dystopian novel premise:
A high flying Silicon Valley startup has invented Good Dollars, debit cards which can be restricted so that the money can only be spent “ethically” - that is, on products that have been whitelisted by the person who set up the card. Employers start paying their employees in Good Dollars instead of regular dollars so they can control how their workers spend their paychecks.
Most employers blacklist alcohol and cigarettes, because they don’t feel it’s appropriate for you to spend your paycheck on those. Some employers, being especially socially conscious, blacklist movie theatres and swimming pools, while others make it impossible to spend your money on potato chips or soda. The CEO of Walmart really hates lobsters so Walmart paychecks are restricted so you can’t buy lobster. The CEO of Amazon has a beef with steak, so if you work for Amazon your Good Dollars won’t let you buy any.
Plot twist: like all great dystopian novels, this one is just “what if we treated everyone the way we treat poor people”. Kansas lawmakers have banned welfare recipients from spending their money on movies and swimming pools. Missouri tried to ban food stamps recipients from spending the food stamps on steak, seafood, and cookies. Wisconsin is debating a ban on buying “unhealthy” food with food stamps.
So if you’re in the mood to be a brave teenage protagonist, boy have I got a system for you to take on.
We treat having fun as an unnecessary luxury when in reality you can die from stress and have to have some relief from it
It’s all such a fucked up, godawful, ridiculous fucking situation. Is everyone aware of why this shit is going on? Do people outside of America want to hear it?
Ronald Reagan decades ago gave wealthy people tax cuts, which he claimed would benefit the whole economy because it would allow them to spend more of their money and it would “trickle down” to the lower classes.
This didn’t work, at all, and anyone could have guessed that. The cuts were also supposed to be temporary, with an expiration.
Once that expiration came up, however, the wealthy naturally wanted to keep their lower taxes a little longer, so they flexed their power to stop their taxes from rising back up to what they should have been.
And this has continued to this day. The upper 1% continues to pay the lowest proportionate share of income and state tax in America, and conservatives act as if that’s just the natural way it’s supposed to be. Any time there’s any attempt to change this, the right wing of this country characterizes it as “wealth redistribution” or “socialism” as if we’re trying to take away something from the rich out of pure greed.
UNFORTUNATELY, the country needs money to fucking run, so when it does need more tax dollars, it’s left with no option but to raise them for everybody BUT the wealthiest citizens.
Conservatives allow this to happen, of course, because then they can tell the lower classes how the “left” is raising their taxes unfairly. It’s “technically” true, but only because of how conservatives have forced it to work.
And to keep it that way, they demonize the poorest people in the country as the problem, claiming that we don’t have enough money to go around because of welfare and food stamps rather than the ongoing, pointless and useless tax breaks for billionaires.
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