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The Economic Impact Of Universal Income

Monday, September 25th, 2017

In an age of technological marvels as we are seeing today has generated enormous wealth. But, with this wealth you would think that society as a whole would be the benefactors of all those technological advances. Today, the wealth disparity gap has only gotten wider. The rich continue to reap the rewards while the majority continue to languish far behind unable to have some of the benefits of all the advances made whether they were scientific, medical or technological. In every period in history when ever there has been scientific breakthroughs or advances in technology it is always the wealthy that immediately reap the benefits. They in turn are able to garnish more wealth, power and control. In essence mankind has yet to share the wealth generated by man’s continued quest to invent new and more wondrous ways of improving the quality of life or improve the ways of destroying life.

When we put this in context to today’s economic outlook there are numerous employment opportunities that are soon to become irrelevant and obsolete. Take for example driverless cars, automation in practically every factory, and warehousing is going to be completely automated in the near future. What this means is that people employed today will soon become like so many still are today unemployed. And, when you have the majority of populations either unemployed and underemployed the overall economy suffers. The rich will continue to get richer while the rest of us will continue to become poorer. When we have the largest income disparity gap in history today in the United States our economic and financial future is darkened by clouds of deception by what the wealthy and government continue to do. The stagnation and retardation of incomes of the majority of the population has kept the United States from becoming the economic engine we once were right after World War II.

With Trump in the White House and the wealth gap that continues to widen has made the United States irrelevant in global affairs. This irrelevancy is threatening the very fiber of American society. When we look at the out pouring of support both financially and otherwise in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey by people everywhere that really couldn’t afford to pitch in but do has shown that much of the American public still have the strength to act with great empathy. This is what the American spirit is all about. Then there is the dark side in America today. We have seen it raise its ugly head when ever there is a disaster. The impact of devastating storms or other disasters there are always those who seek to capitalize on others who are less fortunate. The greed of people today is more evident with each instance of instability.

It is the instability in the United States that is cause for grave concern. From racial tensions, to catastrophic disasters, to economic inequality all have dominated the growing instability in America today. With the advent of newer technologies that are now poised to displace workers has put a new dimension on what it would take to generate economic mobility within the US. Governmental programs, those safety nets for the poor, and the unemployed are just meager subsidies that aren’t effective in producing the economic stability for our society. For our seniors relying on Social Security those monthly checks offer just as much financial security as those meager subsidies for the poor and the unemployed. When we look at the bigger economic picture in the US today the governmental programs that are in place don’t and can’t support a growing economy. In essence what the United States is experiencing is a retardation in economic growth and stability.

The question now that now one is asking is how do we turn the tide of growing economic retardation and instability to one of economic growth, productivity, and stability? To answer that is one of great consequence to every American. First thing we have to recognize is the failure of our governmental policies both domestic and foreign. For far too long they have only benefited the wealthy and entrenched politicians. Then there is greed of individuals whether they are mega corporations run by ruthless CEO’s or the policies of government that have for years made it easier for financial institutions, large corporations and wealthy individuals to avoid their fair share of taxes. Trillions of dollars that could be infused into our society are being hoarded in the tax havens of the wealthy that our government has allowed to happen. Once we dispose of all the so called loop holes of tax shelters for the wealthy and major corporations trillions of dollars would then be available to heal the wounds that is keeping the United States economy in critical condition.

Closing those tax loop holes is only a first step in generating economic growth. There are an additional two basic steps that must be implemented to complete the resurgence toward economic stability, financial security, and national security for the United States. The implementation of National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation would in fact be the greatest financial and economic boost for our country. Correspondingly apply a universal income for every American would add a whole new level of economic growth, financial security and stability that is sadly missing today.

The idea of a universal basic income has been suggested numerous times. Dr. Martin Luther King wrote that the solution to end poverty was to establish a guaranteed basic income for all. Today, Switzerland is poised to implement universal income while other European countries are seriously considering the same. To the skeptics and Republicans today who ferociously state that this is impossible the reality though is we actually could afford it. That’s if the tax loop holes were eliminated and National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles Of Confederation were to be implemented. Once this is done then there would be more than enough tax revenue to support a guaranteed basic income of $1,000 per month for every American who now earn less than $150,000 per year.

Just think of the economic impact that a guaranteed universal income of $1,000 per month for all Americans who earn less than $150,000 per year would do to our economy. The economy would grow substantially, poverty rates would plummet, many of the racial tensions would be eliminated and our stability as a nation would be restored. To do nothing is only a prelude to disaster and is inhuman in today’s reality. With the advances of robotics and digital automation will undoubtedly create more poverty and instability if we fail to implement universal income. We can support universal income by spending far less than we do now. It is within our financial capacity to do the right thing for our population. But, if we let greed or lack of empathy override our compassion to ease the suffering of so many that are so impoverished the great wealth divide will only get wider and our nation will only become more divided.

Labour Day Thoughts

Monday, September 25th, 2017

My mother had limited options when it came to choosing a career. She could be a nurse, a nun or a teacher. She wasn’t Catholic and didn’t think she could handle the duties in nursing. The requirement at the time as preparation for holding a teaching position was to complete a one-year “Normal School” program which she did.

Mom taught in small Saskatchewan towns but when my maternal grandmother had both breasts and part of her throat removed because of cancer, she went before the school board to make a proposal. Family was a priority for her. She told her employer that she needed resign in order to nurse her mother but hoped that her younger sister would be hired in her place. They agreed.

Things have changed a lot over the years! Mom married and I still laugh about the fact that I was “expelled” from school before I was born. You see, it was not considered “proper” for young children to have a pregnant teacher at the front of the classroom so mom had to resign from her job because she was expecting me.

When my sister was born, mom was a full-time parent for a while but returned to teaching in order to improve our families’ financial situation. The baby boom era changed thinking about the need for two incomes in a household instead of just one.

Teaching in a rural school meant that mom had sole responsibility for five rows of children, each at a different grade level. Many of the children rode horses or walked to class. When the weather was bad and roads were impassable, a farmer would drive her on his tractor to the schoolhouse.

Then, in the 1960s the Saskatchewan government changed their credentialing policy. Each teacher had a deadline to complete an additional five courses in order to hold a “Standard A” certificate or they would not be allowed to continue teaching.

I was in grade eight and saw first-hand how difficult this was for mom. She had to invest her time, money and effort in order to drive to and attend classes, complete assignments and write exams. There were nights when we were supposed to be relaxing at the cabin over the summer but she was reading textbooks by the light from a coal-oil lamp. She didn’t have any natural musical ability so I tried to teach her how to play the flutaphone! She got 51% in the class and I was so proud of her!

When dad died, mom continued teaching and it was a life-saver for her as she was able to both give and receive in the school setting! She carried on and retired with thirty-five years of seniority. My heart is still warmed every time I meet adults who tell me that she was their favourite teacher.

In those days, people usually had one job that they retired from after three decades at which time they were given a gold watch. The trend today is for individuals to make about six changes in their employment. Some work in casual or temporary positions while others are full-time. There are many who start businesses or sign contracts for their services. All of us labour in our personal lives for our family and for our own well-being.

This weekend we have an extra day off to celebrate Labour Day! What a good time to reflect on the way that our careers have evolved and taken shape.

What career choices did you have? Which did you choose? Who influenced or mentored you? What things were difficult? How have you grown as a person? Did your family sacrifice and/or benefit from your career?

Can you view your employment history with gratitude? If not, what are you planning to do about it?

Have a peaceful and reflective Labour Day!