Enduring Prosperity Framework

by M. Gomez

A few corporations and people enjoy remarkable prosperity. The rest of us are stuck. Without enough in our pockets to drive the economy forward our prosperity is not just inequitable, it is fleeting.

These dominant economic players’ power is born of stabilizing advantages inherent in our economy (e.g. natural monopolies) or granted through policies (e.g. patents). The stabilizing advantages (e.g. unions, free college, cheap homes) that built the white middle class have been critically weakened.

That said, there is more than enough in our economy, not merely to end poverty, but for everyone to prosper. In the next generation, as the economy doubles we should be able to do still better.

A Targeted Universal Framework

Our framework puts money back into people’s pockets so that they can drive enduring prosperity. To do this we strategically break up perilous concentrations of income and wealth. This tames dominant economic players, rewards the work of the rest of us, and ends racial economic exclusion.

This framework is built on three pillars: a decent and stable income for everyone who works, a sturdy wealth foundation to allow people to take risks and absorb setbacks, and a little something extra so people can enjoy life. It mimics the stability now enjoyed by the upper middle-class, a significant share of whose income is “unearned”.

1. A Decent Living EITC , the maximum credit set so a single earner full time minimum wage worker’s household earned income reaches 250% of federal poverty. To break up perilous concentrations of income, the program will be paid for by a tax on the top 20% of earners. Childless workers will receive proportionate credits. The credit will be distributed monthly.

2. A Social Inheritance Trust of $60,000 made available at 21 years of age. The initial annual contribution to the trust will be $2,857 per child. To break up perilous concentrations of wealth, the program will be paid for by a new tax on all forms of property. To ensure benefits for those now under 21, a one-time wealth tax will be imposed.

3. Prosperity Shares with monthly dividends to everyone over 18 years of age. The initial annual dividend would be $6,000 per household. To break up the perilous concentration of corporate income, the program will be paid for by a tax on the most prosperous of firms.

This is the seventh piece in a series of pitches written for the Economic Security Project’s first design workshop on basic income held last spring. We are sharing these pieces in the lead up to the Economic Security Project’s first ever Cash Conference on Thursday October 19th in San Francisco. RSVP to attend here.