Unbounded Greed,Trump $100B Tax Giveaway–Time for a “Next System”

While Trump is a radical expression of a’democratic’ capitalism system, it is also just a logical extension of a trend toward autocracy since 1980. We can tinker around the edges or invent something new. Consider this.

Odds & Ends. At the end of this post is reference to a newly announced planned to conduct strategic visioning exercise.  We commend that intent, but hope that through that process, Santa Fe commits strongly to the pursuit of equity as a defining priority in all operations. If you agree that the pursuit of equity should be incorporated as a central city priority, please write to the Mayor at: (505) 955-6590. mayor@santafenm.gov

Texas: Home of a Huge Progressive Win New polls in Texas show Beto O’Rourke in a virtual tie with Ted Cruz in their race for US Senate. Needless to say, a win by O’Rourke would be a resounding defeat for the GOP and for President Trump. It could even be enough to push the Democrats over the edge and achieve a 50-50 Senate split or even to take back the Senate. An almost equally important result would be an irrefutable affirmation of an assertion made by progressive nationwide that an unapologetically progressive message can resonate and win, even in the deepest Red states. If you want to find out more about O’Rourke’s campaign and perhaps contribute or even phone bank on his behalf, click here. This guy is the real deal. We head to Texas in 15 minutes!!!

New Mexico Ethics Watch Presents: Aug 9, 6pm CCA (both screens), a special screening of Dark Money.  Dark Money is a documentary/thriller about the influence of corporate money on elections.

NMEW BENEFIT RECEPTION: Reception follows the film at 7:45 p.m., in CCA’s Muñoz-Waxman Gallery, with refreshments and a Q & A with Ann Ravel (who appears in the film).Ann Ravel is a former Federal Election Commission Chairwoman and current UC Berkeley law professor.

Also present will be distinguished guests and members of the press, who work every day to shine a light on dark money in New Mexico.TICKETS: $50* (Covers film and reception, including talk and Q&A with Ann Ravel and other special guests.) Please purchase directly from CCA’s website.  Click here to purchase tickets.

“”Dark Money,’ with its focus on the personal stories of how individuals are impacted by the flood of campaign money in the system, is an example of how ‘storytelling matters when you are trying to raise awareness of the issues,’ Chuck Todd (Meet The Press) said.”

—Ted Johnson, Variety

Trump Unhinged

Tariffs destroying the American Farm Belt, orders to Sessions to stop the Mueller investigation and now a bypass of the legislative process to grant a $100B tax cut to the 1%.  There appears to be no end to Trump’s greed. The NY Times Reports that “The Trump administration is considering bypassing Congress to grant a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, a legally tenuous maneuver that would cut capital gains taxation and fulfill a long-held ambition of many investors and conservatives.”

Apparently, Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, has been studying whether it could use its regulatory powers to allow Americans to change how they calculate capital gains and in doing so, essentially escape half of the taxes they now pay.  And while the thinking goes that they could do this without even consulting Congress, after the Tax giveaway just approved by Congress, who is to say any bypass is even needed.

Revising how capital gains are taxed has been a long held dream of fiscal conservatives and the oligarchy. After all why shouldn’t we reduce the tax rate of people ‘earning’ their income passively, often just allowing inherited wealth to increase in value, largely due to the work of low-wage employees who would now pay a higher rate of taxes for truly earned income than the oligarchs would? Haven’t they ‘earned’ another giveaway, a giveaway that will dig the US further in debt, create no new jobs, and just add to the wealth of an already obscenely wealthy 1%.

If this doesn’t illustrate the need for an entirely different system, I don’t know what does. Read on.

Enough Is Enough: Time for An Entirely New System

As Roxanne and I have traveled across the country in Philadelphia, Buffalo, Rochester, Detroit, Madison and now Jackson, urban thinkers and activists have begun tinkering with an entirely new system, a new approach, a departure from how policy is made and business is done, particularly in relation to worker justice, housing and neighborhood development.

Roxanne and I plan to devote a good deal of time to synthesizing how these cities have made this shift, but one thing in common has been that each has drawn from the Democracy Collaborative, which has developed its approach from the Basque Mondragon Movement8,  the US Sustainable Economy, and Fearless Cities. Each of these resources describe cities that have made political and cultural shifts that can be summarized in one phrase: equity trumps everything. Public policy, resource allocation and use of public land is in service of working people and of the planet. The operationalization of this principle is far more robust in Europe but the seeds are being sown in the US cities above.

The Democracy Collaborative has decided to establish a communication, conversation and collaboration framework for exploring how to develop what they call The Next System.  This framework will be used to facilitate the exchange of information among practitioners, researchers, activists and thinkers with the idea of advancing the development of a new political and economic system. Indeed, the overarching purpose of The Next System is to begin to make credible the very idea of having a new system, of turning our backs on ‘democracy’ as we know it and capitalism as we experience it.

I know that some of our readers have long ago felt that a complete revamping of our system is absolutely required to ever achieve anything like justice and equity. For others, who are somewhat more moderate in perspective, the idea of an entirely new system may seem either unrealistic, too extreme, or both. But wherever you stand, considering alternatives seems beyond overdue. We are simply not getting close to a just society and local gains are often usurped by national/corporatist power structures.

So, below is a summary from The Next System followed by links to sites that have descriptions of fully developed manifestations of the principles below. These reports demonstrate that the elements of a new system are possible and do lead to a more equitable community. The Basque country, where the most robust development of worker cooperatives and community land trusts are in place, has the lowest income inequality in the world. And there is a reason: they are intentional in their policy development and it is universally focused on one thing: Equity. As someone tired of the focus on profit, I am ready to do some serious exploration.

The Next System Project is an ambitious multi-year initiative aimed at thinking boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic challenges the United States faces now and in coming decades. Responding to real hunger for a new way forward, and building on innovative thinking and practical experience with new economic institutions and approaches being developed in communities around the world, the goal is to put the central idea of system change, and that there can be a “next system,” on the map.

Working with a broad group of researchers, theorists and activists, we seek to launch a national debate on the nature of “the next system” using the best research, understanding and strategic thinking, on the one hand, and on-the-ground organizing and development experience, on the other, to refine and publicize comprehensive alternative political-economic system models that are different in fundamental ways from the failed systems of the past and capable of delivering superior social, economic and ecological outcomes.

By defining issues systemically, we believe we can begin to move the political conversation beyond current limits with the aim of catalyzing a substantive debate about the need for a radically different system and how we might go about its construction. Despite the scale of the difficulties, a cautious and paradoxical optimism is warranted. There are real alternatives. Arising from the unforgiving logic of dead ends, the steadily building array of promising new proposals and alternative institutions and experiments, together with an explosion of ideas and new activism, offer a powerful basis for hope.”

Santa Fe, An Opportunity to Make Equity a Defining Priority. I read this morning that Mayor Webber has announced a city ‘strrategic review process,’ to ensure that strategies are aligned and that the city had “a vision and a set of agreed=-upon priorities.” In our travels, we found that the cities with the most robust and effective development of research-based initiatives addressing economic and racial justice were those that made equity a major or even the sole priority for identifying strategies and prioritizing use of resources.  This is an opportunity for the City to step back and take steps to ensure that the direction of this administration bends toward justice. If you agree that the pursuit of equity should be incorporated as a central city priority, please write to the Mayor at: (505) 955-6590. mayor@santafenm.gov

In future posts we will summarize examples of ‘next system’ models successfully implemented throughout the world. We firmly believe that we need to vastly expand our view of what is possible if we are ever to escape the system that quite frankly enslaves our communities, our political parties, our media, and our imagination. Click the links below if you want to get a head start.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Economic Justice, Community & Economic Development, Local-State Government & Legislation

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1 reply

  1. I completely agree and have been saying this for years. Context is decisive. Until human mutuality becomes the context of the economic system, all the negative effects of our economic system as ours with continue. ……Period.

    The gap between today and this possibility is massive and I talk to many aware people all over the world who experience the gap hopelessly.

    A political party led my people who stand for Human Mutuality and Quality of Life for all as the context of economic system seems an effective north star.

    The gap is demoralizing and and has me make my own game smaller and smaller.

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