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Fixing the Economy

August 21, 2011

You know what’s gonna fix the American economy?  Billionaires spending their money in America.  Case closed.

I am so sick of no one hoisting this idea up into the media frenzy of the RAISE TAXES NO DON’T RAISE TAXES debate.  I’m sick of everyone having opinions about this.  I’m sick of my own opinions and that I’m forced to think about this stupid problem.  They aren’t interesting opinions, they’re boring.  It does not matter if taxes are raised.  What will that go to fund?  How will semi-permanent government jobs for unemployed people secure them a future free from financial hardship?  Answer to question one: BROKEN THINGS.  Answer to question two: IT WON’T.  Higher taxes may be a short-term solution to a long-term, all-encompassing problem with the American economic system.  However, higher taxes will not fix anything.  They will just push dealing with the problem back another decade or so.  Except they might keep China from taking us over in 5 years.  Hah, just kidding.  Maybe they’ll pay for a Mandarin program at your local public school.

The only concrete thing that higher taxes would do is give a bitter and vindictive sense of accomplishment to whichever of the classes doesn’t receive a tax hike.  And if everyone gets a tax hike, the middle class will still probably gloat because they think higher taxes solves any and all economic woes.  I signed up for some Democratic party mailers, and their new Don’t Kill the American Dream propaganda, which is directed COMPLETELY towards the middle-classers, is chock full of non-solutions and raising taxes.  The list they made accomplishes nothing but leaves you with a gooey feeling somewhere between “Everything’s gonna be alright” and “Get those rich dream-killing sons of whores!”  Ugh, they need to quit playing the same political game the Dark Side is playing with all the vindictiveness and the duplicitous catch-phrases.  I guess between The Dark Side and House Hufflepuff I still have to side with the Hufflepuffers, but god damn if they don’t make it tough to like them.  Oh also the poor couldn’t care less about who gets a tax hike as long as it’s not them, because times are tough, as they always are if you’re the poor.

So really, raising taxes won’t get the gyres of the economy spinning again.  Taxes go to the government, and the government is not the economy.  Explaining why raising taxes won’t help any further would be boring and pointless.  What’s important is that billionaires go out and start spending their money, and start spending it right now.  If all the American billionaires (403 according to Forbes) went out and spent, say, half a billion dollars each, that would be 201.5 billion dollars floating around in the economy.  That’s not going to get America out of debt, but remember, I’m not talking about getting America out of debt, I’m talking about Americans getting money.  Now lets assume that about 90% of Americans make less than $100,000 a year, so lets round out our numbers based on what I can find on a quick google search and say that there are 276,000,000 Americans who earn less that $100,000 a year.  It’s probably more than that, but whatever.  Now if we figure out a way of distributing that 201.5 billion dollars evenly to all of them, that makes everyone $730 richer.  That may not seem like much, but it’s a push towards getting things spinning again.  That’s $730 more that 276 million people have to circulate that they didn’t have before.  That’s at least a month’s worth of discretionary spending if you are making less than $100,000 a year, in most cases more.  Those circulating pushes from each of those 276 million people would do a lot more good for the economy than some billionaire’s personal endowment has ever done.

Billionaires should go spend their money because they and their billion-dollar treasure-troves are the reason the American economy is slowing and America is dying.  They have the economic power to start things spinning again but instead they choke the economy by hoarding its lifeblood.  In fact, not just the billionaires, but the people who are pretty close to being billionaires, they’re killing America too.  This is a very simple concept, and I hate to have to detail it, but since they aren’t out spending I feel that I need to for the sake of thoroughness.  So.  There is a finite amount of money to circulate through all hands of the polity.  If someone has more of it, that means someone has less of it.  Billionaires have an obscene amount of money.  (Not just obscene, but unimaginable.  There is no way to imagine one billion dollars.  You can conceive it, just like with a thousand-sided figure, but you can’t picture it to yourself, let alone figure out how to spend it.  What are you going to spend that billion dollars on, EVER.  1,000 medium-sized homes in Palo Alto, CA?  Get real.)  Therefore, with all the money the billionaires have, there must be people who not only have less money, but either an obscene number who have less or an obscene less-ness of money for the few who have less.  As things are, it’s more a case of the former than the latter.  So because of the finitude of money, as there become more billionaires there must also become more people in poverty or living with less than they previously had.  Now, in order to have a virile economy and a healthy polity, money must circulate.  That’s the point of money – to circulate it.  The circulation allows members of the polity to support one another and raise everyone’s standard of living.  This circulation is the spinning of the economic gyres, trading money spins the gyres.  Given that money has a certain set value, the more money that is circulating the healthier the polity.  Each individual in the polity has a set amount of money that they need to circulate in order to live as a member of the polity, but the more they circulate, the more they spin the gyres.  The more money an individual has, the more they are able to circulate it.  But if, at the end of the day, you have a lot of money, especially an obscene amount of money, you must not be circulating much of it.  And if you have a small amount of money, you are not able to circulate it very well at all.  In a system like this, then, the circulation will gradually slow as money is removed from circulation, the economy will collapse, and the polity will die.  Sorry to get all boring on you even more, I just wanted to make sure that things were explained adequately so we can move on.

So billionaires should start spending their money.  That sounds a bit like a stimulus package, doesn’t it?  Well, it’s not.  That term is currently laden with the prefix of “government” whether it’s said or unsaid, and I don’t think government stimulus is a good thing or should be a necessary thing.  It’s gotten to the point where that’s about the only thing America can do to stay afloat, though, and that should be an argument for how shitty the system is, not for how we shouldn’t stimulate the economy.  It isn’t the government’s job to spin the gyres of the economy.  The government’s job is to ensure that the gyres do keep spinning.  And recently, the gyres have been petering to a stand-still, so the government has had to step in and do the job for the American people because most of the American people can’t and the rest wont.  The economy should be constantly stimulated by the exchange of money.  So billionaires should get to it and spend so other people can start spending and things can work the way they normally should in a healthy economy.

It’s important to note that billionaires spending their money isn’t a complete solution to the problems of the American economy, though.  Things wouldn’t have been as bad as they’ve been, are, and are probably going to be, if the government had been doing its job and kept better watch over the spinning of the gyres these past thirty years.  They’ve really been dropping the ball on the economic front.  Towards that end there need to be some major reforms to the tax system.  I think instead of income tax there should be a tax based on what you spend versus what you bring in.  There should be fewer ways for those with the means to dodge paying their taxes.  And I don’t know, there should probably be tax benefits for businesses who aren’t oil companies or phone companies or media conglomerates, and the areas of government that taxes support should be better than they are now, like the public school system and the justice system.  There’s no point to getting into all that, though, I don’t know enough about government workings and the tax system and it’ll just get boring with opinions again.  I wish the Don’t Kill the American Dream people would just admit they don’t know what to do either and commit themselves to finding some qualified people who do know what to do instead of shouting dumb propaganda.

But now that we’ve reached the end of my argument, you should probably ask that question that’s been sitting in the back of your mind since this all started, whether you knew it or not, which is, “Is it fair to ask someone to spend their money?  They worked for it, and whether or not they really deserve it for the work they did, they have it now.  Shouldn’t they decide what they do with it?”  Well, I must say, that’s a very powerful question, one that is rooted in the beating heart of America.  People should be entitled to their property, right?  It’s good you asked that question, because if you hadn’t you’d be no better than a thief, and thieves are what we protect ourselves against in a polity.  To answer your question, let me reveal a secret to you.  It’s also powerful, one that many have forgotten or never bothered to unearth.  It’s this: no one owns money.  Money is not property.  It belongs to the polity.  Chairs, tables, televisions, land, those are property.  Those belong to individuals.  Those exist without the polity, with just the individual alone.  Money belongs to the polity and it ceases to be once the polity dies.  Of course, most property also ceases to be once the polity dies, but only after the fact.  In the state of total war, it’s very difficult to hold onto your belongings.  So you see, it’s of the utmost importance that those billionaires start spending their money and support the polity, not only for the rest of us but for the billionaires as well.  They have the most to lose.

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