The Survival Of Our Democracy
“A Thriving Middle Class”
Democracies do not last long without a strong middle class. I believe unless we make significant changes today, the income inequality in our country will continue to grow and call into question the very nature of our social contract. It’s a fundamental idea behind America, that if you work hard, you can get ahead — “and you certainly don’t live in poverty”. But that is increasingly becoming a myth today. Many scholars smarter than I have looked at how democracies slide into authoritarian rule, and with growing class resentment, the emergence of nativist, populist leaders of the Republican Party this is a recurring theme. (The concern that I share with many about Donald Trump’s dangerous lack of respect for the rule of law has brought this picture clearly into countries landscape.)
Economically speaking realistically, the biggest driver of growth in our economy is consumer spending. If we want to grow our economy, that trickle down theory being portrayed today by those so called leaders is false misleading economic viewpoints of Ayn Rand’s followers. We have to put more money in the hands of working people. If you put a $100 in the pockets of the poor or middle class, they’ll naturally spend the vast majority of it on products and services they need, spurring economic and business growth. That same $100 put in the hands of the wealthy will mostly go into the bank for savings or profit sharing through corporate stock. The Roosevelt Institute has looked at the effects of this practically speaking: a guaranteed income of $500 a month to all Americans could add as much as 7 points to our GDP growth over the next eight years.
Again, with emphasize – History has proven that the “trickle-down” economic worldview may be good for America’s corporations, but it is not good for Americans. Just because economists tell us the economy is healthy again does not mean the American dream is strong.
I spend a lot of time discussing this exact topic on our Podcast each Saturday, for those of you wishing to get the real story please watch or listen to the TedEd TV Channel 9am.