In the 1960s, mass movements led to basic changes in laws governing voting rights and civil rights. Can you imagine a similar movement devoted to economic justice?

Dr. Virgil Wood, an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., recently spoke in Hitchcock on the need to “reset the Dream.” Wood, a Baptist minister, has been thinking of the biblical idea of “jubilee.” The people of ancient Israel hit the reset button every 50 years. Slaves were freed. Overworked farmland was rested. Oppressive contracts were revoked.

The 50-year mark was a time to rest, reflect and start anew.

And, as Dr. Wood pointed out, it’s time for us to do the same in thinking about King’s dream for America. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. It’s hard to believe he’s been gone 50 years.

What have we done since then?

In the last year of his life, King became more pointed in his criticism of capitalism. He was not seeking to undermine the whole system. He was seeking to correct its flaws.

He pushed for what he called economic justice — a sense of economic responsibility that refuses to put material things, including profits, before people.

What would economic justice look like? Some people think a better minimum wage would help.

I wonder what would happen if we gave the poorest American families the real capitalist experience. What would happen if we gave each family $10,000, locked in an investment that produced income — like a savings account produces interest. What would it be like for them to have the experience of earning income from capital? What would that be like for a family whose breadwinner works two or three jobs to have income that is not tied to more drudgery? What would it be like for people in that family to be able to borrow money against that capital when the family car broke down? How would that change their lives? How would it change their thinking?

I’m no policy guru, but the math on the back of my napkin says that we could do that for a half million of our poorest families if we cut spending on our pointless, endless wars by less than 10 percent this year. I’m not talking about cutting the $574.5 billion defense budget. I’m not talking about eliminating the supplemental budget, now at $64.5 billion, that keeps funding the war overseas. I’m just talking about cutting that supplemental budget by less than 10 percent for one year.

I think it would be worth it to conduct an experiment to see whether we could come a little closer to a just economic system.

Maybe that’s a silly, unworkable idea.

I’d be willing to listen to others who, no doubt, could come up with a far better plan. But I’m not willing to spend another 50 years of MLK Days wondering why, since a great man died, so little has been done to achieve the dream of making this country better.

Heber Taylor, a retired newspaperman, lives in Galveston.


(8) comments

Kelly Naschke

Heber sums up his utopian fantasy for us. “Maybe that’s a silly, unworkable idea”. Even he realizes he’s full of hot air. He also lets us know that he is unaware of what capitalism even is by suggesting that if “we gave “ money away, it would somehow help the same people that we already “give” way more than $10k a year as it stands now. And can someone let poor, uninformed Mr Taylor, that minority unemployment is at all time historically low numbers. Heber does a great job of playing the class warfare card. As we saw from the State of The Union address, Democrats aren’t interested in unity and can only find power by dividing us all into groups “victims”. It’s really fun watching the progressive liberal ship sinking deeper and deeper on a daily basis. Keep up the good work Heber...conservatives love guys like you!

Doyle Beard

How about jobs first?

Gary Miller

When I was young a respected economist said; If all the wealth of America was collected and divided equally between every citizen within one generation the people who own wealth today would be even wealthier and the poor of today would be bankrupt and in massive debt. He said wealth was the result of years of good decisions and poverty was the result of a lifetime of bad decisions. The wealthy know how to earn wealth while the poor know how to waste opportunity.

Chuck DiFalco

Mr. Taylor, you are welcome to give anyone you want $10,000, but the federal government gives away (and spends) too much money already. Federal deficits and debts just keep getting bigger. No jubilee will happen for Uncle Sam. Debt default will not be allowed to happen. The inevitable result is that he will allow inflation to skyrocket to more easily pay debts. Worked great for him in the 1970s. Screwed most everyone else. So what you're suggesting is both irresponsible and immoral because it will contribute to downward mobility of the people who you so ardently hope to help (as well as the rest of us who struggle to get ahead) at some point in the future. A better idea is to just cut the federal budget without throwing money somewhere else, and leave it at that.

Kelly Naschke

Heber’s proposal is proof positive that liberals live in lala land.

Randy Chapman

How can he believe that making them thousand-aires for a time will help at all? Many already get EITC welfare every year from legitimate taxpayers. Every year they are in the same boat, waiting on pins and needles for their "refunds" that they never paid in to begin with. If you are perpetually poor, you need to take a serious look at your life choices and change them accordingly. Redirecting my money to someone that makes poor choices is not the way to fix anything.

PD Hyatt

What Mr. Taylor does not want to recognize is that the federal government has given over 20 trillion dollars away to the poor and all we have to show for it is for more people that are poor.... Unless it is given to you by parents or grandparents, you will never accumulate wealth of any type unless you learn how to spend less then what you are bring in and do so on a consistent basis for many decades and invest it wisely.... Most of the time building wealth is not going to do you as much good as it will do your children and grandchildren.... Problem is to many of our nation have been programmed to wait upon the government to take care of you, instead of taking care of yourself.... What many on the left leaning media don't understand and I doubt that they will ever understand it is raising the minimum wage will do nothing to lift people out of the poor house, because as they raise the minimum wage all other costs will go up with them.... the minimum wages was not set so that people could raise their families it was set for teenagers to learn how to get a job and work their way up from their to a job that could and would take care of them and their families....In areas out west were they have raised the minimum wage do you even know what has happened to the full time workers out there that were making minimum wage? Their hours have been cut, sort of like what happened nation wide when Obama tried to shove his ObamaCare down the throats of corporate America.... Many that I knew that were working full time + and making it, were all of a sudden finding that their hours had been cut from 40+ to under 30 so that companies did not have to pay for their health insurance.... Anytime you try to push your socialistic venom onto people and THEIR business they will find away to push back and that usually means that the people that you wanted to help got kicked in the mouth....
Plus there are some people no matter how much you try to help them they will just continue to stick out their hands for more and more.... Teach a man to fish and he will feed his family, but if you give the man the fish you will end up feeding him and his family for ever....

PD Hyatt

I have an idea Mr. Taylor, why don't you start an experiment with the GDN;s money and yours and go around handing out 10K to say 10 different families and show them how to set things up and then follow those 10 families and see if they can and will do what you think that they would do with that money what you said that they would do with it. After you all have done that, please report back to all of your readers and expound and how well they did will with that money the you gave them. Then you can know first hand whether your idea is worth going after or if it is just a silly idea.... Something tells me that neither you nor the company that you work for will do that, as with most left wing ideas you want the government to do it and if we are honest with each other our government is bankrupt from doing a ton of silly ideas and NONE of them have lifted the poor out of poverty.... It hasn't worked since the mid 60's when the transfer of wealth started and to be honest it will never work.... Teach a man how to work or fish and he will be able to take care of himself and his family.... Always give the man his fish and money and you will always feed him and give him money as he will never do it on his own after that.... Old adage that was true when it was first stated and is still true today....I have no problem with people who are busting their butts to get ahead as that is the way most of us started out.... But even then you have to learn to put back for a rainy day, because there are many days in your life that the rain will come. Many of the bleeding heart liberals spew forth these messages of helping and yet they have the worst example of giving out of anyone....

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