Freedom and The Economic Democracy Act

Social IssuesCulture

  • Author Rick Osbourne
  • Published March 2, 2022
  • Word count 1,809

George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, and Donald J. Trump (among others, i.e. the 1%) are “independently wealthy.” That is to say, they never DEPEND on an employer or the government for their financial wherewithal. They own so much wealth producing capital that they can live off their dividends without ever having to consider taking a job, going to work, or punching a time-clock. Instead, they are effectively FREE to do what they want to do with their days, weeks, months, years, and their lives. That includes running for President of the United States if and when they simply choose to do so.

But most Americans (95%) are NOT INDEPENDENTLY WEALTHY. Most Americans were not born with silver spoons in their mouths. Most have to figure out how to make a living, how to feed, clothe, and house themselves and their family members. Most have to take jobs and depend on employers for their financial wherewithal. In other words, most Americans ARE NOT FREE in the way that Bush, Romney and Trump are free because they don’t own the dividend producing capital assets that allow the wealthy to be independent and free.

But in this age of unprecedented technological advancement, in a moment when mankind could actually destroy the entire human race with the push of a button, what would you say to an economic advancement that would significantly loosen the economic chains on everyone and give everyone a taste of freedom that only the wealthy enjoy today? And what if in the process we could systematically eliminate the economic roots of poverty, racism, and war?

If you’d like to significantly increase your own odds, not to mention the odds of future generations, of avoiding the chains of wage slavery, economic sharecropping, being owned instead of owning, check out the following scenario and seriously consider the possibilities.

Let’s Start With These Facts

The US Federal Reserve makes an annual assessment with regard to how much money will be required to fund the following year’s economic growth. In 2018 they concluded that 2019’s economic growth would require approximately $4 trillion dollars-worth of funding.

If you divide $4 trillion dollars by 330 million people (US population in 2018) you’ll find that approximately $12,000 per individual citizen was going to be required to fund America’s projected economic growth in 2019. But the beneficiaries of this annual projected growth opportunity are inevitably limited to those people who can afford to fund/buy - thus own 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 means 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, 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 was to artificially resuscitate demand, which in turn 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 now than they were before the virus began. 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 Long-Term Debt!

Now let’s recall that back in 2019 America’s economic growth was going to require $4 trillion dollars of funding. Once again, that translated into about $12,000 every year for every man, woman, and child in America. But the beneficiaries of this relatively predictable, annual growth are those who can afford to buy the patents, copyrights, stocks, bonds, real estate, and new technology that account for this growth. This excludes over 90% of 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 ALL 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…

• Made an annual, 100% insured, $10,000 LINE OF CREDIT accessible

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

• at ZERO PERCENT INTEREST, and…

• allowed these annual loans to be repaid with FUTURE, PRE-TAX DIVIDENDS – NOT PERSONAL SAVINGS

• along with a stipulation that these funds could ONLY BE USED to purchase shares of new and transferred capital assets that were predicted to generate enough future profits to pay for themselves in a predictable amount of time (3 to 7 years) and create predictable, stabilizing, capital incomes for their owners?

This strategy, known as “Economic Democracy,” would cost American taxpayers NOTHING. Since every transaction would be instantly collateralized by private sector assets and 100% insured, it creates no long-term consumer debt and no long-term government debt either.

And it WOULD NOT BE INFLATIONARY? Inflation happens when too many dollars are chasing too few goods and services. But in the EDA scenario, production systematically precedes consumption. Thus, there’s a systematic balance built into this strategy which eliminates any possibility of inflationary imbalances.

What Economic Democracy Will Do However Is…

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

• Create a stream of income for all Americans thru ownership - not thru 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 systematically democratizes the free market,

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

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

• Balance the national budget,

• And yes, PAY DOWN OUR NATIONAL DEBT, reducing taxes even further.

That $4 trillion of growth (or more today due to inflation) is destined to happen. The only real question is, HOW WILL IT BE FINANCED? If the billionaires finance it from past savings, they’ll own and control it. If the government finances it through taxation or debt creation, they’ll own and control it. But if we the people finance it, WE THE PEOPLE will own, control, and benefit from our ownership. And under these economic conditions a genuine political democracy is actually possible in a way that it is not today!

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 investment income in a way that only the wealthy can today. As the result, the need for federally backed social safety net programs (i.e. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps) will gradually fade into the sunset. Millions more will be able to pay taxes, which in turn decreases the burden on those among us who currently pay taxes. It systematically counteracts concentrated wealth/greed as it gradually democratizes America’s free-market economy!

Economic Democracy In Detail

I confess, this commentary has been a generalized portrait and is 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 their goals are similar, the ways they achieve those goals are dramatically different. Check it out.

  1. Since 0% interest, 100% insured lines of credit are repaid via pre-tax future earnings, and can only be used to buy wealth producing capital assets, Economic Democracy creates no long-term consumer debt and no long-term government debt. UBI creates 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 (FREE) through capital ownership. UBI does not.

  5. Economic Democracy systematically enables citizens to become economically independent (FREE) 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 a little time (generally 3 to 7 years) in order for benefits to begin accumulating. That’s why UBI should start immediately and be phased out over time in favor of Economic Democracy (a.k.a. Universal Basic Ownership/UBO).

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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