e said that the traditional middle classes would have to work multiple jobs-- with scarcely any leisure time-- just to be able to pay rent.

…“We won’t own our own homes, we won’t be able to afford it.

“It will constrain our dreams and constrain the dreams of our children. It’s a new kind of economy where there are no middle classes at all.

“Nobody in society will have the kind of space in their lives, space in their homes, space in their careers for any kind of culture at all, because we will be having three or four jobs to make ends meet.

“I think it will impoverish society, make it more intolerant and make it more difficult to live.”
The video up top is Bill Moyers' interview with economist Joseph Stiglitz, who has written a new white paper for the Roosevelt Institute showing how that paying our fair share of taxes and cracking down on corporate tax dodgers could be a cure for the kind of inequality-- and a faltering economy-- that David Boyle is warning his British countrymen about above and that Piketty talks about in his new book, Capital. Apple, Google, GE and a host of other Fortune 500 companies, he asserts, are creating what amounts to "an unlimited IRA for corporations," some of them paying no taxes whatsoever. This results in vast amounts of lost revenue for the U.S. treasury and the exporting of much-needed jobs to other countries in an endless race for ever cheaper labor costs. Stiglitz insists that there's an ethical issue of corporations using our national resources without paying for them. He says corporations like Apple are willing to take from our country by using "the ingenuity of America, based on the Internet, created, in large measure, by government spending, but not to give back" by paying their taxes. Stiglitz paints as frightening a picture of a plutocratic future as Boyle:
Our country faces a lot of challenges… 20 million Americans would like a full-time job and can't get one. We have growing inequality. We have environmental problems that threaten the future of our planet. I think we can use our tax system to create a better society, to be an expression of our true values. But if people don't think that their tax system is fair, they're not going to want to contribute. It's going to be difficult to get them to pay. And, unfortunately, right now, our tax system is neither fair nor efficient. Look at the tax rate paid by that one percent. It's much lower than the tax rate paid by somebody whose income is lower who works hard for a living, as a percentage of their income.

…We have this vicious cycle where economic inequality gets translated into political inequality. It gets translated into rules of the game that lead to more economic inequality, and which allow that economic inequality to get translated into evermore political inequality. So, my view, you know, the only way we're going to break into this viscous cycle is if people come to understand that there is an alternative system out here.

That there is an alternative way of raising taxes, that we are not really faced with a budget crisis. It's a manmade crisis. You know, when we had the government shutdown, we realized that that was a political crisis. That wasn't an economic crisis. And the same thing about our budget crisis, you know. It's not that we couldn't raise the revenues in a way which actually could make our economy stronger. We can.

If we just had a fair tax system, to tax capital at the same rate that we tax ordinary individuals, if we just made those people in that upper 1 percent pay their fair share of the taxes they got 22.5 percent of the income, well, let's make sure that they pay a commensurate part of our income tax, if we had taxes that would be designed to improve our environment.

…Our democracy is now probably better described as one dollar, one vote than one person, one vote. We have a tax system that reflects not the interest of the middle. We have a tax system that reflects the interest of the one percent.
What's most incredible to me is that an ill-educated voting public, spiritually poisoned by their own racism, bigotry and paranoias, brainwashed by right-wing media and a few profoundly anti-democratic billionaires, will vote itself-- and the rest of us-- back into slavery.

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At 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your last paragraph is awesome. Too true. Unbelievable but very likely true.

- L.P.


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