I've warmed to soaking the rich after they put us into a wringer. Anyone who thinks the current trends in doing business is anything in the way of free markets or capitalist is either blind or clinically insane.
So your idea of taxing the rich, especially a 2% annual wealth tax on all standing, nonproductive investments, makes more and more sense as this financial crisis drags along.
I had a long discussion on this matter only the other day. The way of doing business changed in 2000. Until then, there was investment in workers, in personnel. Businesses took care of their people with pay, perks, fancy trips, and so on.
In 2000, the dot com recession bit hard and businesses laid off. And guess what? They never hired those people back. The recovery was based on efficiency, and it never changed. Even in 2006 businesses were cutting costs wherever they could to satisfy increasingly demanding stockholders.
The 2008 crisis hit. Houses were stolen from millions of people who invested in them. Banks taking houses that had tens or even hundreds of thousands paid into them. The midddle class lost a combined 40% of all assets.
But the wealthy increased their assets dramatically. Anyone involved in banking in 2009 and 2010 saw their fortunes skyrocket from the gutters to the stratosphere.
Are we to say this is all kind and fair and legal? No. Its bad business, laws were broken, and nobody in positions of authority cares. And we're collectively broke as sin.
The wealthy owe the entire consumer estate a chance to rebuild our lives. They must get their wealth to work in real productive enterprises that puts value back on the workers who make it possible.
Its not equalizing, nor is it communism. Henry Ford invented the idea in 1915, all by himself, without coercion or decree, by raising his workers' wages from the standard $1 a day to $5 a day. His reason? "I want to share the profits with the people who make it happen."
In so doing, other businessmen were compelled to do the same. Henry Ford invented the modern middle class.
But today's CEOs are the anti-Fords. Corporate boards feel compelled to cut workers and wages in order to pay CEOs tens of millions. They have put all stock value on a single person. It is reckless and irrational, and in my opinion, crazy to pin the fortunes of an entire conglomeration on one man making tens of millions a year.
Until a new Henry Ford comes along and uses his immense powers to persuade change at the top, the plunder of the middle class will continue.
The only other alternative is brute force: a wealth tax to force stagnant money into productive enterprises.
"Cowards & idiots can come along for the ride but they gotta sit in the back seat!"
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