This is the third in a series titled “Reasons to Fix Our Democracy.” Each piece highlights “another reason to fix our democracy”. Today’s reason is to make America’s capitalism broadly serve us all.
Reason #3 to Fix Our Democracy - So Capitalism Will Broadly Benefit We the People and Strengthen Our Nation
Hello. I’m Rick Hubbard and this is the third in a series of articles about our need to fix America’s representative democracy. The series is titled “Reasons to Fix Our Democracy,” and each piece highlights “another reason to fix our democracy”.
Today’s reason is to make America’s capitalism broadly serve us all.
Our nation has embraced capitalism. It’s very efficient, even ruthless, at generating economic growth. It also has nasty side effects.
The responsibility of those we’ve elected to represent us is to balance the advantages and side effects of capitalism to broadly benefit all of us.
This is so important, I’m going to repeat it.
Your Job as Our Representatives
The job of our representatives, is to balance, the advantages and side effects of capitalism to broadly benefit all of us.
If not properly balanced by those who represent us, over time capitalism will create economic gains, but the majority of these gains will be funneled ever upwards to an increasingly smaller number of increasingly more wealthy individuals. The economic gains for these few, come from the rest of us in the form of low wages, abnormally higher prices, lack of competition, and more.
Another bad side effect of capitalism is that, left unbalanced, capitalism will drive wages as low as they will go, as long as someone will show up for work. A majority of our representatives at both the state and federal level have failed to balance this negative side effect for several decades now.
Actions Have Consequences
Their failure to act has consequences.
Our nation is increasingly a place where, for most, even if we work a full work week, the wages we receive in relation to housing, education, healthcare, and other costs, leave us in a financially precarious position without any savings for safety, and therefore only a paycheck away from an unexpected bill.
Living paycheck to paycheck is the most common situation In America today. It’s increasing too. Recent data vary, but show that 40 to 60 percent of all who work, end up living paycheck to paycheck and aren’t in reasonable control of their lives. And this percentage is increasing over time.
This creates huge anxiety and anger that undermine our stability and cohesiveness as Americans. It also threatens our national security - a divided nation is less prepared to stand up to China and other competitors.
We have good reason to feel this way too.
Most Americans know that a majority of our representatives aren’t paying much attention to our interests and common good.
If our representatives did their job to balance capitalism, they would set a reasonable limit on how low wages can be depressed, so anyone willing to work a full work week can at least earn enough - meaning wage that’s high enough, even at the lowest paying jobs — to at a minimum, live in a frugal way and be in control of their lives.
This is not to denigrate the minority of our representatives who are working hard to balance capitalism to properly serve the broad public interests of Americans. Instead, it is the remaining majority of our representatives who have blocked repeated efforts to Fix Our Democracy. Otherwise, we would have a thriving republic that’s a beacon for the rest of the world.
Instead, the majority of our representatives have done the opposite.
They have distributed money to partially deal with the resulting effects of their inadequate action. This comes in the form of food stamps, housing aid, Medicaid, and more. Each of these approaches come with bureaucracy, gaps in coverage, large amounts of time and effort to qualify, inadequate funding to cover the full need, and more negatives.
This also creates a further dependence on government handouts. It does not enable people to be in full control of their lives.
It also has adverse societal effects.
When wages for a full work week are depressed below the cost of living, in addition to the resulting anxiety and anger, many become depressed and discouraged.
This results in increased drinking, use of drugs, adverse health effects, crime, homelessness, suicide, disrespect for government and more, none of which benefit society.
So, Do Better
So, wouldn’t our representatives better serve our common good by setting policy and law in ways that enable more people to work and earn enough to be in control of their lives?
Wouldn’t this contribute more to our collective benefit, than by continuing to leave capitalism unbalanced and allowing wages to be driven lower and lower in relation to current costs of living with all its adverse side effects?
And wouldn’t our nation be more united, cohesive, and stronger if its people were happier, healthier, and more stable financially?
Now we have one more reason to fix our democracy - so capitalism will broadly benefit the common good of us all, and strengthen our nation.
So friends, it’s time to DO something about this. Go to my website, FixOurDemocracy.us to sign up, and to find supporting state groups. Write your Congressperson and let them know how the system should be reformed. Participate in parades. Carry signs to fix our democracy. The road is long, but we can and must fix our representative democracy.
If you’d like to hear more reasons, sign up and you’ll be notified when the next "Another Reason to Fix Our Democracy” is released.