This weekend’s video collection of political, economic, and societal issues – both problems and their solutions – is mixed with significantly more written commentary than usual, basically merged with an article. The writing is added to tie the clips together and also enhance the understanding they bring. This particular compilation is also dominated by a heavy focus on one big major theme that is growing in popularity and public discourse: the concept of a Universal Basic Income. Here are many of the pros and cons and how a UBI fits into the big picture. Other topics: an ethical society, news on the corporate media, healthcare, Tulsi Gabbard, liberty, whistleblowers (Manning & Assange), top-run dividedness of the people, Venezuela’s economic reality, and a political comedy session.
- UBI: Introduction
- UBI: Active & Passive Incomes, Taxed or Not
- UBI: Just Printing Money for a UBI is not the Correct Way
- UBI: Social Context and Effects of a UBI
- UBI: A panel discussion with further insights
- UBI: Here is another pretty good discussion
- UBI: The UBI-Scam-Worry on the Left
- UBI: Well Made Point Concerning the Ethics in Our Society
- Lee Camp Exposes Our Ayn-Rand-Style Corporate Media
- Healthcare: An American Tourist’s Healthcare Experience in Europe
- Tulsi Opposes Torture and Regime Change Wars
- Where is our Freedom Party?
- Talk: Chelsea Manning, Grand Juries, College, Mega Corporate Non-Free Market
- Our History: The Divided Poor Utilized by the Rich
- World, Corrupticians, & Media: Backstabbing Assange
- World: Venezuela’s Economic Crisis Explained
- Comedy: Jimmy, Graham, Ron, Stef…
Our government is like an umpire in a sports game, supposed to keep criminals and bullies in check. Unfortunately it has been thoroughly bought by the rich cheaters in our rigged economy, working for them instead of its people. The way to deal with this is to get money out of politics. But how to do it and what to do with the big money once we get it out? There are two major ways. One is to punish corruption. The other is to eliminate the big money stash.
The first method would work by forcing our political representatives through ballot initiatives to no longer accept bribes. Such new laws are obviously difficult to get past the current puppet politicians, even with ballot initiatives as recent ballot initiative reversals by corrupt state governments have shown. The best law option, btw, would be a Conflict of Interests law proposed by Ray Metcalfe, shared two video weekends ago, a law proposal that should be pushed by Represent.us by incorporating it in its current Anti-Corruption law template whose Achilles’ heel may be the difficulty to prove bribery.
The second method, which I have been proposing for a while, is to pull the rug out from under the feet of this widespread top level corruption by removing the bribery funds from the system, namely by taxing exorbitant hoarded wealth and income away from the rich with a cap tax on both wealth and income when they exceed a reasonable size. By doing this we would remove the miles-high billionaires spire from the top of our wealth pyramid. We could then stick those wealth assets into our Social Security funds to fund Medicare for all and expand Social Security as an American form of a UBI, better called Citizen’s Dividend than universal basic income, in order to drive home the point that our country (including its natural resources and economy) rightfully belongs to all of us rather than a small bunch of over-privileged globalist billionaire oligarchs forming a wealth-based aristocracy that has killed our founder’s attempt at a democracy. Naturally, this will also meet a lot of resistance from the top, but when we explicitly couple this wealth cap with the poverty cap that a UBI would be (turning the spire into stilts, so to speak, so nobody gets flooded by economic downturns again and reshaping our sick wealth tower into a broad building for all), we may be better able to overcome the resistance of the oligarchy since even many billionaires by now look favorably upon a UBI, and in today’s compilation of video clips there is even one of them favoring to tax the rich (like him) to realize it. Furthermore, with the UBI growing in popularity on both the political right and left, we may be able to unite around it. Once united, we can overcome the oligarchy. Naturally, we need to get smart enough that the UBI not be turned into a placating or society-dividing scam. Coupling it with a reshaping of our wealth pyramid and stratospheric billionaires’ spire into a broad building for the entire people, coupling the UBI with taxing the rich strikes me as essential.
Once we succeed with this coupled measure, our government will finally ensure a Good Life for All as was intended by our founders and is the only acceptable legitimation for a government to exist. It is the government we deserve. The one to make real.
I. UBI: Introduction
This explanatory video gives an introduction to the UBI concept:
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “What Countries Have Tried Universal Basic Income? | NowThis World”)
This explanatory video which I shared before (though not in a video weekend post) can serve as a wider introduction to the UBI concept and its controversy:
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Universal basic income: money for nothing”)
To prepare for the money issues connected to a UBI, let’s first take a look at where money flows from to different people:
II. UBI: Active & Passive Incomes, Taxed or Not
If you are not drooling over the prospect of getting rich at the expense of others, you may notice when watching this video that our inequality system divides us into those who work hard for very little and those who get a lot for nothing — a lot which obviously comes from those of us who work hard for so little since wealth doesn’t simply fall from the sky. It has to come from somewhere. Now, when you think about this, you may come to understand why I am supportive of a universal basic income (a Citizen Dividend, or Citizen’s Dividend as it is more often called by others) financed by taxing the rich. It is an attempt to no longer reserve passive untaxed income for the wealthy, as it currently is, but to spread it out among us all since we and our ancestors have all contributed in creating it and therefore deserve our fair share (and also because excessive hoarded wealth leads to corruption like Big Money in politics):
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “7 Types of Income Millionaires Have [How the Rich Make Money]”)
In other words, for more justice and less suffering, we should all be defined as shareholders of our economy and receive a fair dividend instead of allowing dividends to remain reserved for a privileged few who then use a portion of this passive (not earned but received) and often not even taxed income to bribe the politicians in rigging the system further and further as time goes by.
III. UBI: Just Printing Money for a UBI is not the Correct Way
Douglas Rushkoff thinks more along my line, namely that what we need is a shared assets economy (which would then generate dividends for all that we can call a UBI or better a Citizen’s Dividend):
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “The colossal problem with universal basic income | Douglas Rushkoff”)
Note: He also points out that some of our job destruction derives from environmentally destructive production, so if we returned to a greener economy, we would also create more jobs.
IV. UBI: Social Context and Effects of a UBI
Like I keep saying, a UBI is no single silver bullet flying in isolation. It must be considered in the larger context, constructed properly, and linked with other important changes:
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Universal Basic Income Explained – Free Money for Everybody? UBI”)
One of numerous good points made in the following interview and Q&A session is that the causes for our obscene inequality must be removed (and the fastest non-violent way I see is taxing the rich, but not just by raising current top tax rates but by cap-taxing excessive wealth and income away). The following clip is quite fascinating, because a 1%-er and an interviewer and audience from the ‘elite’ are talking remarkably intelligently and with an unusual degree of understanding of the deprived majority of the people. It’s really worth holding one’s nose when presented with the smell of privilege at the start of this clip and discover a rising level of understanding among at least some of the privileged. That 1%-er is quite amazing to hear, not just one of those billionaires hoping to placate the masses, but a man who digs into our sick inequality and wants to end it. Of course, I wonder, how much does he do besides writing and talking about it? Unlike a poor guy like me, he could actually act. I wish I could have a meeting with him about that.
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Should the Super-Rich Pay for a Universal Basic Income?”)
Further comments and notes:
- Another important point made is the instability nowadays. One reason I personally wish for a Citizen Dividend to help me out financially is that I did not get to live the stable life of my parents. I have had no job security, countless lay-offs and profession-destructions, lived precariously on the brink all my life. I suffer serios health issues because of that. And I have just spent several years giving up on earned income to care for a dying relative, an unpaid and harrowing form of work. And I know I am not the only one spending his entire life in such a mess. And throughout my life I have only seen things getting worse.
- Chris Hughes’s book: Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn
- The book he mentioned and recommended: Scarcity, written by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir
V. UBI: A panel discussion with further insights
… in actual realities vs false believes and calcified political hesitations:
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Why would you oppose Universal Basic Income?”)
The starting words of the next clip: “Paid work is becoming a less generous and reliable source of income for many people.” — Amen! It has been sh*t for me all my life! It has ruined my whole life making it a painful death march from the cradle to the grave running in terrible treadmills with millions of fellow workers to make a few people rich beyond all possible needs for wealth.
VI. UBI: Here is another pretty good discussion
… although the financing question – finally appropriately addressed – is answered too shortly for unprepared people to quite get it, I fear. On this panel, Guy Standing points out his three major concepts behind a UBI: justice, liberty, and financial security (in other words, life and the persuit of happiness when you think it through). Later (25:31 min in) he also finally goes a little into the crucial point of UBI financing: taxing it from the rich. Other financing schemes of course also are valid (like reducing our inflated military budget that does more harm than good); but taxing away our current wealth-and-greed-based corruption at the top of our society is crucial IMHO. The gentleman from India also adds an interesting bit of real world experience, namely the red herring of a federal job guarantee being a better alternative. India has been trying this for ages, and it has proven a failure and a cesspool of corruption. When well done, federal job programs can be beneficial to society, but they are a useful supplement, not a better alternative to a UBI:
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “A Basic Income for All: Dream or Delusion?”)
To answer the starting question: a UBI is not the ONLY answer to technological job displacement, but an important one in the package we need, and not merely an answer to job displacement but a whole lot of problems we have. And as for the idiotic concept spread by status quo supporters saying that a UBI would mean taxing higher earners on behalf of lower earners, let me repeat: No, a correctly financed UBI would NOT tax working income earners but privileged income takers (the rich swimming in money they don’t work for).
VII. UBI: The UBI-Scam-Worry on the Left
… and what else would have to be realized besides a UBI:
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Don’t Let Universal Basic Income Become a Scam”)
My quick suggestions of major measures in concert with a UBI: Medicare for All; free public education; cap-taxing away excessive personal wealth and income to end the rule of the rich via their Big Money in politics; democratize our workplaces (to again end the rule of the rich over us); protection from rent-gouging lest the UBI be gouged away; public banking, defining the UBI as a Citizen’s Dividend to strengthen our political engagement, our solidarity, and our sense of belonging, worth, and contribution, and our commitment to a fair, good civilization built on the egalitarian spirit of our founders. Of course there is more, but I wanted to keep it short.
VIII. UBI: Well Made Point Concerning the Ethics in Our Society
The sociopathic Ayn Rand mentality has been pushed down upon us from the ruling class for sme two generations, but I can also tell from my life experience that no matter how much we have swallowed it, the inner values of most Americans are far more kind and generous and open-minded. We need to revive that inner nature that as this guy, Jeffrey Sachs, speaking in this video clip apparently did and which once upon a time made our founders and their statements on life, liberty, happiness, the common welfare, and justice for all famous around the globe. People on Earth like the Scandinavians took up that torch. It is time we do it, too:
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Can Universal Basic Income / Social Democracy Fix America’s Inequality? | Jeffrey Sachs”)
And talking about the sociopaths running our lives…:
IX. Lee Camp Exposes Our Ayn-Rand-Style Corporate Media
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “NY Times Writer Celebrates Homelessness”)
X. Healthcare: An American Tourist’s Healthcare Experience in Europe
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “My Healthcare Experience in Europe as an American”)
Comparison: I remember once being charged over $600 for an emergency room visit with an x-ray in the States despite of having health insurance!!! This was on top of what the insurance paid, and my only doctor contact lasted some 5 minutes! I was charged by a doctors’ association, by the janitorial cleaning service, etc., all amounting to this huge sum. This partially explains why I call the racket our healthcare system is “The Wild West of Healthcare”.
XI. Tulsi Opposes Torture and Regime Change Wars
… and let’s nit forget she is a veteran, and a Bernie supporter, and needs to get on the debate stage to oust the warmongers and build a coalition with Bernie and other true representatives of the people (a task in which each of us has their role to play as well):
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Tulsi Gabbard SMASHES HER CRITICS In Corporate News”)
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Tulsi Takes On Monsanto & Religious Bigotry”)
XII. Where is our Freedom Party?
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: ‘Move Over Socialism: Democrats Need to Reclaim the Word “Freedom”’)
Note: I am currently aiming at downsizing my Video Weekend posts because I lose much time and energy in continued education courses I am forced to take to try and resurrect a former (totally non-journalistic) career and arrive at a proper income level. My blog simply has too few free subscribers and financial supporters to justify the large amount of hours I have kept spending on it. And I do need to earn a living and get some sleep, too. Still, do subscribe if you like my posts! You can always unsubscribe if you lose your interest in them. I am not stopping to blog just yet. And luckily there are other independent journalists out there for you, most of them struggling to make ends meet like me, of course. Meanwhile, the establishment journalists are beholden to the corporate money that pays them. So don’t trust them too much. Wish me luck. I wish it to you.
XIII. Talk: Chelsea Manning, Grand Juries, College, Mega Corporate Non-Free Market
Brigida Santos and Jimmy Dore discussed these issues:
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Chelsea Manning and the Grand Jury with Jimmy Dore”)
XIV. Our History: The Divided Poor Utilized by the Rich
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Keri Leigh Merritt: War in Dark Places”)
XV. World, Corrupticians, & Media: Backstabbing Assange
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Assange Being Expelled From Embassy Warns Wikileaks”)
XVI. World: Venezuela’s Economic Crisis Explained
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “The Origins of Venezuela’s Economic Crisis”)
A bit of comedy to end on a positive note (with neat info on Venezuelan reality, btw):
(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Guaidó ATTACKED By Poor Venezuelans In Barrio”)
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