December 30, 2019 by epoetus
This NY Times article has an animated graphic which shows the decline of income tax for the wealthiest over 70 years:
Here is a link to that graphic outside of the article:
And this is a screen shot of it at the 1999 timeframe:
When you click on the link above it puts an animation of a 70 year transition – that of the changing tax rates in the US by income bracket – into perspective. Those wealthiest people with the highest incomes have succeeded in their quest to redistribute wealth and income upwards to the richest people – they are no longer paying their fair share of the grand bargain known as the United States, its governing institutions and our democratic processes. This is a statement about the health of our democracy and also appears to be a statement about human history and human nature. We cannot merely blame the rich for this predicament and we cannot solely blame ourselves as individuals either – this illustrates a calculated plan that was carefully, relentlessly and patiently executed over 70 years which resulted in a complete failure of our entire democratic system. We can no longer implement meaningful reforms like gun control legislation, because the changes needed to implement the greedy and sneaky redistribution of wealth and income to the rich broke democracy itself. With existential crises like “Global Warming” to tackle is a full allocation of blame a prerequisite for taking it on?
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Was the outcome to democracy intentional? Does history inform us with examples in the past? It is hard to say or believe that the outcome of our current predicament was fully anticipated – I don’t think that very many of the wealthy people in power predicted that “Russian Assets” would run this country, but maybe they should have envisioned that. Democracy is the natural outcome of the inevitable failures produced by oligarchies, dictatorships, and undemocratic processes. The people, when properly informed and supported in a heathy dialog, will arrive at more resilient and lasting solutions than those of an oligarchic leadership who are naturally determined to selfishly drive inequality, the extraction of wealth and colonization to new heights.
Here is an option that could serve as a North Star to get us out of our predicament:
“Imagine [a world without tradable shares] that shares resemble electoral votes, which can be neither bought nor sold. Like students who receive a library card upon registration, new staff receive a single share granting a single vote to be cast in all-shareholder ballots deciding every matter of the corporation – from management and planning issues to the distribution of net revenues and bonuses.” – Yanis Varoufakis (former finance minister of Greece) from the link below “Imagining a World Without Capitalism”
In any case, I think that we can all agree that our current situation is not going to stop the world from bring fried for profits. We need to make some big bold changes, and we should start with democracy itself.
YANIS VAROUFAKIS on Envisioning a future without capitalism
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