Missouri Proposition A is a fundamental question for our country: Do we assume that the free market will, on its own, adequately distribute the fruits of capitalism to all participants, including the workers? Or do we assume that the free market must be moderated to ensure that its benefits are shared by everyone, including the workers? Do we use democracy to cause businesses to pay higher wages to their workers?
That, really, is what Proposition A is about. Do you believe in unmoderated capitalism, or moderated capitalism?
I can tell you that what made our country rich and powerful was that we moderated capitalism. Almost a hundred years ago, our country made a compromise. We stuck with free market capitalism, because of its amazing ability to create value and generate wealth, but we agreed to use the power of democracy to ensure that all workers shared in the fruits of our economy We did that in a lot of different ways. Public roads and public education. Things like minimum wage laws, 40 hour workweeks and support for unionization to increase wages.
And a funny thing happened. When we put money in workers hands, they spent it. Sometimes we forget, but you need consumers for consumer capitalism to work. It’s called Bubble Up Economics – put money in peoples’ hands, and it bubbles up through the economy creating value for all.
And it worked. Democratic capitalism worked. The wealthy country we have today is because we did a good job of moderating capitalism – because of that compromise.
We as a country started backing away from this compromise a few decades ago. Backing away from support for public education, and public roads, and yes, support for unions. We have backed away from moderating capitalism. And it’s having an impact on our country – a measurable impact.
There has been an amazing amount of wealth generated over the last two decades. Almost NONE of that new wealth has wound up in the hands of workers. Almost all of it has gone to the very wealthy.
Unmoderated capitalism is not sustainable. We need to go back to the compromise that made our country great. We need to back to supporting unions. Please, if you believe in the compromise that made our country great – if you believe in democratic capitalism, vote NO on Proposition A.