Common Ground and Declarations

In our highly partisan political climate are there areas where coalitions could still be made across the conventional left-right divide?

Here are a few that come to mind.

  • import replacement: Jane Jacobs describes the benefits of import replacement to the resilience of cities and economic regions. This can be defended against liberals who seek greater globalization. There are ways to increase globalization and the influence of liberal culture while also maintaining supply chains that do not snap at the influence of exogenous shocks. “Buy local” is a mantra of the sustainable cities and just transitions movements and for good scientific reasons. The global supply chain of our food, for example, contributes heavily to our carbon footprint.
  • an educated and expanding workforce: From a quick look at what things correlate with economic growth we can see that as education quality and attainment go up so does economic growth. We can also see that as population grows, so does economic growth. There are more people to provide wage labor and more people to buy more stuff. It should be possible to draw a path from these considerations to policies that support free college, free early childhood education, free continuing education. We should pathways to increase the number of immigrants that are welcomed and provided seed opportunities. An environment of greater economic equality will make these political discussions more possible.
  • competitive enterprise: Those on the left can begin to talk more about the original promise of the American Dream, where if you worked hard and did the right thing you could live a life without want or insecurity, and provide expanding opportunities for your children, no matter what socioeconomic background you come from. That dream has been fading these past few decades and this case should be easy to make to those who are suffering from its sunset no matter what the audience’s political persuasion.
  • transforming the carceral state: One of the areas of recent progress has been the reforms made in the First Step Act. Build on the progress that has been made there and find additional pathways to transition to reconciliation and treatment over incarceration. Refer to the notion of the educated and expanding workforce above. An economy after prison abolition will be far more productive. Many of the same arguments can be made in the context of a healthy economy where children have two-parent households and emotional stability—an environment that is shattered for more kids every day by incarceration.
  • civil liberties: There has been crossover by way of the libertarian strain of conservatism for some time. Continue to nurture this tendency to support personal freedoms while demonstrating the limits of my freedoms when they impinge on the freedoms of others, or upon the rights promised in the Declaration of Independence—to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—that is yet denied to so many Americans to this day.

In fact, it would be interesting to make a few changes to the Declaration of Independence (Declaration of Interdependence?) to renew our modern commitment to these timeless principles of liberty and justice. The words in italics are kept from the original document.

In Quarantine, May 17, 2020.

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for people to reform the economic systems which have connected them with another, and to listen to the powers of the earth, the Laws of Nature, and those of Nature’s God, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to revalue their concept of value and transform the means by which wealth is generated in society and wielded to benefit the People and to protect the Environment.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Right, that indivisible from the rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness are the right to physiological freedom through Affordable Housing and Public Healthcare, the right of equal access to freedom of opportunity through quality Public Education and Free College, and a pathway in life, supported by a Free Public Commons, toward self-actualization and the realization of psychological and ecological harmony.

That to secure these Rights, Governments implement and administer Socioeconomic Systems that are instituted among people, deriving their just powers from the wellbeing of those who participate in the marketplace in the economic exchange of their socially necessary labor time for security, comfort, and the protection of their unalienable Rights;

That whenever any Socioeconomic System becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Socioeconomic System, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect the Safety and Happiness of all of the people;

That money and wealth leverages power within society, and that power therefore must be shared equitably, without prejudice or segregation, in any functioning democracy.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Socioeconomic Systems long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that people are more disposed to suffer, while inequalities are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce the people under absolute Despotism of a winner-take-all income distribution, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such a Socioeconomic System, and to provide new Mechanisms for the creation and wielding of Social Wealth.

Such has been the patient sufferance of the American People under neoliberalism; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Economy. The history of Neoliberalism is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny of the top 1% over the Poor and the Middle Class. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Over the past five decades, the top 1 percent of American earners have nearly doubled their share of national income, while the rest of America has seen stagnant income; [ref.]

The top 1 percent earns 85 times as much as the bottom 20 percent; [ref.]

Three Americans own as much wealth as the bottom 50% of the entire population; [ref.]

Wall Street banks doled out $27.5 billion in bonuses to their 181,300 New York-based employees in 2018. That amounts to more than two and a half times the combined earnings of all 640,000 Americans who work full-time at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, according to an Institute for Policy Studies analysis; [ref.]

Since 1979, the before-tax incomes of the top 1 percent of America’s households have increased more nearly seven times faster than bottom 20 percent incomes, according to CBO analysis; [ref.]

Just 0.3 percent of the wealth of the nation is owned by the bottom 40 percent of Americans, while 84 percent of the wealth is in the hands of the top 20 percent;

Millions of Americans are just one missed paycheck away from going into poverty, and 40% of Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency;

41 percent of American children are low-income and 19 percent of American children live below the poverty line;

The richest 10 percent of households have 70 percent of the wealth;

The top 1% have increased their share of the wealth from 23% in 1989 to nearly 32% in 2018;

America’s top 1 percent holds more than half the national wealth invested in stocks and mutual funds; [ref.]

The bottom 90 percent control less than one fourth of the wealth. The top 0.1 percent controls 21.5 percent. The amount controlled by the top 0.1 percent (the top one-tenth of one percent) is the largest it has been in over a century; [ref.]

The median Black family, with just over $3,500, owns just 2 percent of the wealth of the nearly $147,000 the median White family owns, according to the “Racial Wealth Divide” report; [ref.]

The median Latino family, with just over $6,500, owns just 4 percent of the wealth of the median White family; [ref.]

The pursuit of endless economic growth defined by consumption, exploitation of wage labor, the extraction of unsustainable and non-renewable natural resources, and the externalization of pollution of greenhouse gases, plastics, radioactive and toxic chemicals, has led to the collapse of entire ecosystems, the loss of millions of the worlds species in a sixth mass extinction event, and the warming of the average global temperature, which threatens massive coastal inundation, droughts, floods, mass migrations, ocean death, and threatens the survival of human civilization as we know it.

We, therefore, the People of the United States of America, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of all that is good, solemnly publish and declare, That we demand an Socioeconomic System that is Equitable and Sustainable.