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It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders..
As we have repeated through the years, ad nauseam, the single biggest economic problem facing America and the world is the wide (and widening) Gaps between the richer and the poorer.
The Gaps are what makes people richer. Without the Gaps, no one would be richer, and the wider the Gaps, the richer they are.
It is a rule of human psychology that we want the Gap below us to widen and the Gap above us to narrow.
Said another way, we wish to distance ourselves from lower income/wealth/power people, while coming to be closer to the higher income/wealth/power people.
We see this Gap psychology everywhere; it is responsible for much of what happens in our economy.
Gap psychology makes us receptive to the Big Lie, that social programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and aids to poverty are “unsustainable,” unaffordable” and must be cut.
The following is Gap psychology at work:
The Confederacy Was A Con Job On Whites. And Still Is.
BY FRANK HYMAN
The Confederacy – and the slavery that spawned it – was one big con job on the Southern, white, working class. A con job funded by some of the ante-bellum one-per-centers, that continues today in a similar form.
You don’t have to be an economist to see that forcing blacks – a third of the South’s laborers – to work without pay drove down wages for everyone else. And not just in agriculture. A quarter of enslaved blacks worked in the construction, manufacturing and lumbering trades; cutting wages even for skilled white workers.
Thanks to the profitability of this no-wage/low-wage combination, a majority of American one-per-centers were southerners. Slavery made southern states the richest in the country.
The South was richer than any other country except England. But that vast wealth was invisible outside the plantation ballrooms.
With low wages and few schools, southern whites suffered a much lower land ownership rate and a far lower literacy rate than northern whites.
Most Southerners didn’t own slaves. But they were persuaded to risk their lives and limbs for the right of a few to get rich from slavery.
For their sacrifices and their votes, they earned two things before and after the Civil War. First, a very skinny slice of the immense Southern pie.
And second, the thing that made those slim rations palatable then and now: the shallow satisfaction of knowing that blacks had no slice at all.
That “shallow satisfaction” is Gap psychology. The Southerners who were made poor by slavery still supported it because it widened the Gap below them. Though it made them poor, it made the blacks poorer, yet.
Today, when middle- and lower-income people vote for politicians who promise to cut benefits to the poor, we see the same Gap psychology — our willingness to sacrifice so long as those below us on the totem pole of life, sacrifice even more.
Thus, because of Gap psychology, we blithely believe the obvious lie that the U.S. government is running short of dollars to support social programs. Why do we believe the lie that social programs are unaffordable? Because those programs narrow the Gap by benefitting people poorer than us.
The rich teach us to sneer at the poor, and we don’t seem to understand that the rich sneer at us in the same way. To the rich, we are the “takers,” and they are the “makers.”
How did the plantation owners mislead so many Southern whites? They managed this con job partly with a propaganda technique that will be familiar to modern Americans.
Wealthy Southerners supported more than 30 regional pro-slavery magazines, many pamphlets, newspapers and novels that falsely touted slave ownership as having benefits that would – in today’s lingo – trickle down to benefit non-slave owning whites and even blacks.
The flip side of the coin of this old-is-new trickle-down propaganda is the mistaken notion that any gain by blacks in wages, schools or health care comes at the expense of the white working class.
Today’s version of this con job no longer supports slavery, but still works in the South and thrives in pro trickle-down think tanks, magazines, newspapers, talk radio and TV news shows such as the Cato Foundation, Reason magazine, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.
These sources are underwritten by pro trickle-down one-per-centers like the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch.
In case it isn’t obvious, the above are Republican, right-wing “news” sources, promoting Gap psychology every day.
We could add to the above list the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) and the Concord Coalition, which spread the ridiculous propaganda that our Monetarily Sovereign federal government somehow can run short of its own sovereign currency — the currency it creates simply by pressing computer keys.
Our Monetarily Sovereign government neither needs nor uses tax dollars to pay its bills. Even if federal taxes were $0, the federal government could continue spending forever — and without borrowing.
This fact means that ACA itself, and the Republican “repeal and replace” ACA campaign, both are based on the false notion of federal dollar scarcity.
Yes, ACA should be repealed and replaced — but replaced with federally funded Medicare for every man, woman, and child in America. (Step #2 of the Ten Steps to Properity)
A map of states that didn’t expand Medicaid – which would actually be a boon mostly to poor whites – resembles a map of the old Confederacy with a few other poor, rural states thrown in.
Another indication that this divisive propaganda works on Southern whites came in 2012. Romney and Obama evenly split the white working class in the West, Midwest and Northeast. But in the South we went 2-1 for Romney.
Only by shedding (self-destructive beliefs) will Southern whites finally catch up to the rest of the country in wages, health and education.
The “self-destructive beliefs” are a foundation of current political propaganda. They have led to the urgent push to destroy the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which provides healthcare insurance to millions of people who otherwise could not afford it.
(We further discuss the power of Gap psychology at: “What is the real reason the Republicans hate Obamacare?” Monday, Mar 6 2017.)
Just as with the Confederacy slavery con job, the anti-Obamacare con job is promulgated by the rich to widen the Gap between the rich and the rest.
While no one yet knows the details of the Republican plan, what we do know for sure is this: Millions of poor people will lose their healthcare coverage. And this will be just fine for large swaths of the populace.
It will appeal, not just to the rich, but to all those whose Gap psychology makes them happy to sacrifice a bit, so long as the poor sacrifice more.
The rich have been successful with Gap psychology since slavery days. And we suckers still buy into it.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-mores and the have-less.
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.
Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich can afford better health care than can the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE A MONTHLY ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA (similar to Social Security for All) (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB (Guaranteed Income)) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE Five reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE FEDERAL TAXES ON BUSINESS
Businesses are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the federal government (the later having no use for those dollars). Any tax on businesses reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all business taxes reduce your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and business taxes would be a good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.
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