Posted 8 months ago on Sept. 20, 2012, 7:25 a.m. EST by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom
from New York, NY
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
There are two primary problems in society that are the root cause of nearly every problem in society:
- 18% are underemployed
- 50% are in or near poverty because we have a very unequal economic system that pays most of our economy's income and wealth to a few at the top
OWS was a success at protesting these two problems. In particular, it successfully made income inequality a mainstream issue with its now ubiquitous 1% meme. And it successfully organized people to protest these problems.
Where it failed was in using that organizing to implement solutions. This is the primary criticism against OWS and it is valid.
So OWS should now re-focus its mission to become a solutions movement instead of just a protest movement.
It should now take the people it managed to organize around protesting and use them towards implementing a solution to these two primary problems. Its mission should now be to use its members to get policies implemented that eliminate the 18% underemployment and eliminate the 50% in or near poverty.
To do that, it must take an official stand on the solutions it wants government to implement. And then it must Occupy Government until those solutions are implemented.
Otherwise, the movement it managed to build will go to waste.
These two problems are mainstream problems. And using the government to fix problems is a mainstream idea. So I believe OWS would become more mainstream and would grow significantly if it did this.
Following are two solutions that will put an end to the underemployment and financial struggle problems.
SOLUTION 1: ELIMINATING THE 18% UNDEREMPLOYMENT
The way to eliminate the 18% underemployment is to use the Fed's power as lender of last resort to now also become the employer of last resort.
The Fed would make interest-free loans available to launch enough new companies, companies that were publicly owned, to fully employ everyone. This is a standard Keynesian economic policy used during the Great Depression.
The Fed is essentially already doing this through QE1, QE2 and QE3. But that QE money is currently being used to bail out wealthy investors and big banks, it is not being used to specifically employ the unemployed.
So all we would be doing is requiring the QE money be used specifically to employ the underemployed.
However, unlike what the government did during the Great Depression, I don't think the Fed should lend to the government to create government jobs. Instead, it should launch publicly owned companies that produce market goods and services.
And most importantly, since these are publicly owned companies, they should all be regulated by two very important rules.
The first regulation is that all public companies have to trade with each other. Companies must buy its supplies from other public companies if available and workers at these companies must shop at public companies if available. This guarantees the success of these new companies and is the same protectionist tactic every new, emerging market uses to develop.
For example, if you work at a public company and want to buy a cell phone, you would have to buy it from a public cell phone manufacturer if one was available. If one was available but you wanted to buy an iphone instead, you would pay a tariff, which is just a tax on top of the regular iphone price.
So if the Fed loans money to launch a cell phone company, that cell phone company is guaranteed to get nearly everyone working in public companies as customers. So the company is guaranteed to succeed. But this would be temporary. As the public market matures and expands, that cell phone company will eventually have to compete against other public cell phone companies.
The second regulation is that total income within the public market would be allocated based on how much work you contribute. So all income would be paid to workers (no investment income would be paid to anyone participating in the public market) and differences in income between workers would be limited to only what was necessary to get them to work hard.
For example, worker productivity in the US is $65 per hour. If workers in the public market were as productive and we limited income inequality to just 8:1, where the top earners can only get paid 8 times more than the bottom earners, we would be able to pay every public worker from $50 to $400 per hour.
View this post to learn how a public market would operate.
Allocating income this way makes every worker wealthy which brings us to our second solution.
SOLUTION 2: ELIMINATING THE 50% IN OR NEAR POVERTY
The way to eliminate the poverty and financial struggle that 50% of the US population are subjected to is to guarantee them employment in these new public, Fed-financed companies just like the underemployed are guaranteed employment.
Since income inequality will be minimized, all the jobs in the public market will be high paying. They will pay at least $50 per hour if public market workers are as productive as private market workers.
HOW TO SELL THESE 2 SOLUTIONS TO THE PUBLIC
Selling this to the public and getting these ideas implemented is feasible. The 18% who are underemployed and 50% who are struggling financially are a large enough voting block alone to get this implemented.
But there are a lot of benefits that appeal to everyone:
- Most people think you have a right to a job.
- The Fed is already giving out money, it just isn't going to the underemployed. Most people will think it is more fair to pay QE money to employ the unemployed than to pay wealthy investors and big banks.
- It will enable us to put an end to all welfare programs which will appeal to the Right who believe people should work and not get free handouts.
Some will say that allowing the Fed to lend to the public market will be unfair to the private market. Of course, the proper rebuttal to this would be that the opposite is also true. You can also say it is unfair to the public market for the Fed to lend to the private market.
Why should a private market, especially one that has failed in giving half the population a job with a living wage, get preferential treatment? It shouldn't.
The Fed will simply provide funds to whatever market needs it. If the public market manages to attract 30% of the population, it will get 30% of the Fed's lending.
Everyone is free to join the public market, so it doesn't give preferential treatment to or unfairly benefit anyone. And having a private cell phone company compete against a public cell phone company is no different than it having to compete against any of the other private cell phone companies.
But the private market will now have to compete against the public market for members. It no longer has an unaccountable monopoly over society. People now have freedom of choice. If the private market is not working for you, you can join the public market and vice versa.
Doing this is very American. Competition and freedom of choice are the central US economic ideologies.
Another potential bargaining chip would be to set up a system where the people who join the public market can only vote on public market economic policies. They would not be able to vote on policies that affect the private market and vice versa.
So if the Right objects to this idea we can say that the public market would likely appeal to people on the Left. If everyone on the Left joins the public market, the Right would have full control over the private market to implement their Right-wing policies of low taxes, low regulations and full privatization.
Occupy Wall Street was effective in organizing people around the inequality that exists. Now it should enter a new phase and organize people around solving those problems.
It should enter an Occupy Government phase.
The only way these problems are going to be fixed is if we get government to implement policies that fix them. Protesting is not going to change anything. Implementing government policies is what changes society.
So we could run Occupy candidates on the Occupy Platform of implementing the 2 policies above that eliminate underemployment and that eliminate poverty and financial struggle.
We could also use the Grover Norquist tax pledge strategy and get politicians to pledge support of the Occupy Platform.
We could go door-to-door handing out flyers that educate the public on the Occupy Solutions. We could hold public meetings and seminars that explain how a society where everyone is wealthy is possible. We could do a lot to get the public to vote for Occupy candidates.
We can then Occupy Government until bills are introduced and voted on by our elected representatives.
Since I do not know how OWS is run, how do we go about changing OWS to a solutions movement, changing its website to reflect the change, issuing press releases to let the media know about the change and making all future occupations an occupation on an elected official's office to force them to implement the Occupy Solutions?