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U.S. Standard of Living Has Fallen More Than 50%: Opinion

Taxation oppression can be solved by implementing a flat wealth tax. Everyone pays at the same rate. No one gets to hide their wealth with sleazy, tax loopholes. And once we tax wealth, we get to eliminate all of the ridiculous, inefficient taxes which discourage economic activity: our income taxes, our consumption taxes, our capital gains taxes, our corporate taxes. What kind of idiots create a capitalist economic system, and then strangle that system with taxes which discourage all capitalist activity?

Structural unemployment can be eliminated, at virtually zero cost, the same way that it has been done for 200 years: by reducing the length of the work week. The basic work week at the Dawn of the Industrial Revolution was 7 days a week, 12 hours a day -- an 84-hour week. For 200 years, our governments steadily shortened the work week, and our societies became steadily more prosperous. Suddenly our governments refuse to shorten the work week, and we immediately see our standard of living reverse lower for the first time in modern history.

Exterminating all of the parasitic oligopolies and monopolies is considerably more problematic. These corporate behemoths have been allowed to grow to unimaginable sizes. Not only do our governments lack the moral courage to eradicate this economic cancer, but they effectively even lack the political power to do so.

As a first step, I have recommended we adopt the progressive economic strategy known as "protectionism". Big Business sold us "globalization," pretending that it was the same thing as free trade. They all fattened up to many times their original sizes and we got a 50+% drop in our standard of living. Bigger is not better (when it comes to parasites). And there is no more direct path to a Small Business (high prosperity) economy than protectionism.

At the very least, protectionism makes it impossible for these corporate behemoths to grow even larger. Add a flat wealth tax and a four-day work week to that equation and we have a means to genuinely "stimulate" our economies -- which does not require any significant amounts of government spending (i.e. additional debt).

Big Media (itself another oligopoly) tells us we should have even more globalization, and allow these corporate behemoths to grow even larger and more concentrated. Not only do our economics text books dictate the opposite, but so does 40 years of empirical evidence.

Big Media tells us that our deadbeat governments (the biggest debtors in human history) are going to "bail out" each other by borrowing much, much more money. Simple arithmetic tells us this cannot possibly be true.

We need to completely tune out the economic voodoo preached by these media charlatans. Fixing our economies requires returning to what has worked in the past, not continuing what has failed in the present.  Fixing our economic balance sheets is another matter entirely.

Most of our governments are already past the point of no return in terms of indebtedness. It makes no sense at all to completely destroy economies with some form of Friedman Austerity first (as was done in Greece) -- only to end up with an even larger default in the end. Had the bond parasites accepted a 50% haircut at the beginning of Greece's debt-crisis, Greece's economy would have remained intact, and they would have salvaged 50% more of their dubious debts (rather than the 75% default with which they ended).

Our morally bankrupt political leaders would have us believe that the collapse in our standard of living was some sort of inevitable "accident" of history. The truth is that the economic oppression inflicted upon us has been deliberate and intentional. We have been given the very worst taxation policies, solely to benefit the few at the top. We have been given the very worst employment policies, solely to benefit the few at the top.

Instead of our governments vigilantly preventing the spread (or even birth) of any oligopolies or monopolies, they have totally abdicated all responsibility -- and allowed these monstrosities to devour most of the global economy. Even more reprehensible has been the silence of the economics community as these corporate behemoths have been allowed to rampage across the globe. Were all of these economists absent from class during the two weeks of study devoted to explaining why these oligopolies/monopolies should never be allowed to come into existence?

It is a tragedy that the standard of living in the U.S. (and much of the Western world) has plummeted by more than 50% over the last 40 years -- unless you're one of the privileged few. It is a crime that this take-down in our standard of living is an obvious matter of cause and effect.
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.
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