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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The 12 Days of a Capitalist Christmas



By Paul Bucheit

On the first day of Christmas my employer gave to me a penny for every $3 the richest 130,000 Americans make. It’s been a national tradition since 1980.

GreedOn the second day my doctor showed me TWO Americans needing mental health care, but only one of the two could afford treatment. The doctor informed me that the fifty states have cut $1.8 billion from their mental health budgets during the recession, and that the 2013 Republican budget proposes further cuts. “It’s crazy,” I protested. “Some states are allowing guns in schools and daycare centers and churches and bars and hospitals, but they’re cutting mental health care?” The doctor just nodded in frustration.

On the third day The Economist told me that it costs just THREE cents in administrative expenses for every $100 raised through a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) in the United Kingdom, versus $1.42 for the personal income tax and $1.25 for the corporate income tax. With up to THREE quadrillion dollars in total U.S. financial transactions, we could replace federal income taxes with a tiny FTT.

On the fourth day a food pantry gave me FOUR dollars worth of food. That’s about what food stamp recipients get each day through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). To pay for rent and utilities, a family of three gets $400 per month from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which comes to about FOUR dollars a day per person.

On the fifth day a financial advisor introduced me to his FIVE richest investors, who were the only ones out of 100 Americans to increase their wealth over the past 25 years, by the impressive rate of almost 20%. It’s like that throughout the entire country, the advisor said: only 5% took almost all the gains.

Five golden rings, indeed.


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