The question that MUST be asked
Scanned the diaries a didn’t see anyone referencing this -though I’m sure others here saw it- and decided to post about it.
Specifically, “Can the United States do better than capitalism?”
Richard Wolff pointed out in an interview at DN yesterday how a German political party that got 12 per cent of the national vote had that -substitute Germany for U.S.- as their slogan.
And in a pre-emptive answer to those who would issue cries of ‘socialism,etc.’ he stated, “And that doesn’t mean accepting the alternatives of the past. The old efforts of going beyond capitalism had strength, but they also had horrible weaknesses. We will learn from that, as human beings always have. And we can forge a country out of an opening of the debate about this economic system.”
The question “Can the United States do better than capitalism?” is one that REALLY needs to be asked because it is obvious that ‘capitalism’ as evinced in the U.S. is NOT addressing the needs of the populace.
I was surprised by some of the numbers/examples he gave even having viewed several months ago his speech “Capitalism Hits the Fan”.
“If you go back to the 1940s, here’s what you discover, that the federal government got 50 percent more money year after year from corporations than it did from individuals. For every dollar that individuals paid in income tax, corporations paid $1.50. If you compare that to today, here are the numbers. For every dollar that individuals pay to the federal government, corporations pay 25 cents. That is a dramatic change that has no parallel in the rest of our tax code.
“In the ’50s and ’60s, the top bracket, the income tax rate that the richest people had to pay, for example the ’50s and ’60s, it was 91 percent. Every dollar over $100,000 that a rich person earned, he or she had to give 91 cents to Washington and kept nine. And the rationale for that was, we had come out of a Great Depression, we had come out of a great war, we had to rebuild our society, we were in a crisis, and the rich had the capacity to pay, and they ought to pay. Republicans voted for that. Democrats voted for that. What do we have today? Ninety-one percent? No. The top rate for rich people today, 35 percent. Again, nobody else in this society—not the middle, not the poor—have had anything like this consequence.
What REALLY is the reason behind the concern of ‘lifting the debt ceiling’ is the monkey wrench it throws into the mechanism by which those top 1 per centers of wealth have as their means to keep the rest of us ‘down on the poor farm.” That mechanism is: (yeah,I know, I’ve written this before using different words) “The United States government refuses to tax corporations and the rich. It then runs a deficit. It spends more than it takes in, because it’s not taxing them. And here comes the punchline. It then turns around to the people it didn’t tax—corporations and the rich—and borrows the money from them, paying them interest and paying them back. ”
Wolff makes another statement that backs up my claim in another diary I wrote that without WPA , CC program(s) like in the 1930’s, the unemployment situation will NOT get better. Specifically, “Roosevelt, in the 1930s, the last time we faced this kind of situation, went on the radio in 1933 and 1934, and he gave speeches. And in those speeches, he said the following: if the private sector either cannot or will not provide work for millions of our citizens, ready, able and willing to work, then the government has to do it. And between 1934 and 1941, the federal government created and filled 11 million jobs.”
So what does “created and filled 11 million jobs.” mean in terms of U.S. population between 1934 and 1941?
Well, the population grew by 7,028,698 people during that time frame. Obviously that growth reflected newborns and not just people entering the labor force.
Now contrast that with what the OMB is saying will happen here and the rebuttal.
As an aside that reflects the current situation: “In 1936, main economic indicators (except unemployment) regained the levels of the late 1920s…but after the federal government cut spending with the expectation that the private sector would step in, the economy took another sharp downturn until WWII.(From Smiley, Gene. 2002. A New View of its Causes and Consequences: Rethinking the Great Depression. Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee Publisher.)
So when speaking/talking with the Congress critters and the CMM and others, ask the question, “Can the United States do better than capitalism?”
And reflecting that those who can’t remember history,etc: