I have been musing on the matter of the distribution of wealth, the distribution of options, and the distribution of misery. I’m not talking about the misery that is the bitter fruit of having one’s own way; I’m talking about the misery foisted upon masses by others who have neither clue nor care re the ramifications of their policies or practices.
In Micah 6:8 (NKJV), we read: He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
It is clear, to me, that our Creator and Redeemer has a system in place that balances even the unjust scales of this world’s systems. This takes a lot of pressure off us to do the fixing. But we are given the great opportunity to be part of His plan, and thereby release justice and mercy into the spheres we are here to impact. If we want to be on the galactic winning team, wisdom would have us side with the Almighty.
With this in mind, I propose we try something new in the distribution of wealth. This is not a ‘take from the rich and give to the poor’ idea. This is a rerouting of expenditures already being made from the public coffers.
We have tried, valiantly, to work with President Reagan’s “trickle down” theory and, maybe with the right-hearted hands at the helm, this would work. But for various reasons, it hasn’t. I’m proposing we see what we can do with the “trickle up” flow.
In this version of Trickle Up, which would require people of integrity and good will to construct and protect (may be asking too much here), we would establish categories of people that are known and desired to be permanently out of the paid job market. This would include retired people and permanently disabled. Of course, retired people are a rich source of counsel and volunteering. But those activities that honor their skills and give life rich meaning, are not intended to provide a livelihood.
Once the groups permanently out of the labor force are identified, their pension from the Social Security TRUST Fund would be greatly enhanced, maybe tripled, from what it is now. Once this structure is operational, there would be no corporate bailouts, no banking bail-ins, and corporations would lose their status as legal ‘persons.’ They would become, rather, for-profit (or not-for-profit) associations. These associations would be motivated to operate by courting the loyalty of the newly empowered consumers.
Think about how seniors spend their money – if they have it. They buy gifts for loved ones, take trips and maintain their homes and vehicles. They eat out with friends, take classes to keep fit and to follow intellectual interests. They buy season tickets to sports events, symphonies, opera, ballet – they support libraries and the arts! They go camping or otherwise support parks and recreation businesses. They take care of their health: body, vision, teeth, and soul & spirit. They give to good causes – in both time and money. They take up hobbies, tend pets, and grow gardens. The ways that senior people on pensions spend discretionary income are ways that feed directly back into the everyday economic life of their community – in great diversity for upward quality of life all the way around.
Really, people, in thinking about a thriving economy, do we really only want it about who gets how much money? Is the accumulation of money what life is all about? Does the kid who dies with the most toys really win? If so, win what?
The current economic philosophy driving our law and policymakers seems mono faceted and shallow. In the illustration of the fish in the food chain, let’s take a fresh look. It appears that the bigger ones eat the progressively smaller ones – but flip this. See that the little fish actually can feed the next size bigger. In Trickle Up, this happens and the little-fish population continues to thrive, creating sustainability all the way ‘up’ the chain. When the feeding frenzy is allowed to be designed by the big fish – for the big fish, smaller fish populations die off and soon there are none generating biological sustainability and vibrant health in the full spectrum of global economy.
Even if the big fish in charge mean well, they can’t do the job right because they have no current understanding of realms other than their own. They have protected themselves from the realities foisted upon the rest of the ‘fish’ classifications. They are probably not to blame for the situation; we smaller fish groups have been silent far too long – assuming, perhaps, that leaders knew where they were headed and, incidentally, taking us and our children.
It has been said that if all the money in the world were evenly distributed among all persons, within a very short time it would flow into the hands of its “rightful owners.” If this is true, what possible harm could there be in trying this shift in focus? What are the uber wealthy afraid of? If the wealth is rightfully theirs, it will return. That may be the rub. Maybe they know something that we can only suspect. But I digress.
If Social Security pensions were tripled and permanent disability payments were tripled, people would live with more dignity – which engages the market at its direct-service and products level. This creates jobs in the retail and service sectors, travel and medical fields. Those areas feed investments and real estate, universities, law firms, business start-ups, and on upward in the educational/financial strata. This also builds the ladder for hope-filled upward mobility of gifted and motivated persons from all walks of life – enriching the cultural mix all the way through. With the money fed into the pockets of permanently unemployed, consumer spending would jump-start quickly, and make its way up through the ranks to the top-tier taxpayers and back into personal savings (put to work in stocks and mortgage loans) or government coffers for recycling. This would all be based on personal options and choices – which would engender a more richly diverse world than that of the ‘one size fits all’ government offering of green walls, plastic chairs, lines, and forms – and highly militarized control of disgruntled masses.
Trickle Down, on the other hand, feeds the uber rich and barely sustains the uber poor – the cleaning and serving staff at resorts and such. Middle economic strata are made extinct and there is no way to make the leap upward for the struggling poor. Behind the billboards in resort regions a crime element festers that feeds off the desperate day-job holders. With Trickle Up, this social ill would be seriously cut into, because better paying jobs would be more available, and the attraction to the black market economy would not be quite so strong. And – the separation would be clear between the simply poor and the slithery criminal elements that thrive in the shadows where poverty is forced to walk.
With pension-seniors out of the entry-level job market, the way is made clear for youth to enter and learn the rudiments of the world of work. Without this opportunity, we have a current generation still living with parents well into adulthood – not by choice. And we have unemployables loitering in the streets of Facebook, or on couches in front of TVs and video games because they never learned how to become reliable members of the work-a-day world. These are often waiting for life to happen for them rather than by them… and this is pitiful! I believe we can, and should, do better!
Oh yes, one more thing. We probably need to get rid of the global-level private banking machine, and as sovereign nations, again take responsibility for printing our own money, backed by real assets like gold, silver, and other precious metals.
I believe that this paradigm shift could bring the paddles to the heart of our societies and cause this human near-cadaver to spring back to life. Again, remember, no matter how money is redistributed, it will – in time – make its way back to its ‘rightful owners.’ Let’s make it work its way back home by bringing life everywhere it flows along the way!
This is a hope-filled idea. Ideas have consequence. Ideas shape thinking and dreams. Dreams become reality and thinking drives policy. Public policy flavors culture and quality of life (up or down), and freedom engenders diversity and growth.
Why wouldn’t we want to live in this kind of world? What’s stopping us, if not ourselves?