In 2021 the Zelenskyy declared a campaign to “de-oligarchize” his nation, having diagnosed Ukraine's political & economic crises as tracing back to the corruption by the morbidly rich
I and my husband started our foray into the workforce at 15 and 17 in 1974 and have worked as hard and as long as we could for the last 45 years. Unable to find work after I turned 55, I was forced to take early SSI ($640) and would never get my full benefits of $800 by taking early retirement. My HVAC tech husband managed to change jobs annually or bi-annually to get an extra $1 on the hour over a 30-year span and now makes $26. He is now 63 with a bad back and will be forced to work until 68 1/2, which would qualify him for $2,600 a month. His current job tried to force him to quit on January 3, 2023 (with 18 years of service), at which point he would only qualify for $1,700 monthly for life. His ESOP non-profit received over $10 million in government subsidies, including PPE and PPG, but instead used that money for a new building and laid off more than 60 people. His retirement after 20 years is entirely dependent on the stock market. This is Reagan and his Republican policies over 40 years, with the help of the corporate Democrats legacy.
You’re right Thom, you have to make sure that you are registered to vote, vote for our best interest, not for the richest families, the oligarch families of America. Double check your voters’ registration, then go out and vote, vote for we the people, vote for the future of America, vote for our Children’s future. But go out and vote
The answer is a resounding no. Zelensky was a television comedian and while his speeches are aligned with Western economic interests Ukraine continues to be fertile ground for corruption, some of it directly tied to Zelensky and his cronies. To his credit Zelensky did try to negotiate a peace with Russia in March, but Biden directed Boris Johnson to inform Zelensky that negotiations were not an option. So at this point Zelensky is a tool of the most aggressive and warmongering oligarchy on the planet, which would be the US. As he makes jokes in front of Congress about the need for billions more in weapons from the US, it becomes apparent that Zelensky and his Ukraine are mere economic cannon fodder for US interests in the region.
Could an Executive Order be the first step in the right direction? Would President Biden ever consider something along those lines to counter the inequality gap increase and the demise of democracy? What was that show about the lifestyles of the rich and famous? And, how many preachers are pushing the prosperity gospel? The popular belief that great wealth is the be-all and end-all has strong roots and is being reinforced incessantly by our media, social and economic structures, historical narratives, and institutions.
The idea that wealth is synonymous with superiority is also deeply rooted. The first mission might be to dispel these pernicious myths and to persuade people very early in life that, in the same way that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, absolute wealth corrupts absolutely, with rare exceptions. Trump, Elon Musk, Zuckerberg, etc., are objects of worship because their lifestyles are misperceived as glamorous and glorious and because we are primed to see limitless wealth as happiness and proof of success. If only our schools could shift the focus. But alas, that is not their purpose and does not fit with their purpose. Too bad. So sad.
Capitalism (unlimited greed) and true Christianity have never mixed and will never mix. Our founding fathers should have known that when they wrote the Constitution. It seems most all of the religious graduates of organized religions, only learn to hate people of different ideologies,not how to Love thy neighbor. The GOP is still selling the trickle down theory to their ignorant base. With all the Reagan, bush and Trump tax cuts, the American standard of living has dropped a lot, in half roughly in my opinion if the government was not giving the childbearers the earned income tax credit and not making them pay any taxes. The rich have taken their money and invested it in America all right, they have bought up land and housing and now we have a population that can't afford shelter or medical. It trickled down all right, but not into manufacturing jobs in America. This article is the most profound article I have read in my lifetime. Let's elect someone like Jesse Ventura that is bearable to both parties and you can be the presidential advisor, if we last that long. 👍
Wouldn't that be a novel idea for our country to admit they learned anything from someone in another country, especially a country that is getting our help these days?
Historically we have fought the oligarchs and monopolies AFTER they did the damage. So here we are AGAIN. It's "Clean-up on Aisle 666" every damn time the Republicans get their hands on anything much less the Supreme Court.
It's just like with health care, we know other countries succeed, we know how they do it, but the minority in this country refuses to let us MOVE ON. We have to drag them into the future kicking and screaming. I believe we can and will do it.
Ukrainians are determined to not BE Russian---bless them.
In short, NO, America can learn nothing from Ukraine about reducing (let alone eliminating) the influence of our oligarchs. Why, you may ask. Simple - our oligarchs keep a critical mass of voters and the politicians they elect (and re-elect, and re-elect) hopelessly learning disabled about reality in this country.
It is a pity that Netflix decided to only subtitle rather than dub the entirety of the brilliant series produced by Zelenskyy, Servant of the People. The series anticipated the reforms you describe and inspired a movement in Ukraine that has sustained the will of that nation in the face of Putin’s onslaught. We have much to learn from Ukraine. I appreciate that Netflix invested in the series. I’d still like to see it dubbed so as to better navigate the dialogues and help us overcome some of the cultural barriers.
Thom, I know normally agree with most of your writing as you have great insight, but I must call your attention to one area where I think you have been misled. That is attacking Citizens United on the basis of corporate personhood. Corporate personhood, an artificial construct, is one of the essential bases for our economy. It allows entrepreneurs to go into business without losing their homes if the business fails. Creditors are on notice that if they give credit to this business, they can only look to the business’ assets. If they don’t think the business will be a success, they don’t give credit. And likewise, it allows the ordinary citizen to invest in a company. So if you were a shareholder in SVB bank, when it tanked, the creditors couldn’t come after you for a share the debt. And all that depends on corporate personhood , which cannot be undone without destroying the economy.
However, courts in other countries have upheld legislation severely restricting political donations from every source, including corporations, and kept the concept of corporate personhood untouched. Canada is one example. These courts recognized that the issue has nothing to do with corporate personhood, but the necessity to put limits on freedom of speech.
I wrote about this recently. To understand how attacking corporate personhood is a misdirection, a reader must have some basic understanding of corporate law, so I start with the theory of a corporate personality, then move to how it’s quite different in practice, and in the third article, I’m able to deal with corporate personhood and Citizens United and show how it can be overturned without touching the concept of the corporation as a separate legal entity— awkwardly called a person.
It may sound like the drudgery of law school, and I suppose it is, but I think, you may find an explanation of corporate personhood that is not in the media. https://open.substack.com/pub/jandweir/p/the-abuse-of-the-corporate-form-why?r=b9xmm&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web
Wage Slaves No More/Universal Basic Ownership
Money Working for You VS You Working for Money!
In the land of the 1%, people don’t work for their money. Their money works for them! And here’s how every single American can have their money working for them instead of them working for money. Here’s how the average American can play the game just like the rich and the famous play the game. Check it out.
Make every American (regardless of age, gender, race, religion, or political persuasion) an OWNER OF INCOME PRODUCING CAPITAL ASSETS while creating NO GOVERNMENT RED INK!
Here’s How In Three Simple Steps
1. The Federal Reserve (as authorized by the Federal Reserve Act, section 13, paragraph 2) through local banks, could make an ANNUAL, $10,000 LINE OF CREDIT AT ZERO PERCENT INTEREST accessible to every American.
2. These funds could only be monetized (turned into money) by the purchase of qualified, income-producing capital assets (stocks, machines, land, etc.) that will predictably PAY THEMSELVES OFF with PRE-TAX DOLLARS from FUTURE EARNINGS/DIVIDENDS in 3 to 7 years.
3. As each ANNUAL line of credit pays itself off, the dividends would continue to flow and they’d become INVESTMENT INCOME for their economically empowered owners.
Economic Democracy is also known as Universal Basic Ownership (UBO), or Capital Homesteading. More specifically, check out THE NUMBERS BELOW.
According to a CPA’s calculation, in their 12th year of life, the AVERAGE AMERICAN would have had $130,000 invested on their behalf and they’d PRODUCE over $9,000 in investment income. In their 18th year, they’d have had $190,000 invested and they’d PRODUCE over $18,000 of investment income. In their 40th year, $410,000 invested and over $50,000 in investment income. And in their 65th year, they’d have had $660,000 invested on their behalf and they’d PRODUCE almost $90,000 of investment income.
There’s NO GOVERNMENT RED INK because each capital loan transaction is INSTANTLY BACKED by CAPITAL CREDIT INSURANCE that accompanies every transaction in case an investment falls short of expectations.
Every American thus becomes an owner of income-producing capital assets and an ECONOMICALLY PRODUCTIVE/ EMPOWERED MEMBER OF SOCIETY.
And in the process, the economic roots of POVERTY, RACISM, WAR, and GREED are undermined, while the number of people capable of paying taxes DOUBLES! This in turn systematically REDUCES TAXES on those who currently pay them.
And since PRODUCTION ALWAYS PRECEDES CONSUMPTION in the Economic Democracy paradigm, inflation is rendered impossible.
Sound impossible? Let’s quote the indefatigable Nelson Mandela who once said, “It always seems impossible UNTIL IT’S DONE! For details check out CESJ.ORG.
12 Objections to Economic Democracy and 12 Responses…
1. That sounds like a SOCIALIST plot to me. Bernie would love it. But I don’t!
On one hand, we agree it does everything that Bernie and the Progressives want to do. So, it’s easy to misconstrue Economic Democracy as a socialist strategy. On the other hand, it’s fiscally conservative! It not only avoids creating any long-term debt, but it reduces taxes, and it allows our nation to start paying down our ($31 trillion dollar) national debt as well. Real conservatives should absolutely love this!
Think of it this way. Socialism is all about public (government) ownership. Capitalism is all about private (corporate or individual) ownership. And it doesn’t take a genius to see that Economic Democracy is all about spreading the ownership of income-producing capital assets out into the hands of individuals (we the people) across the USA. So, it’s definitely a free-market, universal capitalist strategy, not a socialist strategy.
2. Where does all that money come from?
For starters, there’s NO MONEY CREATED UNTIL a new and productive opportunity is identified, vetted, and a purchase is actually made. When the participant is ready to pull the trigger, the Federal Reserve creates the funds, the purchase is made, and the entire transaction is instantly collateralized by Capital Credit Insurance which accompanies every transaction. So, there’s no risk for the government or the individual participant.
3. The real question is, how will that new capital be financed?
If the wealthy use their “past savings” to pay for the new capital, they will own it. If the government uses tax dollars or goes further into debt to pay for the new capital, the government will own it. Economic Democracy enables “we the people” (meaning every individual citizen) to have equal access to the means (money and credit) needed to pay for and own the new capital that will produce the new goods and services we consume. Economic Democracy empowers everyone - NOT just the few - to participate in the ownership side of the economy, so they can GENERATE INCOME FROM THE CAPITAL THEY OWN.
4. Won’t all that new money flowing into the market cause massive inflation?
There will be lots of new money flowing into the market, but not without a comparable amount of production PRECEDING and actually CAUSING the new money to be created. The imbalance that creates inflation is literally impossible in this paradigm.
5. So, what does the Economic Democracy paradigm have to say about taxation?
We would SIMPLIFY TAXES to the point that individuals and corporations will no longer need an accountant to do their taxes. We would minimize if not eliminate all taxes that discourage diffused, individualized ownership of income-producing capital assets.
For example, qualified corporations that feature full voting rights and full dividend payouts would have corporate profit taxes eliminated completely. The profits distributed as dividends would be taxed as individual income. Adults earning less than $30,000 and minors earning less than $20,000 would pay no income tax. So, a family of four (2 adults and 2 minors) who earned $100,000 or less would pay no income tax.
Over half of Americans make so little that they’re unable to pay income taxes. By creating equal capital ownership opportunities for every citizen, we will DOUBLE the number of individuals who are capable of paying income taxes, while REDUCING income taxes for those who currently pay them. Everyone will become an economically productive/empowered member of society. In the process, we’ll be able to fund governmental requirements and start paying down our $31 TRILLION national debt.
6. Does Economic Democracy appeal more to conservatives or progressives?
To be honest this strategy appeals to BOTH SIDES. It appeals to the fiscally conservative Republican who wants to rein in spending and live within our means. It also appeals to the liberal Democrat who wants a level playing field where everyone has an equal opportunity to prosper. And since it systematically promotes independence from the government (i.e. freedom), the only people who disapprove of the Economic Democracy are autocrats who want to control “we the people.”
7. Has Economic Democracy been pilot-project tested to see how it performs?
Yes and No. The basic mechanics of this strategy have been thoroughly tested in the roughly 8000 employee-owned companies and 11 million employee-owners that have been created over the past 50 years. And Economic Democracy is really just an expansion of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) strategy that aims to provide all Americans an equal opportunity to participate in and to benefit from ownership of the new wealth being created in the American economy every year. However, it has yet to be formally tested in a national setting.
8. Wouldn’t this strategy create a financial incentive to have too many children?
On the contrary, statistics indicate that as family incomes increase the tendency to have more children actually decreases.
9. How can a child make the kinds of investment decisions required by this strategy?
Parents (with the fiduciary advice from a local banker) will have to make these decisions until the child turns 18 years of age.
10. If your predictions are accurate, everyone will have at least enough money to cover their basic necessities. Under such conditions nobody will be willing to take the low-paying, boring, repetitive, mechanical, meaningless jobs that so many have to take today in order to keep a roof overhead, food on the table, and clothes on their backs. Who will do that kind of work?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is in the process of gobbling up all those kinds of jobs anyway. That’s what AI is good at. On the other hand, most people will want to avoid sitting around and wasting their lives. Under these conditions, people will be FREE to spend their lives doing things that are productive and meaningful to them instead of being industrial sharecroppers or wage slaves.
11. How will I know if an investment is solid enough to be “qualified.”
Let the investment banks and insurance companies be your guide. Both are notoriously risk averse. They specialize in minimizing risk. If they turn the investment down, it’s probably a poor (or unqualified) investment.
12. Who’s the primary proponent of the Economic Democracy Act?
That would be the Center for Economic and Social Justice, headquartered in Arlington, VA. More information on the Economic Democracy Act is available at CESJ.ORG.