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The two Koch Brothers (ever heard of them?) have $81 billion between them. Let’s suppose that they stopped earning money (fat chance of that!). And let’s further suppose that they spent $1 million per day. How long would it take them to run out of money? Answer: over 221 years.

How Much Is Too Much

In other words, they would have to struggle and strain to be poor.

Americans seem to think that this all fine. That it’s fine to have a society in which two men can buy and sell the political system. Where two men can have more money than 221,000 millionaires.

In other words, these two men can control whether well over half the society have enough to eat and a place to sleep.

Is this really the society we want – that we have struggled our entire lives to help and create? Or would we rather have the society that Franklin D. Roosevelt was suggesting nearly 75 years ago when he called for the Second Bill of Rights. The economic bill of rights that would make certain that all Americans had something worth having.

He said on January 11, 1944, in his State of the Union message:

We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

And let us ask where this 75-year-old dream has gone, and who still supports it.

During the 1950s and even the 1960s, most of the country imagined that we were still headed in the direction of the dream. But then on August 23, 1971, Lewis Powell (later to be a conservative Supreme Court Justice) wrote his “manifesto” for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and outlined the takeover of our democracy by the corporations. . Just consider that 1971 was after the last real legislation that advanced the Second Bill of Rights (the Johnson War on Poverty, including the establishment of Medicare). “Since the early 1970s, the hourly inflation-adjusted wages received by the typical worker have barely risen, growing only 0.2% per year. In other words, though the economy has been growing, the primary way most people benefit from that growth has almost completely stalled.” .

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And as a result, the wealth created by everyone’s hard work has been siphoned into the pockets of the Koch Brothers and people like them.

Relative to wages, the cost of housing, education, medical care, retirement, food, and clothing has skyrocketed. And fewer and fewer people have been able to enjoy the things that Roosevelt pointed to as minimum rights for all of us.

Relative to wages, the cost of housing, education, medical care, retirement, food, and clothing has skyrocketed. And fewer and fewer people have been able to enjoy the things that Roosevelt pointed to as minimum rights for all of us.

The deterioration of the dream was not so obvious during the last three decades of the last century. But during the first two decades of the new millennium, the deterioration has become ever more evident. And at the same time, the standing of the United States in the world has dropped, until today this nation is the “most powerful nation” in name only.

The corporate attack on the Second Bill of Rights mounts. For instance, Americans now have one of the most expensive healthcare systems in the world, even though it is not nearly as effective as many universal healthcare systems around the globe. The Koch Brothers just recently sponsored a study that purported to find that “Medicare for all” would cost an impossible $32.6 trillion over ten years. Instead, the study actually showed that such a program would save $2 trillion annually.

Figure it out. $3.26 trillion a year divided by a population of 330 million equals $9878.79 per person. But the current cost per person is $10,345 (in 2016). So the Kochs proved that Medicare for all would save money!

And what would happen if every American had a good education? It would increase the Gross Domestic Product, for sure – because education would make our workers even better than they are. And what would decent housing do? Probably decrease the amount of crime.

In other words, spend the money that the Kochs and people like them have. Make the society better.

How to do it? Raise taxes on the rich. Create a wealth tax for those who have over $10 million in assets, say. There are 1.625 million such people. That small group has a minimum of $16.25 trillion. Of course, don’t forget that the Koch Brothers alone have as much as 8100 of those people with $10 million.

Don’t forget that the entire U.S. government spends only $3.8 trillion a year. In other words, the holders of $10 million could by themselves pay for four years of our government from their hoarded wealth.

So what sort of society do you want? One where the Second Bill of Rights is the law? Or one where a small number of people have impossibly huge sums of money and can (and do) drive everyone else into the ground? The choice is yours, Americans.

michael hertz

Michael T. Hertz