CNN, Washington DC, June 20 2018. Retail organizations in the US experienced nothing like this – “it feels a lot like a consumer strike. We always assumed our customers had money to purchase our products and services, and frankly they no longer do”. The American Retail and Service Institute conducted a 6 month study on how the address the wave of bankruptcies crippling the US service sector and conclusions were frightening – “In order to provide American consumers with any level of rudimentary service levels income levels need to go up. The number of corporations offering any level paid employment has shrunk in the last 15 years, the wages paid to consumers have shrunk in the last 15 years, and the number of full time jobs has gone in sharp decline, and worst of all the number of people who actually do work keeps increasing. We are very close to the point that service, food, retail industries will reach such a dangerous point non-profitability that large numbers of americans won’t even have services available. Stores will close, since there are no customers able to generate sufficient profits for these stores. Americans won’t be able to get any products if this keeps up.”
The President met with industry representatives to review the stark situation the country is in. “We know more money than ever is there, but it is simply not reaching the people who need it to purchase the essential goods to survive.” House Republicans objected to the presentation of the 850 page report. House minority leader insisted “the economy is growing sharply, unemployment numbers are low. What is the problem here? I don’t see any problem?”.
The President met with his full cabinet to discuss options, reaching the same conclusions over and over – there aren’t any options. Unless people return to full employment and start spending, the collapse of service, retail and national production will increase.
The Union for Homeless people offered a contrasting view – the US has ceased counting homeless people. Rents are going up, and there are twice as much empty homes as there are homeless people. The problem with retail extends to housing. Mortgage markets are in a several year long downturn and everyone is renting. Renting companies charge high premiums, to offset the losses for very low occupancy – in some states housing occupancy is down to 65%. “We aren’t renting homes to people without jobs. People without steady employment cause us nothing but legal problems. We can’t afford to go through eviction procedures every two to three months. It costs us more than we make up in rent – at this rate it is better to only rent houses to people with a steady work contract. In some neighborhoods we resort to tearing down houses to save on maintenance and vandalism. What’s the use of paying maintenance for homes nobody can afford? Tearing them down and recycling them is more cost effective.”
This stands at a sharp contrast with local ordinances in most of the US making homelessness illegal. Feeding the homeless is now illegal in most of the US. Squatting is illegal. Living in tents is illegal. While this has ballooned in a highly profitable industry arresting the tens of millions of homeless, putting them in prison or routinely tearing down illegal tent camps, it is becoming a nuisance for those few upstanding rent-paying Americans that suffer the consequence. “Real Estate values are going down, with all those hungry, desperate looking people wandering the neighborhood”.
Various organizations are now asking the tough questions – where can we find the required money to allow American families to consume goods, pay rents and allow for the survival of the most essential service economy. “If we don’t do something now there will be literally no service economy. There will be isolated high-service zones where a dwindling number of top-income people reside, but for most of the US there will be nothing – no convenience stores, no shopping malls, no supermarkets – literally nothing.”
The debate keeps returning to the B word – Basic Income. That means raising taxes on the already struggling banking sector, and this conflicts with recently established TPP alliance. “If the president does indeed consider raising taxes, for whatever contrived reason, we’ll take it to the TTP courts and sue. Raising taxes on struggling financial investment firms conflicts established agreements. It will be a drain on the economy, in this already difficult transitional phase. It will drive financial institutions to more welcoming capitalist financial markets such as Monaco, Singapore, Dubai. There simply aren’t the same regulations there and frankly we don’t need to subject ourselves to this tax abuse”.
But the President faces some tough decisions. Continue the debate on Basic Income and alienate his financiers, or simply do nothing and see the situation in the US deteriorate.
During a Tea Party meeting the mood was vicious – “If this president continues talk of Basic Incomes, we’ll take to the streets with our guns. This is the United States of America, and it isn’t Communist Russia. Basic Income is Communism, and we will never stand accept Communism in America. Over our dead bodies. If a bunch of lazy people refuse to get a job, that isn’t our problem. Tax is theft. ”
As House Minority Leader Wilcox said it “The only money I am willing to spend on these lazy, useless people is in my 5.56 rounds when they come to my house and try to steal my money. I’d like to see them try take over my country. “