I was recently asked, “What can China learn from the US political model? American government is looking more and more like ‘of the 1% by the 1% and for the 1%’!”
My answer follows: If China learns anything from what is happening in the U.S., it’s to keep a balance between socialism and capitalism and not let socialism dominate capitalism and capitalism dominate socialism.
Capitalism benefits the 1% – everyone cannot be a winner even though many of the wealthy think everyone can make it like they did and they look down on and discriminate against everyone who doesn’t make it. After all, everyone has the right to work harder to make it, right, even on poverty wages with no benefits?
Socialist programs benefits the other 99% where many can end up suffering horribly without a safety net.
I’m not talking about pure socialism where the state—representing the people—own everything: the land and everything built on and under it, the means of production and the retail sector that sells what’s produced. I’m talking about social safety-net programs like affordable and/or free universal health care for every citizen no matter how much they earn, a livable wage, Social Security for when people are old and retire, unemployment insurance for people who have lost their jobs, labor unions that represent the workers, and disability insurance for workers injured on the job and even from accidents outside of work, who can no longer work because of the injury.
The capitalists, the 1%, will moan and groan because of these social programs that protect 99% of the people—the workers that helped make the 1% wealthy and powerful. The 1% will moan and groan because enough is never enough and the social programs that protect the 99% cut into the profits and the growth of their wealth and power. Angry, the 1% will bribe as many leaders in the country as possible to get rid of the socialist programs that protect the 99%. The corruption and lies will be rampant, because money buys power and power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Wealth and power is similar to cancer and to contain that disease and protect the 99%, the government must walk a fine line to keep the balance. The 99% must be stopped from destroying the 1% and the 1% must be stopped from causing the 99% from suffering due to the greed of the 1%.
The 99% can cause tyranny and suffering too because the mob is dangerous and powerful when united against tyranny, and the 1% can quickly become the tyranny behind the suffering caused to the 99%. That is what is happening in the United States today. The 1% is systematically attacking every public sector socialist program that protects the quality of life for the 99%.
The U.S. Declaration of Independence, that is not the law of the United States—the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights is the law that guides America—says it best:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils 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 them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”
A government’s struggle to keep that balance between capitalism and socialism never ends because the temptations to lean toward capitalism’s 1% are many, and it has been said through the ages that every person has a price and can be bought one way or the other. Government also must resist the cry of the mob, loud and organized factions of the 99%, that demand more from the social safety net. In the end, it is up to knowledgeable, honest voters to help keep that balance in place.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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We have the power to end the disastrous 1% syndrome quickly and fairly. The power is progressive taxes on ALL income earned, without deductions. I advocate a 95% tax rate on all income over $10 mill/year and progressive rates that adjust upward starting at $50,000 (no taxes below $50k). I also advocate a progressive estate tax that would redistribute wealth equitably. Taxes should be set to prevent anyone from becoming a billionaire on the backs of workers and government services and laws that allow people to get ahead, reasonably. This is why Bernie Sanders is my choice for president.
Agreed! No one individual really needs to have a billion dollars—that much wealth has proven time and time again that it offers too many temptations to become corrupt and cause suffering for others who becomes the victims of that power and corruption. Bill Gates, the Walton family and the Koch brothers are a few of the many examples that abound in the world today. There should also be a cap on how much wealth a family or individual can acquire and hold onto. I think $10 million is more than enough to buy a lavish lifestyle but not enough to buy unlimited corrupt power.