During the four years of the Obama recovery, poverty in the United States has soared to the highest levels since the beginning of the "War on Poverty," the one war that nobody discusses an exit strategy for.
The U.S. Census Bureau puts the number of Americans in poverty at levels not seen since the mid-1960s when President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the federal government's so-called War on Poverty. As President Barack Obama began his second term in January, nearly 50 million Americans -- one in six -- were living below the income line that defines poverty, according to the bureau. A family of four that earns less than $23,021 a year is listed as living in poverty. The bureau said 20 percent of the country's children are poor.
Poverty will persist endlessly until this nation addresses the issue of the exponential disassociation of production and consumption, which is the problem in the United States economy, and the reason that ordinary citizens must gain access to productive capital ownership to improve their economic well-being. In order to eradicate poverty we need to adjust the opportunity to produce, not the redistribution of income after it is produced, which has proven to be an unworkable and unsustainable solution.
Without reforming the system, the projection is that by the year 2020, more than 50 percent of the American people will not earn more than the minimum wage. Of course, this means bad news for ending the economy's depression and eradicating poverty. Until we address and reform the financial structure of the economy, depression will continue and worsen. The problem is that you can't have mass production without mass human consumption -- no production, no growth.
The rise of part-time employment and underemployment is on a projectory to get far worse with tens of millions of Americans facing unemployment and underemployment due to cheap global labor and tectonic shifts in the technologies of production that are destroying jobs and devaluing jobs in terms of wage and salary levels, forcing American to subsist at poverty or near-poverty levels.
Soon, industrial monopoly capitalism will reach its twin goals: concentration of productive capital ownership among the elite ownership class and work performed with as few labor workers and the lowest possible wages and salaries. The question to be answered is "Then what?"
Of course, to reach this twin goal will require "investment." The term "invest" sounds good on paper or in speeches, especially when justified on the basis that investment will create JOBS. But the reality is that no one is addressing the CONCENTRATED OWNERSHIP of the income-producing assets that result from investments under the current financial system. Such assets created by investment are the result of tectonic shifts in the technologies of production, which is the real reason, as well as outsourcing, that jobs are being destroyed and devalued in terms of wage and salary levels. Until President Obama and the United States Congress address this big issue, unemployment and welfare roles will dramatically expand. It is only through future investment with the stipulation of simultaneously broadening private, individual ownership of income-producing productive capital -- the non-human means of production embodied in human-intelligent machines, super-automation, robotics, digital computerized operations, etc. -- that we will be able to enrich every American's life, and finally end poverty in America.
As a nation, we continue to ignore the possibility of democratizing future ownership of labor-displacing productive capital technologies and rising ownership incomes as a market-generated means of eliminating wage slavery, welfare slavery, debt slavery and charity slavery for the 99 percent of humanity. Binary economist Louis Kelso argued that the Keynesian model fails to recognize that "when capital workers replace labor workers as the major suppliers of goods and services, labor employment alone becomes inadequate because labor's share of the income arising from production cannot provide the progressively better standard of living that technology is making possible. Labor produces subsistence at best. Capital can produce affluence. To enjoy affluence, all households must engage to an increasing extent in capital work"
For decades employment opportunity in the United States was such that the majority of people could obtain a job that could support their livelihood, though in most cases related to a family, it required the father and mother to both work, if they aspired to live a "middle class" lifestyle. With "Free Trade" those opportunities began to disintegrate as corporations sought to seek lower cost production taking advantage of global cheap labor rates and non-regulation, as well as lower tax rates abroad. This resulted in a chain reaction forcing more and more companies to out-source in order to stay competitive (thus the rise of China, Indiana Mexico and other third-world nations economies).
At the same time tectonic shifts in the technologies of production were exponentially occurring (and continue to do so), which resulted in less job opportunities as production was shifted from people making things to "machines" of technology making things. The combination of cheap global labor costs and lower long-term invested "machine" costs has forced the value of labor downward and this will continue to be the reality. Our only way to far greater prosperity, opportunity, and economic justice is to embrace technological innovation and invention and the resulting human-intelligent machines, superautomation, robotics, digital computerized operations, etc as the primary economic engine of growth.
But significantly, unless we reform our system to empower every American to acquire, via insured capital loans, viable full-ownership holdings (and thus entitlement to full-dividend earnings) in the companies growing the economy with the future earnings of the investments paying for the initial loan debt to acquire ownership, then the concentration of ownership of all future productive capital will continue to be amassed by a wealthy minority. Companies will continue to globalized in search of "customers" with money or simply fail as exponentially there will be fewer and fewer customers to support their businesses worldwide. Why, because the majority will be disconnected from the income derived from the non-human means of production that is replacing the need for labor workers.
Education is not the solution, though it is critical for our future societal development. But except for a relative few, the majority of the population, no matter how well educated, will not be able to find a job that pays sufficient wages or salaries to support a family or to prevent a lifestyle which is gradually being crippled by near poverty or poverty earnings.
Already, GDP growth is at a near standstill. Lowering taxes on the wealthy ownership class will not impact this reality much because they will not invest unless their are "customers with money" to create demand. This will continue to be the reality unless we reform the system to connect the majority of people to the property rights of the non-human production of products and services while simultaneously spurring economic growth, and entitle them to the full earnings of capital (dividends, interest and rent) as a second income source to supplement their earnings from their labor in the short-term, with the long-term lifetime goal of earnings from capital ownership being the primary source of their income. This is the only way to strengthen individuals and empower them to become personally responsible for their lives and not be dependent on taxpayer redistribution and national debt to sustain welfare support, open or concealed.
Sadly, our leaders are not prepared and are not preparing the American people for the coming economic collapse and the next Great Depression, due to their lack of wisdom and foresight to understand that full employment is not an objective of businesses. Companies strive to keep labor input and other costs at a minimum. Private sector job creation in numbers that match the pool of people willing and able to work is constantly being eroded by physical productive capital's ever-increasing role -- the use of "machines," super-automation, robotics, digital computerized operations, etc. to produce products and services.
Without a policy shift to broaden productive capital ownership simultaneously with economic growth, further development of technology and globalization will undermine the American middle class and make it impossible for more than a minority of citizens to achieve middle-class status.
A National Right To Capital Ownership Bill that restores the American dream should be advocated by the progressive movement, which addresses the reality of Americans facing job opportunity deterioration and devaluation due to tectonic shifts in the technologies of production.
There is a solution, which will result in double-digit economic growth and simultaneously broaden private, individual ownership so that every American's income significantly grows, providing the means to support themselves and their families with an affluent lifestyle. The Just Third Way Master Plan for America's future is published at http://foreconomicjustice.org/?p=5797.
The solution is obvious but our leaders, academia, conventional economist and the media are oblivious to the necessity to broaden ownership in the new capital formation of the future simultaneously with the growth of the economy, which then becomes self-propelled as increasingly more Americans accumulate ownership shares and earn a new source of dividend income derived from their capital ownership in the "machines" that are replacing them or devaluing their labor worth.
Support the Capital Homestead Act at http://www.cesj.org/homestead/index.htm and http://www.cesj.org/homestead/summary-cha.htm