(Everyone should have a vision of the better world towards which their energies are directed. It is not just a manifesto for political action, but the image of perfection against which all value judgments are made. I will be updating this page continuously as I refine my views, sharpen my image. As the picture develops, I will add pages. This one will remain the index.
It was last updated on December 11, 2016.)
First, understand that we can afford it. The per capita Gross Domestic Product of the United States of America is about $60,000. The annual minimum wage is around $15,000. That is, per person, the nation earns about four times what someone working year-round at a minimum wage job earns. The national debt is about $20 trillion, but its wealth is around $60 trillion. A similar balance sheet can be drawn up for most Western nations. Poverty is not a state of nature; it is a policy of the State.
Second, imagine an individual state stipend of $1000 paid out monthly to every citizen, regardless of current income or employment status. Obviously, this would let us do away with all minimum wage laws as people seek work merely to supplement an income that allows them to satisfy their basic needs (food, shelter, clothing) while consuming none of their time. It would immediately make the majority of all welfare programs unnecessary and, as people learn to use their time to keep themselves happy and healthy and helpful to each other, would lower the costs of education and healthcare. A great deal of worry about retirement would, likewise, be a thing of the past.
Next, imagine the abolition of all taxes (except one, to which we will return). Every dollar you earn, by work or by wit, is yours to do with as you please, supplementing the $12,000 basic income provided by the state. Businesses would bear no administrative burden on behalf of the State to collect taxes of any kind. If they want to replace their accountant with a cigar box and the honor system, that's entirely their business.
At this point, pause to reflect. Is this the paradise of the worker or the entrepreneur? The answer is that it is paradise for both. Consumers would have the purchasing power to buy what they need; and entrepreneurs would, therefore, have the market to sell what they produce. The economist (and perhaps The Economist), however, will rightly point out that if you print and distribute $1000 to every citizen every month the result will be runaway inflation. We come now to the single tax that would be needed to center the wheel of circulation.
Imagine a single tax on the unimproved rental value of land. This tax would be completely uncomplicated to administer and would encourage owners to develop the economic potential of their property in a sustainable way, distributing its value to the consumers who have the money to compensate them for it. At bottom, the currency, issued as basic income, would be underwritten by its being the only legal means of paying the property tax. If you want a big house and an estate to yourself, you had better manage an efficient factory to produce things of value for customers who are willing to spend their money on them. If you merely want a quiet life in the suburbs, and a couple of exotic vacations every year, you need only contribute your labor or leadership to such a factory.
Again, ask yourself: is this the fantasy world of the so-called Left or the so-called Right? It is neither. It is the realistic image of a world in which 99% of the population of any sovereign country would lead happier more fulfilling lives. It is Utopia. It is Nowhere from the point of view of a very small group of very wealthy people, whose wealth depends on keeping this world unimaginable. Poverty, I say again, is not a state of nature. It is the policy of the State.