Saving capitalism

Because many readers have concluded that the author of this column is — as a recent e-mail described him — “a typical lying socialist idiot” — I have taken over. I have no use for Obama-loving Commies.
Call me the Clever Capitalist. A proud member of the “1 percent,” I have considerable power and one goal: the preservation of capitalism in the United States. How to accomplish that goal is the topic of this column.
The greatest threat to the current brand of U.S. capitalism is democracy. My power, though significant, is insufficient to end democracy. So my task is to preserve capitalism within a democratic republic.
Ultimate power resides in the people, and that power includes the ability to trade one economic system for another. I can buy time by using my money to influence elected officials, but finally the people will have their way.
And the people are not enjoying many tangible benefits from Capitalism 2012.
Along with other members of the top 1 percent, I hold 43 percent of the nation’s financial wealth. The next 19 percent hold 50 percent. The bottom 80 percent — that’s a lot of potential voters — hold 7 percent of America’s financial wealth.
And the masses are beginning to realize their plight is getting even worse.
Since 1979, the average pre-tax income for the bottom 90 percent of households has decreased by $900, while that of the average household in the top 1 percent increased by more than $700,000. From 2009 to 2010, the top 1 percent collected $93 of every $100 in income growth.
Being clever, I recognize that Capitalism 2012 is not sustainable. People will vote against their economic interests for a while, but I can’t expect them to do so indefinitely.
And this is scary. When they rally against Capitalism 2012, they might not understand that there are versions of U.S. capitalism that benefit a majority of the people. They might pull a France and reject not just Capitalism 2012, but less extreme versions of capitalism that have, in the past, served the nation well.
Capitalism is at risk, but I have a plan. I’ll give the people a little more income mobility and a little more wealth equality, just enough so they do not unite against the economic system that I hold dear.
I’ll start with taxes. The deficit is getting troublesome, even to me, and my argument that the best solution is for the people to cut my taxes is wearing thin.
So for the highest income earners like me, I’ll nudge the income-tax rate up from 35 to 39.6 percent. I’m no fan of taxes, but this seems an acceptable compromise.
After all, I did quite well with this rate from 1993 until former President George W. Bush reduced it in 2002. And I fared well in the 1980s, when the top rate was 50 percent. Even the 70-percent rate I endured in the 1960s and ’70s was bearable. I’d prefer not to return to the 1940s and 1950s — when the top income-tax rates were above 90 percent — even though my pain did not seem to hurt the economy.
Some of my extra taxes should be used to help people attend college. Consistently dropping wages is no way for me to get popular support for capitalism — especially when 46 million Americans already live in poverty — and some sort of post-secondary education is the only option the masses have to increase their wages. After all, 30 million of those folks are potential voters.
Access to health care is another issue that’s creating problems with the masses. Fifty million people have no insurance. When they get sick or their relatives die, they tend to get annoyed at the economic system. I’m not keen on a single-payer system — that sounds like socialism — but maybe a system in which private insurers engage in capitalist competition for consumer dollars would work. If I could craft a system that not only placated the masses but helped reduce the federal deficit, all the better. A side benefit would be the increased productivity I’ll get from my healthier laborers.
None of these changes are dramatic. Indeed, they might not be enough to calm the masses. So I need a good salesman.
Even while he promotes these relatively minor changes, this political leader needs to convince the masses he is on their side. His rhetoric must be compelling.
This creates a risk, of course. It could be that those like me, whose primary goal is to protect capitalism, will be confused by his rhetoric. They’ll hear his grandiose words and lose track of the fact that the changes he proposes are minor. My fellow capitalists may oppose him, even though he is the best way to preserve capitalism. Surely, though, they’ll be wiser than that.
His rhetoric is important, because the masses need to feel they have won something significant if he manages to increase the taxes on the highest income brackets to rates that are still historically low. He also needs to be able to communicate the universal advantages that capitalism offers over a socialist system in which supply is calculated not by a market, but by a committee.
He needs to convince them that a slightly modified version of Capitalism 2012 gives them a renewed shot at the American Dream. Preferably, so they can relate to him, he needs to have experienced poverty. Ideally he should be black, as blacks are three times as likely as whites to live in poverty.
Where can I find such a leader?

Contact Eric Fleischauer at or


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Filed under Class warfare, Democracy, Health care, obama, Obamacare, Socialism, wages

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