The Dangerous Equity Gap Between Rich And Poor Widens!

By Donald A. Collins | 1 July 2021
Church and State

(Image by reneecporter from Pixabay)

We are pleased to hear about the laudable intent of billionaires like Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett who plan to give the bulk of their wealth to charity.

However, as history now tells us Milton Friedman’s 1970’s position that the sole role of corporations is to make profits only opened the direct path to the unconscionable weath gap which exits today.

Here is a direct reference to Friedman’s view which you can read here.

In his 1970 article that appeared on the New York Times, American economist Milton Friedman discussed the social responsibility of business organizations. His argument was straightforward: the social responsibility of a business is to increase its profits. Note that he first presented this argument in hi book “Capitalism and Freedom” published in 1962.

There are now 500 billionaires here in America. Trump’s unneeded cut in corporate taxes from about 35 percent to 21 percent early in his Presidency allowed companies to buy back their shares, giving their stockholders potential capital gain dividends. And the chance to add more billionaires??

Half the Fortune 500 companies we learn pay no income taxes at all while Biden’s call raise their taxes to 28 percent from 21 percent has now been stripped from the as yet unpassed infrastructure bill which is itself too small!

I often met Milton and his wife, Rose, when we were neighbors in San Francisco. I must admit I bought into many of his points of view, some of which I still admire along with his elfin good humor. However, in my limited view of his immense scholarship, he could have moderated his now simplistic philosophy about the purpose of corporations if he had said, “But companies by paying their fair share of corporate taxes could also be a way of being good citizens in a society which after all makes the corporate model work for all of us consumers.”

Furthermore, in spite of his innovative ideas with which many agreed, Friedman did not embrace the pioneer work of Louis O. Kelso and his wife Patricia, who has continued their efforts for equity after his death.

As Wikipedia tells us: “Louis Orth Kelso was a political economist, corporate and financial lawyer, author, lecturer and merchant banker who is chiefly remembered today as the inventor and pioneer of the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), invented to enable working people without savings to buy stock in their employer company and pay for it out of its future dividend yield.”

I had the great pleasure of knowing Louis and admiring his prescience in seeing how to achieve more equity for all which his brand of employee related capitalism which only needed Federal government legislative support which he attained. You should read his classic Random House book, The Capitalist Manifesto, written with Mortimer Adler. His Wikipedia biography can be read here.

This of course fits exactly with my (and the Kelso’s) views of the urgent need for all of us to have ways to get capitalist equity which can sustain us whether or not we are employed, as so many of our citizens today are not, only living paycheck to paycheck.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan’s Presidency embraced Friedman’s theory and identified the government as the enemy. Our path to plutocracy was then well underway.

Trump’s unnecessary corporate tax cut from over 30 percent to 21 percent simply allowed companies to buy back their stock and give their owners an untaxed capital gain, which enabled easy credit for the rich. We now have 599 billionaires and many so poor they are subject to the crazy lies from racist militants, further undermining of democracy.

Then as time passed as so often happened since WWII, all our leaders continued to involve us in foolish and expensive wars like Vietnam to allegedly prop up non- existent or fading communist menaces. In doing so, many of our citizens were employed and thus pleased by the so-called enlarging “industrial military complex” which provided good jobs for many as huge sums of money gushed into our economy and the national debt ballooned.

However, the imbalance between rich and poor and whites when compared to black and other minorities in the US expanded more widely than ever.

By 2016, despite the two-term reign of our first black President, many poor and even middleclass whites had become much more recruitable by Trump who became the treasonous Liar in Chief.

By heeding Trump and his big lie about the November 3rd fraud and aided by the liars on deep internet media, militant racists like the Proud Boys and others coordinated and led with Trump’s urging including his treasonous pep talk in front of the Capitol the day of the January 6th insurrection!!

And then the spineless GOP led by leaders such Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy refused to even debate whether a January 6th Commission should seek the facts about Trump’s inspired insurrection. Some GOP House members have even tried to dismiss the historic event as not important.

Will this disgraced former President ever be brought to justice? Don’t count on it unless enough reputable Republicans (and I believe there are many still serving in office) join with the Democrats to insure his political downfall before the midterm elections in 2022. Killing his political egotism might give him more real pain than any resultant litigation penalties.

Sadly, this right wing attack on our democracy will continue and could prevail, implementing a continuing state of racist behavior that since George Floyd’s murder most Americans are trying to rectify.

If the credibility of our government is eroded by these continuing attacks driven by greed, lying and the reach for power, our fragile democracy is on the road to disaster.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013, Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive? and We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?.

How The Rich Avoid Paying Taxes

How Sweden Balances High Taxes And Growth

Mike Wallace interviews the inventor of ESOPs, Louis O. Kelso, on 60 Minutes

What If America Was A Social Democracy?

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