The single biggest economic problem facing America and the world is the Gap between the rich and the rest.
The rich would have you believe the fault is with the poor, who are “lazy, criminal, and intentionally unsuitable parents.”
The rich claim the poor would rather wallow in poverty and ignorance, and receive what the rich term “free stuff,” than to work for a living.
It is a lie paid for by the rich and disseminated by the right-wing.
The left-wing would have you believe they truly wish to narrow the Gap.
But they too are bribed by the rich. They wring their hands in false compassion and fake helplessness, saying in effect, “We want to narrow the Gap, but the money isn’t there, so we can’t afford it.”
That too is a lie; that lie too is paid for by the rich.
1. The poor are not at fault for their poverty, and
2. The federal government easily could afford to cure poverty in America.
1. THE POOR ARE NOT AT FAULT:
Lock Up the Men, Evict the Women and Children
Posted on May 29, 2016, By Chris Hedges
Matthew Desmond’s book, “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” like Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed,” is a heartbreaking snapshot of the rapacious exploitation and misery we inflict on the most vulnerable, especially children.
It is a picture of a world where industries have been created to fleece the poor, and destroy neighborhoods and ultimately lives.
It portrays a judicial system that has broken down, a dysfunctional social service system and the license in neoliberal America to carry out unchecked greed, no matter what the cost.
Being poor in America is one long emergency. You teeter on the edge of bankruptcy, homelessness and hunger. You endure cataclysmic levels of stress, harassment and anxiety and long bouts of depression.
Rent strips you of half your income—one in four families spend 70 percent of their income on rent—until you and your children are evicted, often into homeless shelters or abandoned buildings, when you fall behind on payments.
A financial crisis—a medical emergency, a reduction in hours at work or the loss of a job, funeral expenses or car repairs—can lead inexorably to an eviction.
Creditors, payday lenders and collection agencies hound you. You are often forced to declare bankruptcy.
You cope with endemic violence, gangs, drugs and a judicial system that permits brutal police abuse and ships you to jail, or slaps you with huge fines, for minor offenses.
You live for weeks or months with no heat, water or electricity because you cannot pay the utility bills, especially since fuel and utility rates have risen by more than 50 percent since 2000.
Single mothers and their children usually endure this hell alone, because the men in these communities are locked up. Millions of families are tossed into the street every year.
The working poor, now half of the country, have fallen to levels of misery unseen since the Great Depression.
All of this misery — all of it — is funded by the rich. The rigged judicial system, the unaffordable rents, the creditors, the payday lenders, the collection agencies, the evictions — all at the behest of the rich.
“These days, there are sheriff’s squads whose full-time job is to carry out eviction and foreclosure orders,” Desmond wrote. “There are moving companies specializing in evictions, their crews working all day, every weekday.
“There are hundreds of data-mining companies that sell landlords tenant screening reports listing past evictions and court filings. These days housing courts swell, forcing commissioners to settle cases in hallways or makeshift offices crammed with old desks and broken file cabinets—and most tenants don’t even show up.
“Low-income families have grown used to the rumble of moving trucks, the early-morning knocks at the door, the belongings lining the curb.”
And it all is funded by the rich, and for the benefit of the rich, whose sole aim is to widen the Gap between them and the poor.
There is a lot of money to be made off the poor. They are defenseless. And the law is on the side of the predators.
As Desmond noted in his book, in “many housing courts around the country 90 percent of landlords are represented by attorneys, and 90 percent of tenants are not.”
A life of dead ends led many in Desmond’s book to make decisions that, on the outside, could be seen as irresponsible or foolish: withholding rent payments, or as Larraine Jenkins (not her real name) did, blowing her monthly allocation of food stamps on a dinner of lobster tails, shrimp, crab, lemon meringue pie and Pepsi.
But the present is unbearable, and the future, they know, is grim. So they block the future out and seek, for a moment, to make the present endurable.
It is why so many of the poor turn to drugs or alcohol. Jenkins, as Desmond wrote, was not “poor because she threw money away.” She “threw money away because she was poor.”
The rich point at the “Larraine Jenkinses” and exclaim to you in false horror, that the poor waste their food stamps on the high life. And you believe, because you hear the same lie, again and again.
Escape is denied to the poor. Consider college, the seeming door to freedom.
But, a poor child’s time is needed for earning family income. There is no time for college.
Even if the family can survive without the child’s income, college remains too expensive. “Free” tuition is costly. Who will pay for rent and food and books and clothing and a life away?
And then there is the bait and hook of student loans, the permanent indebtedness of loans based on excessive tuitions — loans that uniquely cannot be discharged in bankruptcy — forever indebtedness to the rich.
College loans are the indentured servitude of modern America, massively benefitting the rich lenders and enslaving America’s children.
As the right-wing sneers at the lazy, good-for-nothing poor, and the left-wing cries its crocodile tears for the unfortunate poor, both repeat The BIG LIE
You hear The BIG LIE every day. It’s told to you by the bribed politicians, the owned media, and by the paid university economists. The “BIG LIE says:
— The federal government somehow can run short of its own sovereign currency
— The federal government cannot afford to lift Americans out of poverty
— Lifting the poor would just make them lazier
— The federal government is too big, so spending should be cut.
— The so-called federal “debt” is unsustainable.
— Spending for the poor will cause hyperinflation
If you repeat a lie often enough it is perceived as truth. But the real truth is:
- The U.S. federal government cannot run short of the dollars it originally created from thin air merely by passing laws from thin air.
- Because the federal government cannot run short of dollars, it can afford to pay any bill of any size at any time.
- Just as you did not become lazy when your parents kept you from poverty, the poor will not become lazy if the federal government lifts them from poverty.
- Increased spending for the poor does not require federal government employment to grow, and even if it did grow, that growth would stimulate the economy, benefiting everyone.
- The federal “debt” isn’t even a debt; it is money deposited in T-security accounts at the Federal Reserve Bank — just bank deposits.
- Hyperinflation occurs when the Supply of money exceeds Demand. However, our Monetarily Sovereign government controls the money demand via interest rates. Historically, hyperinflation has caused excessive money creation and not the other way around.
The solution — and yes, there is a solution — would be the implementation of the Ten Steps to Prosperity:
THE TEN STEPS TO PROSPERITY:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich afford better health care than the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE AN ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA, AND/OR EVERY STATE, A PER CAPITA ECONOMIC BONUS (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONEFive reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefiting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE CORPORATE TAXES
Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don’t pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-tranferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government (the later having no use for those dollars).
Any tax on corporations reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all corporate taxes come around and reappear as deductions from your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.)
Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. Being Monetarily Sovereign, the federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and corporate taxes would be a good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.
Let us stop believing the lies of the rich, and begin to make this a better world. Demand the Ten Steps to Prosperity.
Even if you have no compassion for the poor, do it for your own sake. Prosperity will benefit you, too.
Lifting the poor will not merely save the poor; it will save America. It’s not just charity; it’s not just patriotism; it’s self-preservation.