It is time to make a u-turn from the failure of “trickle-down” economics

A Salvation Army relief worker tends to a line at a local soup kitchen during the Great Depression. (AP Photo)

The United States is at the end of the game — our capitalism-based economy which has been rigged in favor of the wealthy and powerful for most of the past 40 years, is now at an end stage. If you have ever played the game of “Monopoly,” you know that the game ends when one person is in control of most of the real estate and assets on the game board, and no one else can afford to land on that individual’s properties.

Look at every category of consumer goods and services — they are dominated by a small number of conglomerate companies, whether it be raw material procurement, manufacturing, transportation, distribution, sales, management, etc. We have reached the point where the average working person can no longer afford anything required in today’s society — housing, food, transportation, education, health care, and so on — and the end result will likely be similar to what happened in 2008-2009, or 1929-1939, or even worse.

The continued disappearance of the middle class for which these conglomerates depend on to purchase their goods and services will eventually end in disaster for everyone involved unless action is taken by our government and corporate leaders in partnership, and modifications made to our economic system so that gains are shared more equally among the participants.

Symptoms such as CEOs earning hundreds of times more than their companies’ median wages, increasing number of low-wage workers relying more and more on government programs such as food stamps, subsidized health care, and others just to get by, or the continued degradation of the U.S.’s position in health care statistics (cost per person, life expectancy, obesity rates, disease, etc.) are just that symptoms — and the cure is to return to an economic system similar to what was used following World War II up to the 1980s — a system where the so-called “American Dream” was alive and well and all boats were lifted by the rising tide, not just those lucky few at the top.

This means that the wealthy pay more in taxes, and that working individuals are paid enough to survive — and thrive — in a system that isn’t stacked against them economically and politically. It will require compromise on everyone’s part, and to stop participating in partisan politics that are intended to further divide Americans. It is time to acknowledge the failure of “trickle-down” economics and return to a more equal system — or to devise a new system that will reward work and accomplishment for everyone and not just those at the top.

Daniel Herbert-Voss, White City

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