More Consumer Power to Realize Our Dreams

The U.S. seems to have strayed from Dr. Martian Luther King’s “I have a dream…” in the 1960’s to only the very rich can afford to dream in 2010 after the Supreme Court rulings on Citizens United and in the 2013 ruling on McCutcheon.  It is bad enough that the almost powerless middle class and the powerless poor have progressively less purchasing power and almost no political power but the extremely rich are now able to lend their enormous wealth towards further influencing votes and our legislators to rule over the nation in their interests.  In less than 50 years we have managed to make an abrupt 180 degree turn away from let all have the right and ability to the “… pursuit of happiness” to Only the very rich deserve to achieve their dreams of ever greater wealth.

It is said “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely“.  So do the increasingly powerless many have the political will to limit those with close to absolute power from corrupting our government absolutely?  Or will government become smaller and smaller and less able to reign in the abuses of the very rich and powerful as conservatives would like to see?  Will the conservative South ultimately win the Civil War by weakening the federal government so much that it ceases to exist and we become 50 or so independent nation states?

The political power of money is overwhelmingly weighted towards the very rich and this disparity keeps on increasing as wages fail to keep up with inflation while executives continue to receive ever-increasing bonuses, benefits and salaries.  The recent Supreme Court rulings assure the rich ever increased influence over voters and elected officials.

Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely” is truer today than since the last Great Depression more than two generations ago.  The buying power of the majority is on the decline posing a serious problem because consumers like you and I are able to buy fewer good and services, the lifeblood of our consumer economy.  If the majority of our populations stops purchasing there will be less demand for Apple goods and McDonald services which may lead to closures and higher unemployment.  The consequences of a decline in consumer power of the middle class will ultimately lead to an uncontrolled spiraling economic decline as household incomes plummet, income from taxes dry up, and unemployment rivals that of the Great Depression explodes.  Remember the economic collapse of 2008?

A strong consumer middle class is always best.  The economy is largely dependent upon consumers and is best when the majority of people have the wealth to spend lots of money.  But the rich are rich because they naturally grab economic wealth away from everyone.  The rich invest the majority of their wealth.  But rich investors in reality have limited effects upon the economy because they are not significant consumers.  It is a fallacy that investments from the wealthy spur economic growth.  Investments do help but growth and jobs primarily come from sales and a strong consumer middle class spends a large portion of their income on goods and services.  It’s the number of purchases that create jobs, not the price of items.  The sale of 100 moderately priced cars employs far more people than two luxury cars for the very rich.

Thus it is in the interests of everyone in the long run, including the very wealthy, to make sue that there is a strong consumer middle class.  Henry Ford realized this first so he made cars affordable to all of his workers by paying them more and making cars cheap.  This allows the middle class to be strong consumers which in turn makes rich investors even richer and boosts job growth.  Lowering the tax burden on the middle class will leave them that much more to spend.  Raising taxes on the very wealthy has little effect since they don’t have anything better to do with their wealth other than invest their excess money as they have always done even when taxes were much higher than today.

Keeping net earnings and buying power high for the middle class keeps them spending, increases employment, results in more tax dollars for the government even at lower tax rates, and gives better returns on the investments of the very rich.  Thus everyone comes out a winner and everyone can realize their dreams.  Even China realizes this now.  So why can’t we?

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