Public Ownership of Capital Assets -Gary Reber


Disclaimer: The Public Economist does not necessarily agree with the views expressed. It is third in the series of seven pieces which Gary has generously agreed to share with TPE.

The government should impose robust import levies and tariffs (tax) on particular classes of imports that are determined to be manufactured outside the United States and exported back to the United States that do not qualify as “Fair Trade” and unfairly undercut an American-make equivalent. At present, American business corporations are increasingly abandoning the United States and its communities to invest in productive capital formation outside the United States, particularly in Communist China, Communist Vietnam, Bangladesh, Mexico, India, and other parts of Asia, supported by American consumers who cannot afford pricier American-made products. As a result, America is experiencing the deindustrialization of America. This has forced policy makers to adopt a redistributive socialist solution rather than an economic democratic one whereby democratic economic growth of the earning power of the citizens would flourish simultaneously with new, broadly-owned productive-capital formation investments in the United States. Such overseas operations have the advantage of “sweat-shop” slave labor rates relative to American standards, low or no taxation, supportive infrastructure provisions, currency manipulation, and few if any environmental regulations — which translate to lower-cost production. Thus, producing the same product or service in the United States would be far more expensive. For most people, economic globalization means a growing gap between rich and poor, technological alienation of the labor worker from the means of production, and the phenomenon of global corporations and strategic alliances forcing labor workers in high-cost wage markets, such as the United States, to compete with labor-saving capital tools and lower-paid foreign workers. Unemployment is high and there is an accelerating displacement of labor workers by technology and cheaper foreign labor, resulting in greater economic uncertainty and unstable retirement incomes for the average American citizen — causing the average citizen to become increasingly dependent on government wealth redistribution programs.

We need a policy change, which assures truly “Fair Trade” and that exponentially reduces the exodus of our manufacturing prowess and invigorates America’s entrepreneurial exceptionalism and competitive spirit to create products and services in the spirit of “the best that they can be.” We need policies that will de-incentivize “American Made,” while simultaneously competitively lowering the cost of production through expanded capital ownership in more efficient technological invention and innovation. At present, the various incentives in place do not broaden capital ownership but instead further concentrate ownership.

Our policies should support the transformation of the labor union movement to a producers’ ownership union movement and embrace and fight for this new economic democracy. They should play the part that they have always aspired to –– that is, a better and easier life through participation in the nation’s economic growth and progress. As a result, labor unions will be able to broaden their functions, revitalize their constituency, and reverse their decline.

When labor unions transform to producers’ ownership unions, opportunity will be created for the unions to reach out to all shareholders (stock owners) who are not adequately represented on corporate boards, and eventually all labor workers will want to join an ownership union in order to be effectively represented as an aspiring capital owner. The overall strategy should assure that the labor compensation of the union’s members does not exceed the labor costs of the employer’s competitors, and that capital earnings of its members are built up to a level that optimizes their combined labor-capital worker earnings. A producers’ ownership union would work collaboratively with management to secure financing of advanced technologies and other new capital investments and broaden ownership. This will enable American companies to become more cost-competitive in global markets and to reduce the outsourcing of jobs to workers willing or forced to take lower wages.

The union movement should also expand beyond representing corporate employees and represent capital ownership empowerment for all property-less citizens.

If we continue with the past’s unworkable trickle-down economic policies, governments will have to continue to use the coercive power of taxation to redistribute income that is made by people who earn it and give it to those who need it. This results in ever deepening massive debt on local, state, and national government levels, which leads to the citizenry becoming parasites instead of enabling people to become productive in the way that products and services are actually produced.

Another important policy proposal is to encourage corporations to pay out all their profits as taxable personal incomes to avoid paying corporate income taxes and to finance their growth by issuing new full-voting, full-dividend payout shares for broad-based citizen ownership.

At the same time, we need to eliminate all tax loopholes and subsidies, as well as eliminate the payroll tax on workers and their employers, but pay out of general revenues for all promises for Social Security, Medicare, government pensions, health, education, rent and subsistence vouchers for the poor until their new jobs and ownership accumulations provide new incomes to substitute for the taxpayer dollars to fill these needs.

At the launch of this “Own The Future Plan” we should provide a tax exemption of $100,000 for a family of four to meet their ordinary living needs.

As part of tax reform, a single tax rate should be established for all incomes from all sources above the personal exemption levels so that the budget could be balanced automatically and even allow the government to pay off the growing unsustainable long-term national debt. The poor would pay the first dollar over their exemption levels as would the hedge fund operator and others now earning billions of dollars from capital gains, dividends, rents and other property incomes which under some tax proposals would be exempted from any taxes.

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