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Rebuttal to “5 Inequality Myths” by Learn Liberty

1) Yes, business provide services to communities.Communists are mostly wrong. Surplus value exists beyond plunder.

How about End free Fed money to banks & end buying stocks on margin? (no value created). State Banks like North Dakota’s can assist states to provide services and fund infrastructure at half the cost. Huge tax cuts Nationalize all insurance risk pools and reinvest profits to communities and rate reduction. Allow for private selling and reinsurance. Public sector stabilizing the private sector. Congress can stop making phony NASA contracts; the existing companies can bid on launches.

Food, manufacturing, marketing, tech, agriculture, and health delivery, and so on can all be free-market competitive. A Post Office Bank can compete with Credit Unions. Public competes with private.

2) Once again – communists get it somewhat wrong – socialism focuses on equality of opportunity, acknowledging hierarchy exists. Hence the fundamental rift between democratic socialists and state-socialist communists.

3) While many make more money as they grow older and presumably more skilled. Inequality is comparing the person who started at $10,000 per year full time, and is now at $22,000 per year full time to a person who started $30,000 full time and ended up making $50,000/year in the next decade. Many go to their graves working minimum wage jobs. Socialism says we get a safety net like Basic Income, education, and single-payer health care, not some communist “same wage for all” myth. Over time – America now has less opportunity for the bottom 40% than 40 years ago.

4) Upon very close inspection of the graph, the $100-$150k range has actually decreased in every metric since the year 2000, while the next two brackets have held steady since 2000. These are mid-to-high skill professionals, which made sense for those who went to college in the 80’s & 90’s, before massive tuition hikes. New household formation belies the myth of a burgeoning monied upper class. I noticed that you used the #4 myth to create your own myth. The American population has aged since 1970. Those former middle class workers accumulated wealth, and a few financial professionals have shot themselves up into the stratosphere since the 1980’s.

On the bottom end, desperate poverty is only down 2.5% since 1970, and the percentage of working poor households below $35k per year is just as bad. The next two categories, the former middle-class boomers, are hollowed out, yes. Those workers moved up the ladder over the decades, thanks to their skills, training, and government-subsidized higher education. $75-$100k, which is comfortable living in the midwest, is the same as then.

5) Cheap foreign goods, purchased on the backs of a hollowed out, debt-ridden economy have indeed raised the material standard of living for the upper 75% of America. Technology can help reduce inequality, but we’ve done so at the cost of the environment. Gasoline Lead poisoning that caused decades of crime waves ended, helping America decrease crime. Now we have a new problem with failing water systems. All the global statistics don’t have anything to do with America, other than our contribution to China and India’s socialist and communist poverty reduction with our offshoring and outsourcing.

All of this economic growth on the back of the biosphere threatens the living of anyone who plans to survive beyond 2060 or so. Better energy and manufacturing tech, more efficiency is indeed the answer. Don’t say that 2.5% decrease in poverty since 1970 means that America is solving our inequality problem. Wealth is trickling up to the few who have it.

Why The Idea of A “Federal Job Guarantee” Should Finally Die

Nathan DuPhene
6/19/2017

In my quest to build support for Universal Basic Income (UBI), some of the biggest opposition & confusion I’ve encountered has come not from right wing conservatives, or right wing libertarians, whom may seem the most natural opponents of “free money,” but from fellow liberals & progressives. The arguments come in several flavors. Perceived or real right-wing opposition to the idea of UBI. Claims that there “could never be enough tax revenue” to fund the program. Insistence that state social workers, rules, and means testing are essential because “poor people need more than monetary help.” Then there’s the ever present, “why would we give free money to the middle/upper class? That takes money away from helping the poor!”

The last argument is put forth by the most die-hard socialists, progressives or liberals and often out-of-touch policy wonks, who insist that a “Job Guarantee” is far superior to UBI. Their reasons include helping the poor, with a “hand up, not a handout,” and avoiding the ultimate bogeyman, so-called “free riders” who “only take” from society and give nothing back. The reasoning goes that a Job Guarantee is the only thing that “those right wingers and conservatives” will ever accept, “because a Job Guarantee promotes hard work” they finish. Now look, I’m not arguing against the value of work. I can agree that hard work is important. My twofold contention is that one, the value work is a cultural issue, not a problem to be solved by government manipulation of the economy. Second, there is a lot of unpaid work done by parents, caretakers, and volunteers that would be better supported by UBI, not  JG.

The failures with the “explicit” policy of Job Guarantee are manifold and numerous, no matter how the program is structured, what it’s goals are, what it’s funding source is, and what kind of oversight is implemented. That’s because of what we’re asking of the program. To create an explicit guarantee of a job for anyone in America, no matter where someone lives, their age or health status; skills or abilities, is a massive and complicated undertaking, simply due to the scope and demands of the stated policy. In areas with low consumer demand due to generational poverty, economists like Jared Bernstein have suggested a JG program would pay up to 90% of the wages of private sector workers, simply to get people into a job. Other ideas for jobs include New Deal programs like WPA, to help beleaguered cities rebuild roads, parks, bridges, and other programs to fund arts, music, and other culture. The claim is that “being productive” by working will not only make the program popular with right wingers, but will also give it’s participants a sense of accomplishment. Far better than “sitting on the couch, playing video games” which is the perception of the dystopian “free rider” world that UBI will inevitably produce.

Where do we start? First, we have to frame the argument. Proponents of a JG state that the explicit nature of the job guarantee, along with that guarantee being implemented anywhere in America, for any person from any background or skillset, are all positive aspects of the policy. They say that UBI will force some people to move out of economically depressed areas, and that unskilled or disabled people might not find jobs without an explicit guarantee. Many people reading this, who understand free market economics, already understand where I am going with this argument. The perceived strengths of JG ultimately turn into some of it’s biggest flaws. Who controls the money for the JG, and decides how it gets distributed? Who figures out what an ideal job for any given participant is? Do we prioritize public infrastructure projects over private companies? What happens if there are people who can’t do construction work in a job market with little or no private industry? Do we pay 90% of the wages for 10 employees to do the amount of work that could be accomplished by 1 or 2 people? One of the complaints of the Soviet system was that, while people were glad to have a job & paycheck, it didn’t make sense to sit around doing nothing half or more of the day. You may as well just give people the free money without making them show up to do nothing. And this program is supposed to be *more* popular with conservatives and right wingers?

Basic Income, on the other hand, is much more simple, by design, as it requires no oversight, administration, supervision, or fraud prevention, all of which are needed for our current welfare state, and most of which (and more) is needed for a Job Guarantee. Under the 21st Century Bill of Rights, the Basic Income Administration (BIA) could wire $1,000 per month to every American’s Post Office Bank account (which could route it to any other bank as well), for almost zero administration cost. While there will obviously be costs associated with maintaining the Federal Computer Database and the National Free Federal ID program, those programs are not part of UBI, they exist in order to give voting rights and proper ID to all Americans. Because new voters are automatically registered, and dead people are automatically removed from the Federal database (as “living” status at least) UBI will never have to have fraud protection. Anyone who’s ID is authorized to receive UBI will get it. Those who are not, will not get a payment.

Why not both JG and UBI? My point is that Basic Income plus Infrastructure spending,  plus food, medical, and housing stipends for the bottom 30% of households will create the conditions for an *implicit* job guarantee. Simply stopping the resource drain of poverty (See 14 Outrageous Consequences of Basic Income) combined with rising consumer demand equals millions of new jobs. Rebuilding the power grid alone is going to produce many $100k per year electrical jobs. Those will produce millions of “runoff” jobs all over the country. America is already in a labor shortage. Increasing baseload economic stimulus with sovereign money (Debt Free Treasury Dollars) will produce more work than Americans can even do. We will be begging for immigrants and robots to come help.  Let’s get on the same page – UBI along with needed domestic stimulus spending gets everyone a job while avoiding the hassle of another government program!

2017 Creative Commons Share-alike. Please attribute source and author when reposting.

Progressive Rebel

My Election Thoughts

I wrote this 10 days before the election and tried to get it published in newspapers. Here it is, so folks understand my thoughts:

 

WE live in a world where the rich feel they are entitled to everything – paying absolutely no taxes, anywhere on Earth, to bribe our politicians and plunder government treasuries with crony contracts, while expecting all the business necessities, from trained workers to functioning infrastructure, at zero cost. In this same world, millions of people believe that the working poor, the sick, the disabled, and the elderly are entitled to nothing but the worst housing, nonexistent mass transit, and a pittance for food. The soldiers who fight in our wars, our students, the people who harvest food, upkeep our bars, hotels, & restaurants and clean our schools, offices, & factories are living in an entirely different America than the IT professionals, white collar office workers, national level journalists, pundits, commentators, actors, and politicians are living in.

The worst thing is that the “last hope of average folks” has been sold to us as Donald Trump, a man who represents the worst of wealth, entitlement, privilege, and government bribing. His proposed massive tax cuts would harm the poorest and most vulnerable in America first. Based on Trump’s rhetoric, SCOTUS picks, and choice of GOP stalwart Mike Pence as running mate, we can expect more of the failed George W Bush policies that led to the implosion of the Federal workforce and the eventual near-collapse of our economy. The massive costs of a huge border wall and millions more deportations will surely lead to road & highway cuts, more cuts to food aid, universities, and other services America needs. We will likely see more devastating school closures, not just in poor inner-city or rural districts anymore, but possibly even in working-class suburban districts. The middle class will suffer, too. Anyone with retirement & investment accounts tied to the stock market will take a huge hit to their portfolio. Housing values may collapse again. This could easily turn viral into another global economic slowdown. Now it’s unlikely that Congress would really be that reckless, but then again, can we really be sure?

The second worst thing is that the other person who is being sold as the “champion of the little people” is another aristocratic oligarch – Hillary Clinton. Her record at State Department leaves a trail of bodies and failed states all over the world. Honduras, where she refused to reinstate the rightful president after an illegal right wing coup, and called instead for new elections, which were run by criminal gangs, is now in shambles. When the Organization of American states refused to recognize the election, Hillary pressured them to accept the new, right-wing government. When criminal gangs took over the country, and started killing people, including indigenous rights environmental activist Berta Cacares, refugees began fleeing. The same woman who stood by while criminals destabilized their country, Hillary Clinton, then denied asylum to almost all of these refugees, mostly women and children. In Syria,the CIA has given weapons to Al Qaeda affiliated groups, who started a revolution that gave rise to Daesh, who then destroyed priceless artifacts, temples, & historic sites in Palmyra and elsewhere. In Libya, the CIA gave weapons to groups affiliated with Al Qaeda terrorists, who then overthrew the government, with US and NATO help. We destroyed the largest public irrigation project in all of Africa and turned cities to rubble. After creating a power vacuum, NATO simply packed up & left. Daesh now uses Libya as a base to continue their reign of terror in the Middle East. In Europe, American agents & provocateurs instigated the putsch in Ukraine, destabilizing that nation, and giving Russia the perfect excuse to take back Crimea, setting off a conflict with the RUssians that continues today. Now Hillary is continuing war rhetoric against Russia, promising a new Cold War that will likely bankrupt America. On top of that, she STILL doesn’t personally condone gay marriage, she used a private server to avoid the transparency of FOIA, and now, numerous e-mail leaks prove that her staff and top DNC officials conspired to thwart the campaign of Bernie Sanders, which they succeeded at. This loss for Bernie is pending five – yes five Election Fraud cases currently making their way through Federal court.

The third worst thing is that the corporate media first gave rise to Trump with billions of dollars in free air time, while ignoring Bernie’s historic rise until it became impossible not to. In general, corporate media has consistently played up Trump’s many scandals while seeming to never mention Haiti, Honduras, Ukraine, or the CIA gun-running in Libya & Syria. They failed to put Jill Stein or Gary Johnson on their polls, leaving a huge blind spot of “undecided” voters, even less than 2 weeks from the election. Cable news & radio talking heads sat around, acknowledging that the “major parties” fielded the two most hated people in America, yet had eyes covered, seeing no other candidates; ears covered, hearing no other candidates; and mouths sealed, never, ever bothering to mention Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, other than to deride them for being “too fringe” after a few minor gaffes, and declaring they will “never win” in what appears to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I’m not going to tell you how to vote, I’m just going to tell you the truth. Even if the states with no-paper-trail, easily hackable voting machines aren’t rigged, even if people aren’t bussed around in states like NY where poll workers legally can NOT ask for ID at the polls, this election is rigged. The choices were pre-selected, the corporate media was in on the game, and the only difference anyone can hope to make is at a local & state level, or by helping a third party candidate get their “Five Percent Victory” in the presidential race.

Yes, third parties can win this November with only 5 percent of the vote. “Win what?” you ask. I’m glad you asked! Third parties can win millions of dollars in prizes simply for getting 5% of the national popular vote. Not even any Electoral College votes, just 5% overall. This gives them 50 state ballot access in 2020, and access to Federal Matching Funds. This is worth millions of dollars to the Green Party especially, but also the Libertarians, as both parties expect a media boost if they are dubbed “national parties” in 2020.

Hillary’s base, the Democratic Party base, is slightly larger than the fervent base of Donald Trump supporters. Many traditional Republicans and conservatives may sit out this election. The impetus is not on third party voters, but the Democratic base itself. Millions more people will stay home on Nov 8 than will vote third party. Those voters can easily defeat Trump – IF they recognize their own power and go to the polls.

If you’re mad at me after reading this, perhaps because I shattered your illusions about a candidate, do what Obama has been saying – “Don’t boo, vote” – and get your neighbors, friends, & like-minded family to do the same!

~ Progressive Rebel @ProgRebel @Sapiocrat1 on Twitter

Discussion Forum

Welcome to everyone from the People’s Summit, and anywhere else! This page is for YOU to add ideas for the 21st Century Bill of Rights. Write your own amendment, propose an idea, modify one of the existing amendments, or just tell us what you think needs to go into the process. This is an open comment forum. Just reply in the comments below!

Twitter: @DemocracyRevive @ProgRebel @Sapiocrat1
Gmail: ReviveDemocracyNow@gmail.com
Facebook: FB.me/ReviveDemocracy

E-Mail Now Working!

If anyone used the “Contact” section OR sent an e-mail to ProgressiveRebel@21stCenturyBillofRights.org before Today, April 11th 2017, then I unfortunately did not receive your e-mail or message. I fixed the problem and everything’s working now. The e-mail address ReviveDemocracyNow@gmail.com will go directly to me and be the future Google hub of the project for the time being. Feel free to use either address or the comment section now. Thanks!

14 Outrageous Consequences of Basic Income

3/21/2017
Nathaniel DuPhene

More and more people are talking about Universal Basic Income (UBI) and how this concept will be essential to stabilizing our society in the face of job losses due to automation. While it’s clear that UBI will help end homelessness, reduce poverty, and increase happiness, a lot of the details and nuance aren’t often explained. These are just a few of the many ideas I’ve had kicking around in my head.

  1. Retail theft due to extreme poverty will be greatly reduced.
    Millions of people steal basic necessities such as food, hygiene products, clothes, shoes, and furniture. These people will finally be able to afford to live with dignity instead of in the shadows.
  2. People trapped in abusive relationships have more options
    Those unfamiliar with abusive situations might not know that an abuser can take control more easily when their victim has no financial means. UBI will provide a  game-changer many people need to break free from abuse.
  3. Rural & small town economies will find new life
    A family of 4 with 2 kids would get $3,000 per month in Basic Income. This would allow millions of Americans in poor rural areas to participate in the economy. This could jump-start small town economies back to life as more locals can afford meals, home products & improvements, and farm supplies. Small farming, and farming in general will be less stressful with families earning enough UBI to pay the mortgage.
  4. State & local governments will be better funded
    Cities across America collectively lose billions of dollars to foreclosure, failure to pay fines, vandalism,  crime, and homelessness. UBI cuts this down on all fronts, also leading to our next point…
  5. Families will be more stable
    Families will no longer be foreclosed on, lose their house or rental unit, and lose all of their furniture, clothes, and possessions. Moms and dads will be able to keep the heat, the lights, and the water on – 12 months per year. Cars will get fixed. Rideshare and bus fare to work is paid for. School trips, sports, and events get funded. Less financial stress on parents means fewer arguments and marriages failing due to finances.
  6. Cats, dogs, and other pets will thank us
    Pet owners will finally be able to afford vet bills, better food, better litter, and grooming services for their pets. People who want pets but can’t afford them will be able to adopt, meaning more stray animals will find homes. More people being able to afford spay/neuter also helps decrease unwanted pets.
  7. Donations to non-profits & charities will rise
    Imagine your club membership base is 1,000 and they all donate an extra $10 per month from their basic income. Your entity just fundraised an extra $10,000 per month. Volunteerism might rise as well, with more folks being able to afford to get to events and meetings.
  8. Newspaper & magazine subscriptions will rise
    With part-time & contract workers bringing in a steady $1,000 per month, suddenly, spending $20-$40 per month for more media options is actually imaginable.
  9. Micropayments will become much more viable
    Online subscriptions for $5 per month are simply out-of-reach for millions of people right now. UBI would fill that gap and give people enough financial breathing room to participate in the marketplace of ideas.
  10. Crowd funding will be supercharged
    Young, idealistic folks who want to help their friends crowd-fund usually don’t have steady incomes and lots of spare cash. UBI will jump start a virtuous cycle of new projects & business getting funded.
  11. Utility operators will save billions
    Most people don’t know this, but, power companies spend tens of millions of dollars or more per year disconnecting power from people who can’t pay their bills or who steal electricity. Same with water systems. UBI would allow millions of people to pay their bills on time, saving money for these providers.
  12. Hair & nail salons will become profitable
    Spending $50 or $100 per month will become an option for millions of people. This is one of the many huge business & job opportunities that will come out of UBI.
  13. Craft Beer, wine, & liquor will continue to boom
    Breweries, wineries, and distilleries will have millions of new customers who finally have enough money to even buy a few beers or one bottle of craft liquor every month. This will keep them on their current growth trajectory for years to come.
  14. Tourism will skyrocket
    People will finally be able to take vacation time from work and have enough money to go somewhere. Some people may just take their UBI, buy an RV, and hit the road. Mobility, both economic and literal, will increase, benefitting every tourist spot and larger city.

These are just a few of MANY positive effects that UBI will have on America. How many other problems will at least have hope once UBI is enacted? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Copyright (C) 2017 Endangered Patriot Media

Let’s Get The Comments Rolling!

Over the past 2 months, there have been over 200 visitors to this page, even though we haven’t spent one dime promoting the site. This is a good thing – it means that people are learning about this project and sharing it with others. Keep up the momentum, folks! Sharing the Facebook link ( fb.me/ReviveDemocracy ) the Twitter handle (@21CentBill and @ProgRebel)  or the address of this page once week can continue to help grow this organic momentum.

Here’s the thing, though. This project is not intended to be a one man show, or to sit on a shelf as a failed dream. We need to hear back from folks who have ideas for the project, or want to donate, or who want to become delegates to the upcoming Constitutional Convention. Maybe you are a superstar and want to do all three!

I know these blog posts aren’t the best forum, but they do allow readers to leave comments. Should we get a forum on this site, stick with the Facebook page, or both? What do you think of the proposed amendments?
How will we answer the main 2 contentious questions –
1) Should we keep the Electoral College, modify it, or eliminate it?
2) How should Congress and Congressional districts be set up? Two House Reps per district? More, smaller districts? Should senators be elected by state, region, or nationally?

LET THE WORLD KNOW, and SHARE, folks!
Thanks,

Nathaniel DuPhene
Progressive Rebel
Endangered Patriot

The Mythical Endangered Patriot

The origins of the 21st Century Bill of Rights Project lie with the founder, Nathaniel DuPhene. Raised outside Detroit, now living in Grand Rapids Michigan, Nathan goes by the moniker Progressive Rebel, Endangered Patriot (on Twitter @ProgRebel).

What is an Endangered Patriot, you ask? Many things. A person willing to question government & corporate authority. Someone willing to speak truth to power, even when that truth is ugly or unpopular. Anyone unjustly prosecuted due to the government’s many wars against our own people. Whistleblowers, dissidents against government, and anyone else who’s been betrayed by the halls of power, who is willing to fight back to reclaim our human dignity.

First Blog Post

Finally almost there!

I finally have a decent version of the preamble as my home page, and a full text of the Bill of Rights in it’s current form on it’s own page. I finally have the “goals/about” page done, and now, my first blog entry, short as this may be!

It’s 3:18 in the morning and my kids will wake me before 9:00 AM, but I’m happy, because I at least have a basic website set up that can answer some basic questions about the 21st Century Bill of Rights project. Thanks for reading, I welcome your comments!
~Progressive Rebel, Nathan DuPhene (Phenicie)