It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders.
Are you a self-reliant person?
A fundamental difference between conservatism and progressivism is:
Conservatives believe you are or should be self-reliant, while progressives believe you are not, and cannot be, self-reliant.
Evolution tells you that you are the result of a many-million year, unbroken chain of victories. Your ancestors battled nature again and again, for millions of generations, and not one of them lost before giving birth to a descendant.
They fought every sort of weather. They fought every sort of enemy, from microscopic germs to giant predators.
There were volcanoes, meteors, floods, landslides, accidents. Your ancestors survived them all.
There were other humans, competing and warring for food, shelter, and companionship.
In a “dog-eat-dog,” “survival-of-the-fittest” world, in which many billions of life forms began and died, your ancestors repeatedly survived. What are the chances of that?
Consider the physical and emotional strength of the few who survived the dangers of the birth ordeal, followed by the ongoing dangers of the maturation period required to produce descendants, repeating again and again.
Every one of your ancestors survived long enough, and they each have passed that physical and emotional strength down to you.
Given your endless history of personal victories, are you a self-reliant person?
Humans are primates, and most primates are social species.
An important advantage that primates have in the competition for survival is their practice of living in societies which have a constant close association of young and old through a long life duration.
The young learn survival skills from experienced, knowledgeable adults. The result is that by the time primates are grown, they are usually proficient in dealing with each other and the environment.
Social advantage #1: Educating the young and educating each other by communicating experiences.
While primate instinctive survival skills are minimal, their social skills are unusually effective. Acting together in groups, they often can avoid or intimidate predators.
Social advantage #2: The group protects the individual, particularly the weaker in the group, those most in need of protection.
Groups of primates also have a greater opportunity in discovering and controlling food sources.
Social advantage #3. Finding, creating, defending and sharing of resources.
The rare species in which most individuals live solitary lives are, of course, exceptions.
Few scientists would argue with the notion that social grouping and networking has been a large part of the human species’s survival and success. Yet the very existence of a society implies that we cannot be completely self-reliant.
We need the cooperation of the others with whom we compete.
We have evolved from the internal competition among individual members, that strengthens our genetic line. and the social group that protects our genetic line.
We are the product of two opposing forces, the yin and the yang of self-reliance and of group-reliance.
The conservatives tend to believe that people should be self-reliant, and that those who are not — particularly the poor and the infirm– are lazy and weak and a drag on society.
Any government benefits that are given to the weak are thought to encourage sloth and to breed future generations of unproductive “takers.”
The poor are said to be at fault for their misery, and if only they would “shape up” they wouldn’t need to beg the rest of us for help. That is the conservative faith.
The progressives, by contrast, believe that the very reason humans are a social species is to protect individual members of the group, particularly those least able to protect themselves — the poor, the sick, the weak.
Progressives hold that the more a society protects its most vulnerable, the stronger are the bonds that create the society. It is this protection-of-all that measures the durability of a society. A group that does not protect its weakest, will decay, break down and disappear.
Recently, we have seen the different philosophies with regard to health care. The conservatives believe everyone — rich and poor, sick and healthy, old and young — should do whatever is necessary to provide for their own health care.
The progressives believe society owes health care to everyone in the society, and that none should be excluded by virtue of their social weaknesses.
So the conservatives proposed health-care plans that exclude millions whose finances preclude them from paying doctors, hospitals, other health-care workers and pharmaceutical companies.
Progressives proposed complex plans that benefit the poor, the sick, the young and the aged while taxing the healthy and robust.
None of the plans, the conservative’s or the progressive’s, would need to be paid for by taxpayers, (In our Monetarily Sovereign nation, taxpayers do not fund federal spending).
So the question becomes: How does it benefit a society to exclude some members because of poverty, illness, or age?
Remember, there is no financial cost to the American taxpayer for providing health care to all, though for similar plans there would be costs to such monetarily non-sovereign entities as states, counties, cities, businesses, and euro nations.
Some might argue that though there is no financial cost, there are other costs: A potential shortage of health-care providers and drugs. However:
- History shows that when there are sufficient (government) dollars to pay for goods and services, the economy will provide those goods and services. And more importantly:
- Rationing health care on the basis of ability to pay, rather than on intelligence, creativity, character, and other assets that benefit society, is not a good evolutionary criterion. And:
- Denying health care is tantamount to creating sickness, which would diminish the productivity and strength of the entire group. Thus rationing any survival asset — food, clothing, housing, education, and healthcare — weakens the entire social group.
For example, Islam suffers from its treatment of women, which denies entire nations of the intelligence, creativity, and productivity half their population could offer.
Elizabeth Warren proclaimed the progressive theory when she said:
“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.
“You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.
“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”
Barack Obama pronounced the same progressive idea:
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges.
“If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”
Shortly after, Mitt Romney gave the conservative viewpoint:
“To say that Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple, that Henry Ford didn’t build Ford Motors, that Papa John didn’t build Papa John Pizza … To say something like that, it’s not just foolishness. It’s insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America.”
To complete the circle, both the yin and the yang must be present. Both the steel fist of the warrior builder and the open hand of the benevolent contributor.
We need the soldier, the fire fighter and the police officer; we need the food pantry server, the teacher, and nurse all of whom give their lives to protect our society. We need the immigrant picking in the field and washing dishes in the restaurant.
Dooming the lower income classes to inferior public services weakens all of America.
In summary, the conservatives are wrong to claim that lack of income and wealth are good criteria for denying health care.
The progressives are wrong to propose complex, convoluted plans to avoid using federal dollars — and both parties are wrong to claim that taxpayers fund federal spending.
We are not alone. We are not self-reliant. We all rely on society.
With charity, we give to ourselves. We are what we do for ourselves and what we do for others — the yin and the yang.
Those bonds are the strength of our society.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-mores and the have-less.
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 can afford better health care than can 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 A MONTHLY ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA (similar to Social Security for All) (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB (Economic Bonus)) 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 EVERYONE Five 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 benefitting 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 FEDERAL TAXES ON BUSINESS
Businesses are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the federal government (the later having no use for those dollars). Any tax on businesses reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all business taxes reduce 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 business 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.