So, I talked to an actual economist. It turns out some of the things I had assumed were good ideas might not actually be good ideas. For example, I assumed the accumulation of wealth was a good idea. It turns out the studies don’t back this one up. Specifically, having a sufficient amount of money will make people happier, but beyond a relatively minimal amount, additional increases seem to have no effect on happiness whatsoever. Now, “money can’t buy happiness” is an old saying. It turns out that poverty can cause unhappiness—but once you have a certain amount of money, adding to it won’t make you happier.
Additionally, we have way more than enough wealth in the country to eliminate poverty. This would lead to a happier country. Now, some of you might object that this radical redistribution of wealth amounts to socialism. It does. But it has a worthwhile goal and a fighting chance of accomplishing it.
For the rigorous capitalists reading this, could you explain to me why expanding the pie, in itself, is a valuable national priority? It seems like wealth could be a useful tool toward some worthwhile end—but it isn’t an end in itself. What’s that end, and how do you plan to get there?
The thing is, allowing all the wealth to accumulate at the top isn’t really what is intended in a capitalist system. It’s not what fiscal conservatism was originally about. It’s not even what Reaganomics is about. It’s supposed to be about the wealth being passed on down the chain. Growth will always be heavier at the top, but it wasn’t supposed to stop there as it is doing now.
I find it entertaining when people (largely Republicans) talk about the evils of “wealth redistribution” as if it’s not something that is NOT a part of their party’s platform or basic economic beliefs. It’s a part of every party’s platform. We all have different ways of achieving it.
The truth is, very few people benefit from economic growth, however great, when it becomes limited to the top 1% of the population. While inflation grows, wages and benefits stagnate. People become less and less able to pay for the things they need or want. Poverty expands. The middle class shrinks.
The economy grew 3% this year, but 99% of all Americans shared none of the benefits. Even though the economy growing means productivity must be up or at least going strong, even though there must be money coming in somewhere, jobs were lost, benefits and wages were slashed, and many Americans lost homes. Many others are losing their shirts in the stock market. For all the talk about the wealthy “deserve their money,” I ask — if average Americans are working just as hard, don’t they deserve to be paid for the growth they created? Why should the wealth only go to a few at the very top of the corporate pyramid?
As I said, I don’t think the intention of capitalism was ever for people running the companies to make 300 and 400 times what the worker makes, or for growth to be occurring but only for the top 1%. This is a mess. If taxes aren’t the answer, then we need to do something to regulate out of control CEO pay because limiting the growth to the very top of our society is slowly but surely strangling everyone at the bottom and dragging us into a recession.
while i agree that money shouldnt be accumulated by the wealthy, is it the governments job to reditribute the wealth?
i certainly am not against our government doing it, so long as its done right, and is not against the constitution.