Beyond Good and Evil

Dr. Ronnie J. Hastings

Citizens! (II) The Redistribution of Wealth

This second installment of the “Citizens” series (see part one) deals with a phrase probably even more misunderstood than the word “liberal” or “socialist” — the phrase “the redistribution of wealth.”

My first presentation of this phrase on e-mail to ultra-conservatives brought a hilarious reaction: they thought I was talking about “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” I was actually asked how would I feel if one of them came over and confiscated my pick-up truck, as his was not as nice as mine! Minds like trap-doors! Too literal a translation of the perhaps poorly chosen word “redistribution,” I suppose.

As so many political leaders and economists have patiently pointed out, the redistribution of wealth Clinton brought about, Obama is trying to restore, and what I am talking about here means the rich do not get poorer, but, rather, get richer — only not by the greedy gulps of the past. If the fat-cats pay their fair share of taxes, like the middle class has been doing all along, the benefits to the economy will still bring profits to the fat-cats. The more important effect is the restoration of the middle class and the creation of more wealth than we have now. In other words, this is not a conservation of wealth argument; the restoration of middle class wealth will generate an influx, an increase, into the nation’s gross profit. If you have a graph of the number of people versus yearly income, instead of the area under that graph being constant and shifted about, as many conservatives believe, the area actually increases over time; the curve of the graph actually rises, with the increase in area especially notable for lower and middle incomes. The redistribution comes when over 90% or more of the greater wealth is spread out among at least 65-70% of the tax-paying people — the citizenry.

The Clinton administration showed that jobs are not created at the top, like Romney, Trump, and other small minds like theirs claim, but, rather are created much lower down the “economic pyramid,” often with government help. Right now, job creation is staring us all in the face: the repair of our poor infrastructure. Contractors need to apply for government contracts to work on our roads and bridges, and government needs to foster domestic works projects to help do the same.

Citizens need to call for banks to open up their stored wealth for loans to reliable entrepreneurs in the lower and middle class. Home owners need help on their mortgages, mortgages that truly match their means. Breaks need to be given to workers shackled by vicious student loans, and the borders need to be opened further for workers to come into our country and contribute to the workforce. That workforce should, in addition, become replete with veterans who are finally coming home to contribute to the domestic economy for a change, and that includes most if not all the armed forces stationed in places like Germany and Japan that suck the life out of our economic growth.

Citizens need to demand that the revenue from lotteries, horse racing, casinos, cigarettes, alcohol, etc. (i.e. 100% of the so-called “sin tax”) in all States go into the public schools of the State, instead of into the pockets of politicians. When Sylvia and I vacationed in Georgia in 1996, any Georgia high school graduate that kept up his/her grades could get up to four years free tuition and books at any State school in Georgia! And that was just from putting in 100% of the State’s lottery revenue! Think what States who have far more resources and “sin” than Georgia, like Texas, full of great State colleges and universities, could do! I like to think it is possible to eliminate the need to get a student loan for higher education, if you are a student able and willing to do schoolwork. Higher education would become a true meritocracy, instead of a country club affordable only to the few; colleges and universities would graduate scholars, not plutocrats.

Universal, single-payer, health care, with its emphasis on preventive medicine, like the medical regimen Sylvia and I are on right now, will be in step with increased, redistributed wealth, by lowering people’s long-term medical bills; fewer people will have serious medical problems, because serious problems are “nipped in the bud,” just like the respective cancers both Sylvia and I contracted. Both of us now are cancer free.

I hate to agree with oil companies, but right now Exxon has a commercial saying that education can be “saved” by hiring teachers with deeper content backgrounds, so that their students can learn more.  An expression of a pillar of my educational philosophy, by which I’ve tried to guide my professional teacher career — exactly! Better teachers K-12 (meaning better salaries, by the way) coupled with making it easier instead of harder to get into higher education (keeping standards high, not “watered down”) will combine to produce college and university graduates prepared to help generate wealth in an ever-changing world. One of my bright, college-bound students whose father is an engineer, informed me that her dad came from an engineer conference where it was reported that there are “like 3 million engineering jobs out there,” but far fewer than 3 million American engineering graduates to fill them. No wonder foreign students flock here to scarf up on these jobs! We have to prepare students in our schools to scarf up on these jobs, and that means science, math, and engineering, not theater arts, business, literature, foreign language, philosophy, etc. There is probably no better example of a type of workforce that contributes directly and immediately to national economic growth than engineering corporations, who must hire engineers, scientists, and mathematicians.

Just to be clear, in case there are any “trap-doors” reading this, this ain’t socialism, communism, welfare, or fascism; this, in my opinion, is good old American “know-how and gumption”!


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