Bridging the Deep Political Divide of 2021…Economically

Social IssuesCulture

  • Author Rick Osbourne
  • Published January 16, 2021
  • Word count 2,210

What if, in the midst of this unprecedented 21st century health/economic crisis, we could systematically reconfigure America’s free market economy in such a way that would…

  1. Balance the budget, minimize the need for and the cost of the social safety net, eventually pay off the national debt, and in the process satisfy the small government, fiscal conservatives on the right, all while…

  2. Leveling the economic playing field in such a way that every American, (regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, political or religious orientation) has an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY to participate and to live a meaningful life in the USA, which would satisfy the liberal, progressives on the left…SIMULTANEOUSLY?

With America reeling in the wake of the recent white nationalists sponsored, terrorist attack/ insurrection in Washington, DC, and in a moment when we’re currently more divided than we’ve been since the Civil War, such a unifying possibility sounds like pie in the sky, wishful thinking at best. But consider the following “outside the box” scenario and see if you think that it just might bridge America’s deep political divide of 2021, beginning with the economy?

Starting With the Facts…

Let’s start with a couple of important FACTS. On average, the American economy grows at the rate of $4,000,000,000,000 (yes that’s 4 trillion dollars) annually. With a current population of about 330 million people that translates into about $12,000 for every man, woman, and child in America. But generally speaking, the beneficiaries of this annual growth are currently limited to those people who can afford to buy the stocks, bonds, real estate, and technological developments that account for this growth.

More specifically we’re talking about less than 10% of Americans who have the means to take advantage of this relatively predictable growth, and 90% who lack the opportunity to participate. Thus, we now have a 21st century wealth gap that is wider and more toxic than any time since the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression which followed in its wake.

To make matters worse, this was the case long before the current pandemic oriented economic crisis raised its ugly head. In response to millions of workers losing their incomes and healthcare due to the pandemic, the Federal government increased unemployment benefits for several months, and issued so called “stimulus checks” ($1,200 with more on the way from the new Biden /Harris administration)” to millions of people in an effort to artificially jump-start demand and to prevent the American ship of state from sinking into oblivion.

Unpalatable But Necessary Steps

In taking these unpalatable but necessary steps the government has significantly increased the already massive debt load, which means it’s a short-term not a long-term solution. The hope of course is to artificially resuscitate demand, which theoretically should recreate jobs and get we the people back to work and lead us all back to where we were before the virus struck.

The problem is that, even before the virus struck, we the people were not in a very good place. Even before the virus erupted over half of all Americans were living paycheck to paycheck, unable to afford a $500 bump in the road without having to borrow money in order to pay for it. Things are dramatically worse than they were several months ago before the virus. But the place we were is still not the place to which we the people are longing to return. So, what can we do?

The $4 Trillion Dollar Strategy That Creates No Debt!

Now let’s recall that on average, the American economy grows at the rate of $4 trillion dollars annually. Once again, that translates into about $12,000 annually for every man, woman, and child in America. But the beneficiaries of this annual growth are those who can afford to buy the stocks, bonds real estate, and new technology, which generally EXCLUDES WE THE PEOPLE.

The question I want to raise now is, how can we make sure the average American has systematic access to the ownership side of the economy, where MOST OF THE NEW WEALTH IS BEING GENERATED? How can the average Joe gain access to that $4 trillion dollars of predictable growth in order to generate a second stream of investment income, while eliminating the fear and instability that so many Americans suffer from in today’s incredibly imbalanced economy?

Consider the Following Possibility…

• What if the Federal Reserve, through local banks

• issued $12,000 of FULLY INSURED CAPITAL CREDIT LOANS

• to every single American citizen (man, woman, and child regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or economic status) annually

• at 0% interest, and…

• allowed the loan to be repaid via FUTURE, PRE-TAX EARNINGS/DIVIDENDS – NOT FROM PERSONAL SAVINGS

• along with a stipulation that these funds could ONLY BE USED to purchase shares of new and transferred capital assets that would predictably generate enough future profits to pay for the purchase and create residual incomes for their owners

• And then insured every single transaction in case it fails to pay off?

This strategy is called ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY (a.k.a. Capital Homesteading). Because each transaction is instantly collateralized and insured, it creates NO GOVERNMENT DEBT and costs American taxpayers NOTHING. Because each transaction is instantly collateralized and insured, it creates NO LONG-TERM CONSUMER DEBT. And since it does not dilute the value of existing currency with government debt backed dollars (it just gives everyone equal access to the ownership side of America's economy) it creates NO INFLATION!

What Economic Democracy Will Do However Is…

• Give every American systematic access to the ownership side of the American economy, where most of our nations’ new wealth is being generated.

• Create a residual stream of income for all Americans thru ownership - not labor

• END AMERICAN POVERTY AND HEAL THE RACIAL DIVIDE

• Stabilize family life,

• Minimize the mental illness known as GREED that so poisons American culture

• In the long run it will help democratize/stabilize America’s free market economy

• Create millions of new taxpayers, thereby DILUTING and REDUCING the TAX BURDEN on those who still actually pay taxes

• Minimize the growing threat of artificial intelligence in Americas’ job market

• Balance the national budget,

• PAY OFF OUR MASSIVE NATIONAL DEBT!

• And potentially bridge the deep political divide of 2021 starting with the economy!

One Simple Example

Here’s one simple example of how Economic Democracy would benefit the next generation of Americans. If implemented, by age10 every child would have had $120,000 (10 times $12,000) invested on their behalf and paying dividends. By age 18 well over $200,000 would have been invested and be generating dividends that would easily pay for a debt-free college education along with all the benefits that would follow in its wake. And the retirement benefits would at least minimize if not eliminate the need for Social Security!

In this moment of political division and strife Economic Democracy literally pays all Americans to pull together, at the same time, in the same direction, towards the same goals! It translates mere political talk (such as…we’re all in this together) into real live, results driven action!

It Systematically Counteracts Concentrated Wealth/Greed!

Over time, each American citizen will accumulate more equity, more residual income, and benefit from their investment income in a way that only the wealthy can today. As a result, the need for federally backed social safety net programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, etc.) will gradually fade into the sunset. More people will be able to pay taxes, which in turn decreases the burden on those among us who still pay taxes. It systematically counteracts concentrated wealth/greed as it gradually democratizes America’s free-market economy!

Yet This Free Market, Trickle-Up, Non-Socialistic Solution Has Been Totally Ignored!!!

If any previous administration (including Obama/Biden) had implemented Economic Democracy, today’s COVOD 19/Unemployment crisis would not be such a crisis. We the people could afford stay at home and still have sufficient income to weather a much less severe storm. But to date this Copernican revolution in economics has been completely ignored. But then, desperate times call for desperate measures. It’s high time we seriously consider innovation!

Economic Democracy In Detail

I confess, this commentary has been a generalized portrait in dire need of more detail. So, for a full and detailed explanation of how this strategy could be implemented, go to CESJ.ORG and check out the concept that Dr. Norman Kurland calls the ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY ACT. It’s an ingenious idea whose time is long overdue. And it’s one very good thing that could actually come to fruition as the result of this horrific, COVID 19 crisis.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Where does all the money come from? The money comes from historically predictable GROWTH. That is to say it comes in the form of NEW, FUTURE EARNINGS/ DIVIDENDS (not from tapping into one’s current savings or putting a second mortgage on the family home).

  2. Does it raise taxes? No! It lowers current taxpayers’ burden by creating millions of new tax payers who will help carry that burden and eventually pay off the national debt.

  3. Is Economic Democracy similar to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan/ESOP? Yes. But instead of covering just those who work for employee-owned companies and who have access to an ESOP, Economic Democracy uses the same strategy to cover everyone (regardless of age, gender, race, religion) most of whom lack the required means to participate in the (predictably profitable) ownership side of the American economy.

  4. How does Economic Democracy reduce wage slavery in the US? By giving everyone (as opposed to a few) legitimate access to the ownership side of the US economy (where almost all then new wealth is generated) and creating residual incomes for everyone in the process, Economic Democracy reduces the necessity for anyone to sell their most productive hours of the day (week, month, year, life) to an employer in exchange for a pay check with which to pay their bills.

  5. Who will pick up the garbage, harvest the produce, wait the tables, and flip the hamburgers? Who will do the dirty work if everyone has a steady residual income to depend on? Good question. Since robots are quickly replacing repeatable/mechanical jobs across the nation, the bloody robots should be able to answer that question for us.

  6. Why would the mainstream media fail to inform “we the people” about such a revolutionary economic strategy? Quite simply, the entire mainstream media (including CNN and MSNBC) is owned and controlled by the one percent. And the one percent prefers to keep “we the people” under control and in the dark about revolutionary ideas that threaten to undermine their concentrated wealthy/power. We’re allowed to see and hear what media owners allow us to see and hear. In other words, America’s mainstream media delivers little more than profitable propaganda that, in the long run, supports concentrated wealth/power.

  7. Why doesn’t academia introduce this strategy to all their future economists? To be honest, most economists themselves have never been introduced to Economic Democracy. They can’t teach what they don’t know. But in the 21st century, academia is largely dependent on corporate funding (i.e. the one percent) for their existence. So even if they are familiar with Economic Democracy, academicians can ill afford to introduce this revolutionary strategy to future economists without risking their own employment in the process. Bureaucrats (conventionalists) hardly ever rock the boat.

Addendum…

UBI vs. Economic Democracy Comparison

Stimulus checks are effectively a short-term form of Universal Basic Income (UBI), an idea which has been advocated by among others, former presidential hopeful and serial entrepreneur Andrew Yang, as well as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Elon Musk of Tesla. Although the suggested annual amount of money issued ($12,000 annually) is the same as Economic Democracy, that’s where the similarity ends. Check out the differences.

  1. Since it issues insured capital credit loans that are paid back via pre-tax, future earnings generated from secured, wealth producing capital assets, Economic Democracy creates NO GOVERNMENT, NO COMSUMER DEBT, and NO INFLATION! UBI and stimulus checks create government debt that will eventually be paid back by we the people (not the 1% who are spectacular at avoiding taxes) in the form of higher taxes.

  2. Economic Democracy systematically creates universal capital ownership opportunity and access to the means of acquiring wealth producing capital assets. UBI does not.

  3. Economic Democracy systematically finances predictable and sustainable growth of the economy. UBI does not.

  4. Economic Democracy systematically enables individual citizens to become economically empowered and liberated through capital ownership. UBI does not.

  5. Economic Democracy systematically enables citizens to become economically independent of the government. UBI does not.

  6. Economic Democracy systematically generates mass purchasing power through ever-broadening citizen ownership of income producing capital. UBI does not.

  7. Economic Democracy systematically creates new owners of advanced technologies and green growth assets UBI does not.

  8. Economic Democracy systematically creates a growing tax base to pay the costs of government, thereby eliminating deficit spending and eventually paying off the currently massive government debt. UBI does not.

  9. UBI/Stimulus checks are simple and immediate. That’s their strength.

  10. Economic Democracy requires some time (usually a number of years) in order for benefits to accumulate. That’s why UBI should start immediately and be phased out over time in favor of Economic Democracy.

Rick Osbourne is a former public school teacher who has spent the past 20 years of his life writing for a living. His primary interests include politics (he's an independent), psychology (in particular Dr. Erich Fromm), economics (a Center for Economic and Social Justice/CESJ.ORG board member), and childhood obesity prevention (www.pullyourownweight.org). He's married and resides in Naperville, IL with his wife of almost 48 years, Pamela. He can be reached via email at osbourne.rick@gmail.com

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