As most, regular readers of this blog know, the income/wealth/power Gaps between the rich and the rest, constitute the single, most important economic problem facing America and the world.
The Gaps exacerbate crime, disease, poor education and housing, infrastructure decline, the ecology, unnecessary war, and unfair justice, among other issues.
Today, we see an example in the following article from the October 1, 2016, Chicago Tribune:
An 18-year-old accused of fatally shooting a Mundelein man in the Campustown district at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign early Sunday morning was ordered held in lieu of $5 million bail Friday afternoon.
Robert Patton is accused of shooting into a crowd early Sunday, killing George Korchev, 22, and injuring three others.
Authorities say Patton committed the shooting two weeks after getting released from a boot camp that helped him to avoid prison on a gun charge conviction from an incident last December.
Patton turned himself in around 10:15 p.m. Thursday after the Champaign Police Department issued a warrant for his arrest Wednesday.
Patton could face 20 to 60 years in prison for murder, plus an additional 25 for the firearm, and 6 to 30 years for aggravated battery with a firearm.
What is the purpose of money-bail, and why $5 million?
I’ll answer the 2nd question first: Why $5 million? The clear purpose is to make the bail unaffordable for Patton, so that he will not be loose on the street. The judge clearly does not trust Patton on the street, despite the fact that Patton turned himself in..
That being the case, why offer any bail at all?
If Patton had $5 million (or even the 10%, $500 thousand cash required) should he be free to go? Would he be less of a risk to the public if he were rich?
Then, the first question: What is the purpose of bail?
According to the American Bar Association:
Bail is not a fine. It is not supposed to be used as punishment.
The purpose of bail is simply to ensure that defendants will appear for trial and all pretrial hearings for which they must be present.
Bail is returned to defendants when their trial is over, in some states minus a processing fee.
The judge or magistrate decides the amount of bail by weighing many factors:
- the risk of the defendant fleeing,
- the type of crime alleged,
- the “dangerousness” of defendants, and
- the safety of the community.
See the problem? Money bail presumes that poorer people, who are less likely to have bail money, must be more likely to flee and are more dangerous to the community.
A rich man, accused of the same crimes as Patton, will make bail and be free.
Question: Do you agree with that concept?
As a side note, the existence of bail bondsmen — people who lend money to those whom the bondsmen trust to return to court — tacitly assumes they:
- Are better able to evaluate the reliability of the accused than is the judge who sets the bond.
- Are better able to apprehend a fleeing accused than are the police.
Question: Do you agree with those concepts?
If you answered “No” to both agreement questions, then you feel the entire money-bail system is unfair, outdated and should be eliminated.
Yet it exists, as a constant reminder of the Gap between the rich and the rest — one more reason to institute the Ten Steps To Prosperity (below).
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the rich and the rest.
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.
Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:
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 ANNUAL 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-transferring 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. 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 you.