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Belmont Club

Give Us This Day Our Daily Debt

July 16th, 2012 - 3:34 pm

The president made it clear in a recent campaign speech that nobody can make it alone. They need government:

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In his words: if you have any money at all, “you didn’t get there on your own.” You owe it somebody else. The roads you drive upon, the wealth that you enjoy. But is the same true of President Obama’s ideas? Did he think them on his own? Or were they were provided by a whole lot of other people?

Most of us get our ideas at secondhand. Perhaps the president has borrowed a few from others. The intellectual tradition from which the president derives his ideas might well have been pulled from a group called United for a Fair Economy. Read their talking points; the resemblance is uncanny. But that is only because United’s ideas are themselves derivative. They come from an earlier tradition.

The key ideas are familiar. Spread the wealth. Tax people so that they may “give something back.” Limit incomes at the top to maintain fairness. Provide amnesty for anyone unfortunate enough to be undocumented. Illegal is such an ugly word. These things are all planks of United for a Fair Economy:

  1. Fair Taxation — Working for fair and progressive taxes at State and Federal levels, which includes efforts to preserve and strengthen the Estate Tax.
  2. Racial Wealth Divide — Working to raise awareness about the historical and contemporary barriers to upward economic mobility among people of color, and to promote a policy agenda that addresses the root causes.
  3. Responsible Wealth — A network of over 700 business leaders and wealthy individuals in the top 5% of wealth and/or income in the U.S. who use their surprising voice to advocate for fair taxes and corporate accountability.
  4. Popular Economics Education — Using Popular Education workshops and techniques to transform dry economic issues into valuable knowledge. UFE’s workshops enable participants to relate to the material, empowers them to take political action, and encourages them to build the movement for social and economic justice in their communities.
  5. Shareholder Activism — Raising awareness about the need for corporations to take into account the needs of stakeholders beyond those in board room.
  6. CEO Pay — They believe that the lack of pay equity in the U.S. can be addressed by changing the rules.
  7. Humane Immigration Reform — Working to reveal the push and pull factors leading to migration into the U.S., and to elevate a plan for humane immigration reform as part of broader labor and international trade policy reforms.

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