Defending America’s Democracy? Here’s How to Fund it!

Social IssuesCulture

  • Author Rick Osbourne
  • Published July 23, 2021
  • Word count 1,811

In the wake of Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, his totally unproven claims of election fraud, the January 6th insurrection, and in the midst of Republican attacks on voting rights across the nation, there’s also been a lot of talk about DEFENDING AMERICA’S DEMOCRACY. But the critical aspect of “how to fund a political democracy” hardly ever finds its way into the conversation. So, let’s talk about how to fund a political democracy.

Let’s start with the obvious. America cannot have a legitimate political democracy (a government of the people, by the people, and for the people) when so much wealth/power is concentrated in the hands of so few at the expense of so many. When the 1% owns and controls the US House of Representatives, the Senate, the Presidency, state legislatures, and the media, the politicians can claim that we have a democracy. But we don’t. We have an American oligarchy – a government of the people, by the wealthy and for the wealthy.

In any case, the wealth gap between the haves and the have nots in America has been growing steadily since 1980. It hasn’t mattered whether the Democrats were in control or the Republicans were in control. Wealth/power has become more and more concentrated (democracy has been steadily shrinking) for at least four decades. The problem is currently as bad or worse than in was in the 1920’s when the economy literally collapsed under a very similar imbalance.

That said, if we fail to systematically DECONCENTRATE wealth/power in America, a genuine political democracy is impossible. And by the way, concentrated wealth is concentrated wealth whether it’s in the hands of the private sector (the 1%) or the public sector (the government). So, the question becomes…how can we systematically deconcentrate America’s free-market economy in such a way that a genuine political democracy is economically encouraged? With that question in mind, check out the following scenario and consider the possibilities.

$4 Trillion Dollars Annually…

On average, the American economy produces about $4,000,000,000,000 (yes that’s 4 trillion dollars) worth of new, productive capital assets annually. That translates into $12,000 for every man, woman, and child in America. But generally speaking, the beneficiaries of this predictable annual growth are limited to people who can afford to purchase these wealth- producing capital assets that account for our nation’s annual growth.

More specifically, we’re talking about less than 10% of Americans who have the means to take advantage of these relatively predictable opportunities, 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 virus, the Federal government increased unemployment benefits for several months, and issued so called “stimulus checks” to millions of people in an effort to artificially jump-start demand and to prevent the 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 in turn should recreate jobs, 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 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 16 months ago. 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 Idea That Creates No Debt!

Now let’s recall that on average, the American economy creates $4 trillion dollars-worth of new, wealth producing capital assets annually. Once again, that translates into about $12,000 annually for every man, woman, and child in America. But the beneficiaries of this annual phenomena are limited to those who can afford to participate in the ownership side of the American economy. And this 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 productive, economic opportunity in order to generate a second 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 $10,000 of FULLY INSURED CAPITAL CREDIT LOANS

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

• at ZERO PERCENT INTEREST, and…

• allowed all capital credit loans to be repaid via PRE-TAX, FUTURE EARNINGS /DIVIDENDS – NOT FROM PAST SAVINGS

• along with a stipulation that these funds could ONLY BE USED to buy shares of new and transferred capital assets that were predicted to generate enough future profits to PAY FOR THEMSELVES (they’re self-liquidating), and to create predictable, stabilizing, capital incomes for their owners?

This strategy, known as ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY (a.k.a. Capital Homesteading) would cost American taxpayers NOTHING. It creates NO GOVERNMENT DEBT! And it creates NO CONSUMER DEBT! And, rather than government debt-backed currency, each purchase would be backed (collateralized) by insured, productive, private-sector assets

And it WOULD AVOID INFLATION. All money created would be instantly backed (collateralized) by the full value of private sector assets that citizens would receive insured loans in order to purchase. Production and consumption (supply and demand) would be systematically balanced. Citizens would actually be purchasing newly issued, full dividend payout, voting shares of companies that need new capital assets in order to grow.

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 stream of capital income for all Americans thru ownership - not labor

• END POVERTY…INCLUDING CHILDHOOD POVERTY

• HEAL THE RACIAL DIVIDE which is rooted in centuries of economic imbalance

• Stabilize family life,

• Make it much easier for police to do their jobs by reducing poverty related crime,

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

• Help democratize our free market in the long run,

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

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

• Balance the national budget,

• And pay off our ever-growing national debt, which also naturally reduces taxes.

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 capital income, and benefit from their investments in a way that only the wealthy can today. As result, the need for expensive, federally backed social safety net programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, minimum wage, food stamps, 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 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 had implemented Economic Democracy, today’s COVOD 19/Economic 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 by our leaders. 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.

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 similar to the Economic Democracy Act, 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, and can only be used to buy wealth producing capital assets, Economic Democracy creates NO GOVERNMENT DEBT and NO COMSUMER DEBT! 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 (probably a full decade) 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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