I don’t like Bernie Sanders, but what he is saying, is not all wrong. As for Elizabeth Warren, she understands many of our deep-seated problems, but her solutions to these problems are, at the moment unworkable and cannot be passed unless the Democrats attain super majorities.
Meanwhile, the greatest threats to our Democracy is the concentration of the wealth in the hands of the few and the ignorance, know-nothing thinking, greed and venality of Trump.
The increase in poverty is related to many factors. The first factor has been the decline of the middle class as our economic society has changed from diamond shape with a large middle class and small levels of the very poor and the very rich and the top and bottoms of the diamond to an hourglass with a small middle class at the pinch of the hourglass along with a large lower middle class and poor on the bottom and with a growing number of upper middle class and rich at the top.
Since Reagan resources have been flowing to the rich through fiscal policies regarding taxation and spending. In 1980, there were 12 billionaires, today there are 600. The wealth of America has flowed from the large middle class to 650 families which control almost $4 trillion of America’s wealth, and the 3-4% (12-5 million) who control another %1.5-2 trillion. The six Walmart heirs, who control $150 billion, have more wealth than the bottom 40% of the American population.
Under Nixon and other presidents there was revenue-sharing to the states, but that has declined. This revenue funded infrastructure projects which created domestic jobs. Under Republican Administrations there has been a trend towards corporate conglomeration, the rise of giant box stores and marginalization of labor. As the influence of trade unions has declined, real wages have not kept up with inflation. Corporate compensation for high paid executives accelerated dramatically from 1970 through 2000, with a 3500% increase in Fortune 500 CEO pay as their wages went from a ratio of 37 to one over their average employee to over 1000 to one. In the same vein they received a tax cut from the Kennedy top bracket of 70% to Reagan’s 28%. The average worker in these companies saw his real wages go up, after discounting inflation, less than 10%. In 2017, US Corporations paid a small percentage into the Federal Treasury than at any time since the Federal Income Tax (FIT) was established in 1916.
Many on the right complain about the National Debt and its threat to our economic stability, but few are being realistic about what can be done. The Debt cannot be balanced on the backs of people who least can afford to pay or afford to lose vital services. That is a formula for social upheaval and revolution.
Want to eliminate the National Debt?
1. Bring back the Kennedy Era top tax bracket of 70% of incomes over $1 million.
2. Have a minimum tax on all income above $15,000, even with deductions
3. Eliminate the mortgage deduction over $750K
4. Eliminate all generation skipping trusts
5. Cap yearly contributions for the wealthy into IRAs or 401ks
6. Eliminate all overseas tax shelters
7. Raise the Corporation tax back to Clinton Era 39%
8. Eliminate all corporate stock options for executive pay
9. Tax corporate Golden Parachutes at their full value as soon as they are given.
10. Tax corporate health insurance as income for anyone making over $1 million per year
11. Force repatriation of all overseas sheltered income
12. Cut and cap the sale tax in every state to 5% and add a 1% Federal sale tax
13. Cap the property tax, in every state, to 3% with a Homestead rule, capping any increase.
14. Raise the state income tax to make up the loss on property taxes and fund the public schools statewide.
15. Cut the Carrier Group from nine to seven and accelerate the naval air arm to drones
16. Reinstate the draft for the Army and maintain as a volunteer force the Air Force, Navy and Marines
17. Make a Federal gasoline price through taxation at the pump, the minimum price for 87 octane should be $2.80 no matter what the price of oil falls to. (Create a minimum price at all grades).
18. Cut farm subsidies, currently $5 billion, the annual cost for all farm support is between $15 and $35 billion annually.
Causes for poverty
1, Generational poverty, passed from parent to child
2. Failure to take advantage of education, bad parenting
3. Single parent homes and illegitimacy
4. Ignorance resulting from a lack of an education
5. Lack of vocational schools, inability to hold a job
6. Not teaching financial fundamentals to children
7. Poor savings habits, most Americans do not save
8. Excessive credit card debt, inability to manage a personal budget
9. Conspicuous consumption, buying what is not needed
10. The excessive cost of higher education,
11. Endemic regional unemployment, the rise of the Big Box store
12. Lack of Federal revenue -sharing to low income areas
13. The high cost of housing, the lack of federally subsidized housing
14. Lack of workforce housing
15. Healthcare needs, and the lack of insurance
16. Too low of a minimum wage