- Written by Joseph J. McMahon Joseph J. McMahon
What practical ideas will translate the ideal of justice into the just distribution of wealth? Right now the United States government, state governments and city municipalities distribute trillions of dollars to senior citizens, welfare recipients, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and government employees’ pension funds. Most of the money goes to older and needy people. Government treasuries are going broke. The distribution system is backwards.
Let’s assume the following: 1.We have a right that no person prevents us from living our lives in peace according to our personal values. 2. We have a responsibility to contribute to the reservoir of wealth that we also draw on to live flourishing lives. 3. We have a personal responsibility to flourish. The foregoing principles are based on the common sense reality of simultaneously being an individual and being social.
To flourish as individuals we need resources from the beginning to the end of life in order to develop a healthy mind in a healthy body. Therefore, the distribution of wealth ought to be front-loaded at the start of life rather than being back-loaded at the end of life. Resources ought to be available to people before problems fester instead of rushing ill conceived government emergency programs to manage an impending disaster.
The following actions fit the conservative view that society flourishes when individuals live up to their personal responsibility to grow to their potential, fit the liberal view that individual well-being is connected to the well being of the whole society, and fit the religious point of view that we are our brothers’ keeper.
Action #1: All citizens and profit making organizations contribute through taxation to a general welfare fund.
Action #2: The federal government issues to each citizen at birth three government bank accounts designated specifically for health, education and retirement.
Action #3: The federal government establishes a formula based on need and revised periodically to determine the amounts of money to be deposited in each person’s accounts.
Obviously, such a hundred eighty degree turn raises many questions such as, at what point do the contributions end, does one’s medical insurance, education and retirement depend solely on a market economy, will there still be a safety net to prevent people from going over a financial cliff, etc. etc.
The existing system in which a small number of politicians distribute trillions of dollars also raises questions such as, do politicians look out for the good of each individual, do lobbyists have undue influence over politicians, is the system unfair, corrupt, etc., etc., etc., etc. ……….
The government should do what individuals cannot do. The masses of educated people can take care of their health, their education and their retirement. Individuals and communities will be free, happy and flourishing when most of the money and power stay close to home.