1) Read "The Pitchforks are coming... for us Plutocrats" by Nick Hanauer (Politico July/August 2014)
2) Watch the 2013 film "Elysium" written and directed by Neill Blomkamp ("District 9") and starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.
Humorously addressing his op-ed as a "memo to my fellow zillionaires," Hanaeur shows us how, from a business standpoint, so-called "trickle down economics" is a fundamentally flawed idea. A robust middle class are the true job creators of the economy, not "rich businesspeople," Hanaeur explains in common sense terms:
So forget all that rhetoric about how America is great because of people like you and me and Steve Jobs. You know the truth even if you won’t admit it: If any of us had been born in Somalia or the Congo, all we’d be is some guy standing barefoot next to a dirt road selling fruit. It’s not that Somalia and Congo don’t have good entrepreneurs. It’s just that the best ones are selling their wares off crates by the side of the road because that’s all their customers can afford.
The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society.
If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.
A hard-hitting action thriller set in 2154, "Elysium" has a strong take on dystopia, depicting what happens without fundamental, foundational, across-the-board reform.
Elysium is a space habitat reserved for a relatively small population of ultra wealthy.
Talk about your aristocratic 18th century France projected into 2154: Elysium has ginormous mansions, swimming pools, perfectly manicured lawns with marble statues, robots to cater to your every whim and state-of-the-art health pods that can do all sorts of miraculous cures to many conditions, such as curing leukemia and rebuilding tissue. As a result the citizens of Elysium live very long lives and have a young appearance.
In contrast, the rest of humanity is stuck on Earth, an impoverished over-populated police state.
And don't even think of talking back to the robot cops as Max does, or trying to immigrate to "Elysium." You'll get your arm broken immediately without any due process and your "illegal" Elysium-bound space ship will get blown out of the sky, children notwithstanding. Remember: You and your family are not Elysium "citizens."
Neither the world I wrote in "STARLING" or the world of "Elysium" are worlds we want. It's not "trickle down" ideology that will set us free, but the truth of our connection, that everything is connected.
A policy I recommend is that we, as a society, should examine replacing the fake "minimum wage" with a REAL mandatory across-the-board national standard living wage that can serve as a baseline for the economy and which can tie a real, foundational value to the dollar. (For some ideas on how this can be done, read "There's More to Fixing the Minimum Wage Than Just Raising It" and "Adjusting for Price Inflation Isn't Enough.")
To be clear, no I don't believe that everyone should be paid the same (you hear some people who are likely among those unduly profiting and thus against paying people for their work go crazy with reactionary propaganda "well why don't you just pay people $1,000 an hour?"). No one is suggesting everyone be paid $1,000 an hour. But even those who are against raising the "minimum wage" must admit that there is such a thing as "low-balling." Every business person knows what "low-balling" is. And right now, there is no excuse for "low-balling" your workers to this brutal, obscene extent. This is nothing but taking full advantage of an entire segment of the population's lack of bargaining power. At it's root, this is not "business." It's the same thing as slavery. The so-called "minimum wage" is not a real wage. It is far, far too low. People can't live on it, let alone buy anything beyond the basic necessities, no matter how many hours they work or how many part-time jobs they can manage to string together. The numbers of people in low wage work at this point are so many (and growing) there is no way this "system" can sustain the economy in the long term. The masses will not be able to afford to shop at Wally World. There is a limit. Don't believe liars or Pied Pipers who claim "there are no limits." There are limits to everything.
Friends, the only thing I'm suggesting is that everyone must be paid for their work. Paying people for their work isn't the only thing that needs to be done to make this truly an America that works for everyone. But it's an important, key step that should be part of structural, foundational reform. I believe many problems (many problems not immediately obvious to everyone, from the corrupt criminals at the top getting away with orchestrating the fiasco of the Iraq War to obesity) are rooted in the fake "minimum wage" and modern slavery in America. People stuck in survival mode have no money or means to fight for their rights, or follow what's going on enough to be truly fully involved in their democracy, and I will never support such an evil "system" that keeps this many people down or steals this many opportunities. Such a "system" is insane and against both God and the truth: It takes everyone to keep a nation going. We're all in it together.
Everyone should be paid a real value in return for the real value of their work.
I do not support in any way this current corrupt and artificial crony, phony "economy," and you shouldn't support it either. The big scam and the massive funnel over the country that unduly funnels the wealth of the people into the pockets of a few is costing us all too much. We are losing our freedom, our middle class, our human rights, including our right to privacy. There is no way this is anywhere near a "free market" or real economy that works for everyone (a level playing field with a more even level of equal opportunity) or even a true, legitimate "democratic Republic" when Wally World is as large as it is and in every community everywhere (among other monopolies), numerous banks on every corner even in relatively small towns, young people seeking a college education in debt for decades or the rest of their lives, unable to start businesses or families, the State "bailing out" huge banks and investment houses that gambled with people's money and lost, while writing off poor people and whole cities and regions of the country with no jobs and falling apart, cheap fast food everywhere (likewise the result, vast numbers of obese folks), the vast diversity of jobs and American industry that has been shipped overseas under "free trade agreements" that are only "free" for the people at the top, or 1 in 100 Americans behind bars and billions of dollars flowing into an unaccountable prison-military-surveillance-pharmaceutical industrial complex.
As it is now with never-ending inflation and insanely low wages, the dollar has little real value but paper... People are "paid" an extremely low amount of paper that is virtually worthless for hours and hours and years and years of their lives and labor, time, ideas and energy. If a revolution begins, it will immediately show the corrupt Hall of Mirrors illusion for what it is.
In the U.S., our nation suffered the catastrophic Civil War which shows us the truth:
No society can truly afford not to pay people for their work.