by Glen Wallace
Given that it is inherently unfair that a small portion of the population has legal rights to a disproportionate amount of material wealth, modifications to the laws are necessary to correct the wealth imbalance. Careful modifications to the law will entail transferring a portion of some given legal rights from a wealthy party to poorer parties.
One of the primary barriers to direct wealth redistribution is a general belief by the public that taking the steps necessary are morally wrong. Of course, the plutocrats are all the more happy to perpetuate such a misconception. But, it must be kept in mind that there is not necessarily a congruence between the moral laws as set by the norms of society and the civil laws set by a legislature. The moral laws of society are the authors of the social contract that we all try to abide by. If there is a conflict between the moral laws and the civil laws, then, given that moral laws are necessarily following norms, then the imperative is to abide by the moral laws at the expense of the civil.
Due to the general frustration and lack of esteem and confidence in the US Congress, is it reasonable to believe that, in general, members of congress are acting fraudulently as representatives of their constituents? How could it be true that they are acting as our representatives and at the same time rank so low in public confidence polls? It would appear that, indeed, that lack of confidence is well earned given the poorly kept secret that members of congress are acting in their own self interested pursuit of campaign contributions in exchange for legislative favors. Congress then is engaging in fraud on the people just the same as an operator of a Ponzi scheme is engaging in fraud on the investors. In the case of a Ponzi, the schemer is said to be engaging fraudulently because he is dishonest in presenting to investors an investment that would be in the investors interests but instead is using the investors money to perpetuate the perpetrators lifestyle at the expense of the duped investors. In the case of congress there is a difference from a Ponzi in terms of where the fraud is occurring. With a Ponzi scheme the fraud is not using the investors money as the schemers claim. But in the case of congress, how the public's money is spent is a matter of public record and generally is presumably an accurate and honest accounting. The fraud perpetrated by Congress then, is in the goals of our legislative representatives. We elect the representatives to re present the interests of the group of citizens that form the state or congressional district that the congressperson is supposed to re present. The congressperson, then, is acting in a manner similar to lawyer that has been retained by a client to represent the clients interests. The law demands that in such a situation, the lawyer makes a good faith effort to achieve an end that matches the client's interests. Basically the fraud on the people is that Congress has as a goal to meet not, as they present, their constituent group's interests, but rather the goals of a select group of campaign contributors. Therefore, congress has a similarity to a Ponzi scheme insofar as they are using the investment of constituents votes not for the benefit of the voters as presented to them but rather towards the congressman’s own interests of prestige and the lifestyles that goes along with being a member of the US congress at the expense of the citizen's, the shareholder's of the United States. In the case of a Ponzi scheme, fraud prosecutions typically is a congruence between the social contract moral laws and civil laws mandating a clawback of any funds that investors, typically early investors, may have acquired above and beyond the funds that they put into the Ponzi scheme. Those early investors that got more out of the scheme than they put in are said to have benefited, albeit unwittingly, by way of fraud and therefore do not have the legal right to retain those extra dollars. Instead those early investors have to give back those extra dollars to the victims of the Ponzi scheme who ended up with less, usually much less, money than they put into what they thought was an investment.
We are currently living in a plutocracy that is fraudulently being presented as a representative democracy. A number of Americans have benefited tremendously from that fraud by becoming filthy rich at the expense of those citizens that have invested their lives in a country that they were misled into believing governed in a manner that was in the interests of all the constituents and not just a select few rich and powerful citizens. The current plutocratic system has been brought about by way of cronyism between elected politicians and business people acting as representatives of capitalist businesses. The cronyism has resulted in favoritism and protectionism of certain business interests that creates an unfair competitive business environment. This publicly sponsored racketeering has created a system that has not merely allowed a few bad apples to proliferate, but has pervaded the whole macroeconomic world so completely that it becomes impossible to extract those individuals and businesses that have acquired their fortune through fair and just means and not wittingly or unwittingly benefited from a corrupt and fraudulent system.
A wealth redistribution plan would therefore be a clawback from those members of the wealthy elite that have materially benefited from our plutocratic system that has been fraudulently misrepresented to the citizens as a democracy. Given that it is impossible to get extremely rich in America without taking advantage of the plutocratic fraud, all members of the extremely rich class shall be subject to clawbacks of their personal fortune.
Additionally, there already has been a strong case for the implementation of reparations for the long history of slavery in the United States. Wealth redistribution would simply be the an implementation of something like a 'reparations lite.' While in the case of slavery, the goal is to make up as completely as possible for the complete lack of compensation along with the obvious civil rights violations of slavery, wealth redistribution would amount to an attempt to make up for the difference between what the workers in the history of the United States made in compensation and the wages they should have received for their work. Some may argue that the cases of slavery and paid workers is completely different because slaves are forced to stay on the job and workers always have the option to leave the job that is unfair in its compensation and find another, better, fairer paying job. I would counter that there are enough similarities between slavery and supposedly voluntary employment to justify reparations in both cases. For one thing, the options of workers are often very limited by a number of factors, including where the workers may find themselves living, either by accident or birth. Some locations are effectively company towns where all the paying jobs are too low and the company owned retailers charge too high prices to the point where all the workers are living paycheck to paycheck and never are able to save up enough funds to afford to move out of that company town.
Additionally, built into the counter argument that a worker could just change jobs is an acknowledgment that some jobs do not pay a fair wage. And even if there was another job paying a fair wage available that any worker who applied, would get hired for, that fact in no way rights the wrong of the employer that pays an unfair wage. If any action is morally wrong, then the failure of any potential victim to protect themselves from that wrong, does not in any way absolve the wrongdoer from victimizing their easy prey. Might does not make right. If it did then those big strong adults that victimize children in various ways would be justified in doing so because the adult, of course, is mightier than any small innocent child. Thus, if it is acknowledged that a fair wage exists for any given job, then it is imperative that the employer pay at least that much regardless of the tendency, or lack thereof, for the worker to 'shop around' for the same job from different employers.
While it should be fairly easy to determine who is and who is not a descendent of slaves in the US, the task of determining who is a descendent of, or currently is, an unfairly paid worker would be rather daunting, at best. The past and present unfair compensation of workers, should then be merely another in a long list of justifications for the general practice of wealth redistribution. Going forward, this new policy of mandatory fair pay will never allow the policy to turn into a lazy hazard. (I have, of course, made up my own term of 'lazy hazard' to replace what I believe to be a flawed term 'moral hazard.' I always thought the word 'moral hazard' was vague, at best, in conjuring up an idea of what was being referred to based on the two words in the term. I mean, given the great myriad of possible instances that might fall under the term 'moral,' couldn't a better term at describing the hazard involved, be arrived at.) I think that the assumption that a fair living wage would be guaranteed for all jobs would lead to the lazy hazard of complacency among employees who would now think that they no longer had an incentive to work hard to get ahead and achieve that well paying job, by way of merit, commits what is known as the jackass fallacy. The jackass fallacy is the belief that humans, like an animal such as a donkey or lab rat only behaves according to either the carrot of compensation dangling in front of them to chase after or the stick ready to swat the behind of the jackass if he starts going too slow. The jackass fallacy is a fallacy because it ignores the complex nature of human nature and corresponding motivational factors that play into human behavior. I find it very interesting and ironic how it is these financial 'bean counters' that are so respected for their opinions on complexities of human motivation – it is as though being a master of spread sheets and financial charts somehow provides some deep insight into the human mind – how that could be possible, I have no idea. It is like giving a heavy weight of importance into a treatise on human nature written by the pre-epiphany Ebeneezer Scrooge. I think something other than the carrot or stick is what drives human behavior. I think, we can look to current and past human behavior to recognize the non-monetary motivations are predominant.
Whether the process be called a 'claw back' or 'reparations,' my proposal is to initiate the following:
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