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Forum Post: Publicly Financed Elections!

Posted 2 years ago on Sept. 28, 2011, 5:53 p.m. EST by shinyheart (27)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

A major criticism of Occupy Wall Street is the lack of clear demands. I have 3:

  1. Publicly financed elections: http://fairelectionsnow.org/about-bill

  2. Drastically increase the top marginal tax rate to 90%, so basically no one can make more than 2 million dollars per year, increase capital gains taxes, the estate tax, and the effective corporate tax rate: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/festival/2010/10/video-malcolm-gladwell.html

  3. Money is a liquid, non-perishable, decentralized 'claim check' upon capital. Every human being is entitled to food, water, clothing, and education, because there is more than enough to go around - just because you work on Wall Street doesn't mean you can squander the (finite, but growing) capital production of society on luxury goods while people starve. I call giving cash to the poor "Libertarian socialism": http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/to-beat-back-poverty-pay-the-poor/

Those are my demands, what are your thoughts?

I think our greatest weapon in this fight, aside from that we outnumber the wealthiest 1% 99 to 1, is that we live in an age in which all videos, textbooks, interactive tutorials, etc. can be recreated at zero marginal cost.

The only problem with that is that "signal," valuable, meaningful information, can be drowned out by "noise." I will try to post links that I think have a very high signal/noise ratio. The right wing propaganda machine (Fox News, talk radio) and the traditional media establishment can be counted on to spread misinformation. We the 99% have to take advantage of zero marginal cost, and use the Internet to inform and teach each other - that's how we win:

Are capitalism and education fundamentally incompatible in the digital age? http://www.ted.com/conversations/5936/are_capitalism_and_education_f.html

Waste signals underlying fitness (think peacock's tails, stag antlers, "bling," MTV's Cribs, and the absurd cost of higher education.) Therefore, waste, not efficiency or utility, is the driving force behind many economic institutions. Contra the views of most conservative economists: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/business/darwin-the-market-whiz.html?pagewanted=all

The wealthiest 1/5 own 84% of the wealth in the US, while the bottom 2/5ths own 0.3%. Most Americans think the US is much more equal than it is: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/july-dec11/makingsense_08-16.html

Robert Reich explains the economy in 2 minutes, including how the economy has doubled in size since the 1980's, while wages have remained stagnant, because all the gains have gone to the wealthiest 1%: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTzMqm2TwgE

Steven Pinker explains that protests work due to the mutual knowledge of the protesters and the ruling class; the protesters know that they know that they can outnumber and overpower the ruling class: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-son3EJTrU

There are record corporate profits, yet no hiring: http://www.slate.com/id/2289619/

Quotes:

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we'll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you. But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on." -Warren Buffett, a smarter, better man than Paul Ryan will ever be

"When rich speculators prosper While farmers lose their land; when government officials spend money on weapons instead of cures; when the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible while the poor have nowhere to turn- all this is robbery and chaos."

-Tao te ching

"Inasmuch as great wealth is an instrument which is uniformly used to extort from others their property, it ought to be taken away from its possessors on the same principle that a sword or a pistol may be wrested from a robber, who undertakes to accomplish the same effect in a different manner."

-Thomas Skidmore labor leader

"People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material advantage."

-John Kenneth Galbraith

"It's been proven over and over again that the human being is really not capable of having too much. People degenerate when they have too much....They start messing things up. So there's really no reason why people should have too much." It's only show-offs, infantile showing off. People get like that, you know....It isn't really necessary."

Gil Evans

"Wherever there is excessive wealth, there is also in the train of it excessive poverty; as where the sun is brightest the shade is deepest."

-Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864)

There is no Wealth but Life....That country is the richest which nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy human beings."

-John Ruskin (1862)

"The last two decades of the twentieth century, by contrast, echoed the zeniths of corruption and excess-the Gilded Age and the 1920s-when the rich in the United States slipped their usual political constraints, and this trend continued into the new century. By the 1990s data showed the United States replacing Europe at the pinnacle of Western privilege and inequality. This, of course, is part of what made the United States the prime target of terrorism in much the same was as the Europe of czars, kings, and grand dukes was during the period of 1880 to 1920. Finance itself had been a target before-in 1886, an anarchist flung acid and fired shots as the stockbrokers of the Paris Bourse, and in September 1920, terrorists set off dynamite on Wall Street in front of the offices of J.P. Morgan. Thirty-four people were killed and more than two hundred injured."

Given these extraordinary wealth-related circumstances, provocations, and stakes, a political history of the American rich must inquire far beyond the predictable concentration of assets, inequality, and conspicuous consumption. It must also pursue troubling and crippling side effects: high levels of political corruption, the arrogance of global economic power, the twisting of the U.S. tax code, and the voter belief in the captivity of government to private interests."

Kevin Phillips

"Those who create phantom wealth, and those who are the beneficiaries of mutual funds or retirement funds invested in phantom wealth, may never realize that they are giving its holder a claim on the real wealth produced by others, and that phantom-wealth dollars created out of nothing dilute the claims of everyone else to the available stock of real wealth. They may also fail to realize that Wall Street and its international counterparts have created phantom-wealth claims far in excess of the value of all the world's real wealth, creating expectations of future security and comforts that can never be fulfilled."

David Korten

Share ideas, copy/paste links, teach each other! This is America, we are a NATION, and we are all interdependent whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.

That is all.

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[-] 2 points by littleg (452) 2 years ago

I too want top income tax rate above 1M $ to be 90% to discourage greed.

I thank the the great inventors of Internet frequently for giving us the communication network which is the distributed, redundant, always on and democratic.

Shinyheart, appreciate your clarity of thoughts here.