Will Capitalism Allow This Idea?

I’ve been having ‘discussions’ lately with people I’ve known for years that now have issues with my so called ‘leftist’ ideas.

They’ve gone so far as to suggest people with values like mine should just be ‘locked up.’ And here I thought they felt safe in a constitutional democracy. One person seemed to gleefully correct me saying it’s a constitutional republic, as though the word ‘democracy’ was contrary to his values. Perhaps he wants to repeal the 19th Amendment.

Yesterday, someone called me saying they were from the NRA. Mr. LaPierre was referenced and was interested in my opinion. I first established it was a real person who called me and not a computer. I said I’d be happy to participate.

Their first question was whether I approved of a strongly worded and vigorously enforced 2nd Amendment. Before I could really think about it, my mouth opened and I replied “No”, expecting to be asked “Why”. I was prepared to tell them I was OK with the 2nd Amendment, provided rules were introduced which required background checks and a methodology to establish competence with firearms. Probably not unlike the training enjoyed by soldiers in our Revolutionary War army.

However, the caller immediately said “OK” and hung up. So much for being interested in my opinion.

Recently I’ve become interested in an idea from Marcellus Andrews, an economist at Bucknell University. He talks about an idea that may have led Elizabeth Warren, one of our many candidates for President, to introduce as a desired objective. She talked about establishing a sovereign wealth fund that could pay an annual dividend to everyone in the country.

Before you go ballistic, hear me out, please. He describes this as a totally free market approach to income distribution. You remember free markets, don’t you? That’s the basis for capitalism along with free enterprise where the state stays out of the way as much as possible.

He suggests this could be done by having the US buy ‘mutual fund’ shares which leaves the means of production privately owned and managed, but the government is able to start to deal with income inequality by reaping and redistributing some of the income from those means of production.

Some of you are now going to call me a ‘socialist’ which simply tells me you don’t understand the meaning of that term. That being said, deciding which funds should be chosen, or who is going to manage the wealth fund (for a fee, of course…) could very well be a huge clusterf**k.

If you believe in free enterprise and efforts to make a profit, yet recognize the potential harm to society of income inequality, have you got a better idea? Just like I believe ‘universal health care’ will eventually become the norm in this country, I believe this idea has merit and will gain favor. It’s going to take time, probably longer than I have left on this earth, but it may very well happen.

The two greatest threats that I see influencing the lives of my children and grandchildren are climate change and income inequality. Both have the potential to upend their lives in dramatic ways and to the extent I can influence the future at this point in my live, I’ll share my opinions to whomever will listen.

Tony Kendzior \ July 8, 2019

My thoughts inspired by https://tinyurl.com/y6mytndr