President Obama recently proposed a new tax on the richest Americans which would be used to pay for tax cuts on the middleclass. This is a blatant political ploy to force the Republicans to fight against a populist move at a time when the middleclass is clearly hurting.
It’s unfortunate to say, but pushes to reform the tax system and address some of the built-in wealth inequities would have been much more credible if he had proposed them at a time when they had any chance of being enacted into law. With both houses of congress controlled by Republicans who are sworn to oppose anything with Obama’s fingerprints on it (outside of the TPP), there is no other way to see this other than bait to the base with no chance of becoming a reality.
What this move does do, and what Obama can be lauded for, is that it will make wealth inequality and the structural problems that create it something that will be endlessly debated over the next 20 months. There is a wealth equality problem and it is getting worse. According to ZeroHedge, the 1% are continuing to amass wealth and will soon hold over 50 percent of the world’s assets.
Now, people profiting and doing well from their ingenuity, drive and talent is great and some, even a large, degree of inequality is expected in a free society. The problem comes in when that inequality becomes institutionalized. This happens when the people at the top use their wealth to create influence, then they use their influence to get laws passed and otherwise arrange things so that their wealth is protected and continues to grow.
This is where we are right now. While the foundations of many of the fortunes held by the best off among us were created by hard work and talent, they now grow through investments like the ones that drive the economy into the ground in 2008. And for those at the highest levels of our corporations, while low level employees struggle to put food on the table, CEO and board members make salaries and perks far in excess their actual value, as this article from Forbes shows.
This trend in wealth distribution is unsustainable. It leads to either countries being controlled by corporations and plutocrats or to armed revolution, as Nick Hanauer warned in an article he penned for Politico last year. Neither of these is anything any of us wants. Rather, we want what has been sold to us as the American dream it doesn’t matter where you start from, if you have talent and drive, you can be successful.
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And this is where the legitimate role of government comes in to keep the playing field as even as possible. And this is also where the government has been failing us for the last forty years as our bought-and-paid-for politicians give the store away to their plutocratic and corporate owners.
As I often say, Bitcoin is no panacea that will correct the worlds ills in a stroke. It is a shifting in power, though. As Bitcoin strengthens and begins to undermine the ability of the government, the Fed, and the big banks to game the system, an opportunity will open.
President Obama promised change we can believe in, and most of the time gave a more of the same. Now that he has discovered his progressive roots just in time to not be able to actually do anything with them, I’m not buying. No, this time I’m not putting my faith in a man; I’m putting my faith in math.