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Thursday, 31 January 2019

A new Moscow on the Hudson (2)

Early 2015, I wrote part one of my blog A new Moscow on the Hudson. The title is a reference to the 1984 movie Moscow on the Hudson featuring the late and great Robin Williams. It's also a reference to the old Moscow, which is now the capital of kleptocrats. Last but not least, the title refers to my 2015 prediction that socialism may conquer USA.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (a.k.a. AOC) is the new darling of US liberal media. She is also a self-declared democratic socialist. A decade ago, such a title was enough for not getting elected. Since 3 January 2019, she is the U.S. Representative for New York's 14th congressional district. Obviously, her election might be an aberration. I think, feel and believe it is not.

The demise of the American middle class (my 2018 blog) has created 2 opposite sides: the few haves and the many have-nots. The American top 10% has some 80% of total US wealth (my 2018 blog). This would not matter if American inequality was considered fair. A 2017 Yale study revealed that people prefer fair inequality over unfair equality (my 2018 blog).

The unfairness of American inequality has been demonstrated by the 45th President and his Cabinet of billionaires and millionaires ever since the 2016 presidential election. One of these billionaires even had the guts to ask why unpaid federal employees visited food banks during the longest-ever US government shutdown (eg, Vox).

The rise of people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Bernie Sanders cannot be viewed separately from the election of the 45th President. It's another example of Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". Mr Obama was able to maintain a perception of US moral decency. Mr Trump shred it to pieces (my 2018 blog).

The perception of unfair equality and immense wealth inequality has given rise to tax proposals which were - not long ago - considered lethal in US politics:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: a marginal income tax rate of 70% (eg, MWVox);
- Elizabeth Warren: #UltraMillionaireTax (eg, Facebook, Twitter).

Unlike the 20th century, the US political climate now seems ready to accept these views. If the voting majority would believe in these candidates then US politics may even swing left of Europe. However, such a swing would probably also cement a nationalistic US agenda. The main difference would be a wealth redistribution through higher taxes for millionaires and billionaires.

Ultimately, such a revamped US would hit the same wall as Nordic countries like Sweden: people still prefer fair inequality over unfair equality - let alone unfair inequality. In other words, the American dream should be kept alive: from paperboy to multi-millionaire.

Taxman (1966) by The Beatles

If you drive a car, car, I'll tax the street
If you try to sit, sit, I'll tax your seat
If you get too cold, cold, I'll tax the heat
If you take a walk, walk, I'll tax your feet


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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