TAXING BILLIONAIRES IS NOT THE SOLUTION

Occupy Wall Street in 2011 forced the ruling class to talk about class inequality (some rich and some poor, "the 1% versus the 99%") for the first time. It forced the ruling class to start doing things to persuade the public that it was going to do something to solve the problem of extreme wealth in the hands of a few while most people suffered from various levels of poverty.

This is why we now have politicians talking about raising the taxes on billionaires. Bernie Sanders even says he would raise these taxes because "billionaires shouldn't exist." (I guess he thinks it's OK, however, if multi-millionaires exist.)

If the ruling class raises the tax rate on the rich, fine. If the ruling class does anything to make life a bit better for ordinary people, fine. They only do this because they fear what might happen (being removed from power by an egalitarian revolution) if they don't.

But here's the problem. While the government can increase the taxes on billionaires, doing so won't solve the problem of class inequality. It won't prevent the rich from continuing to treat ordinary people like dirt (read many examples of this here) to keep them "in their place" at the bottom of a society based on class inequality. It won't remove the rich from power. And as long as the rich remain in power they are able to take back tomorrow what they give today (as I write about here.)

None of the politicians and pundits advocating raising the tax on billionaires (or on "the rich") even hint at wanting to abolish class inequality. Some talk about raising taxes on the wealthy to be as high as they were back in the Eisenhower days. (Actually, Bernie Sanders insists he would NOT raise taxes on the rich that high.) But class inequality was horrendous back in those days. The military industrial complex back then armed the Soviet Union to make it a scary bogeyman enemy in order to get a Cold War going that would persuade Americans that it was necessary to fork over much of our wealth to the owners of weapons industries, not to mention send our youth to kill and be killed in unjust wars such as the Korean war. Those were most definitely NOT "the good old days"!

The suffering--being treated like dirt (you really need to read that linked article to get the point I'm making here!)--that is caused by class inequality will only be ended when class inequality itself is abolished. What exactly does this mean?

It means fundamentally changing how our society is structured.

 

It means having no rich and no poor. It thus means having the economy be based on the principle of "From each according to reasonable ability, to each according to need or reasonable desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need" (read about this here.) It means that while there is indeed private property (as discussed here), it is the right to own  property that one personally makes use of, such as one's own house or garden or musical instrument, etc., but NOT the right to own the homes of many other people or to own a huge tract (thousands of acres) of land or a factory where hundreds of people work, etc.

It means having real, not fake, democracy. Fake democracy is what we have today, because in our class society based on money, and buying and selling things, money is power and only the very rich have the real power, no matter how many elections take place. A genuine democracy is where there are no rich and no poor and where the sovereign authority is ONLY in local assemblies, at which all those who live or work in the local community and who support no-rich-and-no-poor equality and mutual aid (and only those people!) have the right to participate in the assembly, as equals, to democratically enact the laws and policies that everybody in that local community must obey. Order on a larger scale is achieved by voluntary federation of the local assemblies, not by having a central law-making body (that can be easily controlled by an oppressive elite, as is the case today) above the sovereign local assemblies. Read more about this here.

Until we have abolished class inequality this way, a rich upper class will continue to rule over us. We will continue to be just their 'hired help' and they will continue to treat us like dirt. I keep linking to that same article about how the rich treat us like dirt because until one focuses one's attention on the actual ways that the rich ROUTINELY treat us like dirt, one cannot appreciate how fundamental a change--far deeper than merely taxing rich people more--is required to end that evil. To take just one example, item #2 in the linked article reads:

#2. Subjecting retail workers to "on call shifts" --"periods for which an employee must keep an open schedule but might not end up working. Instead of simply reporting for work, the employee has to check in with a supervisor a few hours in advance. If she gets called in, she may have to scramble for a babysitter. If she doesn’t get called in, she doesn’t get paid, and it’s too late to get a shift on a second job. 'People will be scheduled for eight on-call shifts in a pay period and only get called in for one shift,' says attorney Rachel Deutsch of the Center for Popular Democracy, a labor advocacy group." [Boston Globe, April 19, 2015]

Practices like this will only end when we have a no-rich-and-no-poor economy and a genuine democracy as described above. Raising the tax rate on the rich ain't the solution.

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