Rent is a scourge that transfers wealth from the poor to the rich. It is a system put into place many centuries ago where the 99% is exploited by the 1% for everything they have, which leads to a virtuous cycle of keeping the 1% forever with 99% of the money.
Rent, as an economic concept, works like this. For no reason at all, simply because you happen to have a legally protected 'property,' you can charge other people fees they have no choice but to pay. It is unearned wealth centered around people who never have to work in their lives, but gather into themselves the vast majority of everyone else's work. Their productivity goes to feed these happy few.
Examples of rent abound, but the most common example looks like this:
Suppose you're an older person, who has accumulated a great deal of wealth via careful planning and savings accounts, and now wishes to use it to accumulate yet more wealth. All you need do is buy capital and your journey can begin. You can become a landlord, and charge other people rent to live at your place. Or you can buy government bonds, and receive free taxpayer money extracted at bayonet from the public at large. Perhaps you can lend to a company risk-free, because companies are obligated, even when bankrupt, to pay back their creditors first, with interest, before they worry a lick about their workers. Or you can buy some sort of money market fund, where the bank does all the lending, and is officially too big to fail, so the government will always bail you out, with interest, if your loans go bad.
The difference between a rent-seeker and an investor is this -- investors are shareholders who can win or lose in a new venture, they could lose everything and no one will save them. Rent seekers, on the other hand, seek out, like burrowing worms, risk-free ventures where their money effortlessly compounds on itself, making more and more money in an exponential cycle. Investments require people to think through their decisions and carefully allot their money in productive places. Rent-seekers do not have to worry about whether their money is being productive or not, they have enough legal power backing them up that they'll always get their cut regardless of what happens.
The worst rent-seekers of all are the bankers. Bankers are allowed to make money ex nihilo, out of nothing, with an effortless wave of their hand. They can then use this imaginary money that took no effort to make as a loan, which they only give out at interest.
This is phenomenal. Banks can give themselves money effortlessly, just by putting a few extra zeroes behind their computer screens, but they demand that we, the receivers of this free money, pay them back and interest. The interest we pay back to these banks has to come from our labor, for the privilege of having received their free money it took them no effort to create, and then loan us. So our production is transferred to their wealth, which was COMPLETELY UNEARNED. Why do banks get this free money? Why can't we just invent money out of thin air ourselves, and give ourselves this imaginary money without interest? Because men with bayonets and government badges will kill you if you try that, that's called 'counterfeiting,' but when banks do it it becomes magically 'capitalism.' The same act, done by different people, is in one case worthy of million dollar bonuses, and in another case will get you thrown in jail. Amazing!
All interest is rent. There is no moral or logical basis for why you should have to pay back more in a loan than you originally received. It operates on the same basis as previous examples of rent-seeking, a risk-free, government force backed enterprise where wealth is simply transferred from those without capital (the money to hand out in loans) to those with capital. (the banks, who can create for free as much capital as they wish to have.)
It is despicable that anyone should have to pay interest on anything. It is against the laws of every religion on Earth, because from the very moment it was conceived of, it was recognized as an evil and fraudulent act. But people will use the argument of 'expediency' and 'practicality' for our interest driven economy and look the other way. They'll say it's impossible to set up society any differently, and stop the rent-seeking that pervades the capitalist system.
They're wrong. Capitalism, which is a derogatory term for people making money from money, instead of from productive labor, is not only evil, but also completely unnecessary to a well-functioning economy or society.
The first principle of a just state: No one should be able to make money, risk-free, from money. All money must stem from either risking your previous money as an investor/shareholder, or working to earn more.
This means no one can buy property and then charge people rent to live in it. Renting is forbidden. Everyone must own their own homes/apartments/trailers whatever.
This also means the government cannot sell bonds, nor can companies, nor can anyone else. Banks cannot make any loans with interest. If they feel like making loans with no return, they're free to do so, though I have no idea why they would. Government must fund itself via taxes -- nothing else. It cannot simply print money out of thin air to purchase what it desires, nor can it empower the federal reserve or any other mafia to do so. If there's some sort of national emergency and it wishes to extract enormous amounts of taxes and then pay people back later, they are quite free to do so -- just without any interest. The difference between taxes and mandatory loans is beyond me, but if they feel the need to arrange it that way, whatever. The federal government, obviously, cannot borrow from foreign countries and pay them back with interest either. Interest is forbidden.
Loans generally fall under three categories:
1. Consumers who cannot stop consuming at a level beyond their productive capacity, who will go any depth into debt at any interest rate in order to feed their addiction. Obviously, just like a drug dealer, a lender at interest is exploiting these poor fools and stealing all of their wealth now and in the future for themselves. This should be banned. It's obvious it should be banned. We should not tempt the weak into sin and then rape them and steal from them forever after because they were too weak to resist our evil tricks and seductions. That is not sufficient as a reason to hurt others, just like it isn't sufficient that we can rape and steal from people with our bare hands when they are too weak to fight us off. That is no moral license to actually go and do so.
2. People who need the basic necessities of life but cannot yet afford them -- a roof over their head, a car to get them to and from work, an education so they can get a job, health care so they don't die while they're still too poor to afford health care through their own wages. Lending at interest to these people is criminally exploitative. You are creating an entire class of debt slaves who must toil not only for their own upkeep, but also for your 'interest' as well. Life is inherently unjust -- young people have not yet had the time to become high-earners or accumulate wealth, so it is physically impossible for them to have enough money to afford the very things that are necessary to live, and become high-earners, such that they could afford the things that would allow them to live, and become high earners -- I hope you can see the circular trap here. It is the trap of the interest parasites, and it has been set up deliberately to extract unearned wealth from these helpless victims' labor.
There is no reason for this exploitation, young people did nothing wrong just by being younger than old people, so why are they punished with interest-bearing loans? If we expect young people to buy their own houses, cars, health care and educations while they still aren't situated to earn the money for these massively expensive assets, they have no choice but to go into these unequal deals -- otherwise what, starve on the street homeless without a means to get to work or an education to be hired? An unequal choice like that is no choice at all. Young people are not taking these loans consensually, this has nothing to do with contracts. They have no CHOICE but to make these ridiculously unfair contracts, because necessity has brought them to the edge of ruin otherwise. If you have death on one hand and slavery on the other, most people choose slavery. Maybe it's 'their' fault for not being brave enough to willingly prefer death, but then you are returning to category 1. People do not have the right to abuse 'cowards' who don't prefer death to slavery just because they're 'cowards' and so they deserve it, for the same reason weak people who can't win fights don't deserve to be raped or mugged, and dumb people do not deserve to be conned and duped. Weakness is not an invitation for the strong to swoop in like vultures. In a moral universe, it is something to be nurtured and sheltered, and eventually made strong.
3. The third category of loans are people who seek to start a business or buy heavy machinery for a factory, who believe they will quickly make a profit and be able to pay back that loan and then some if only they had some seed money. This type of loan is a wonderful boon to society because it gets money in the hands of those best able to produce with it, thus making society richer and more efficient as a whole. These loans need not be interest-bearing loans, however. They could all be set up as investments. Basically, anyone who wishes to start a company will have to sell stock for it, period. No bonds, no bank loans, nothing. Stocks have shown themselves to work just fine, now and in the past, at getting capital to where it needs to be. I see no reason why rent, and interest bearing loans, ever got involved, except that maggots always find a way into everything.
Young people must be afforded the means to buy everything they need to get started in life before they get started in life. In this way, they can be protected from going into debt, ie, interest bearing debt, ie, debt slavery where their labor creates unearned wealth for old people who are trying to make money out of money just because they were born first into the world.
Luckily, the means to vouchsafe this are already available. Everything works perfectly if we institute a citizen's dividend.
The law will work like this: Parents are mandated to provide for their children all the basic necessities of life from 0-18. This includes health care, a roof over their heads, food, water, education, and a means to go to and fro in their daily lives. While this is occurring, the government is depositing, every year, $12,000, $1,000 a month, for each and every citizen, whether child or adult. Adults are given this money freely, to spend how they see fit. But children are not given this money until they reach age 18, it is kept in a bank deposit, that no one can touch, until that day.
This has several advantages -- adults will not recklessly bring children into this world, because they will not make a profit from it, like today's welfare checks that directly increase an adult's spending power the more children they have. Meanwhile, children will have all the money they need to go 'out into the world' like society demands of them at age 18. The money is fairly and evenly given to every citizen, the exact same amount, so no corruption or favoritism can be shown for any group that could be pitted against any other.
18 years x $12,000 = $216,000. Every child in America will have $216,000 to buy everything they need to get started in life -- a home, a car, a college education, a health insurance plan, whatever they feel they need. And if they spend this money frugally, they'll have plenty left over for other things.
This money is real money and can be spent however the newly minted adults feel. If they want to blow it all on a giant party, then starve to death homeless on the streets, then so be it. I have no interest in helping such losers. I am trying to help the exploited victims who have done nothing wrong but are simply too young to have accumulated their own capital by keeping them out of rent/debt, not help people full of sin and vice who only receive their just desserts.
The secondary benefit of this 'real money' rule is that it will not be a subsidy to, say, housing or health care. Subsidies do not work because if everyone receives the same subsidy for any specific product, corporations will simply raise their prices and rake in the free extra money without having to provide any more value. They will simply be robbing the government blind. But real money doesn't work that way. If colleges raise tuitions to $100,000 a semester, then people will choose to spend their money on housing and health care instead. If houses all shoot up to $500,000, people will go to college instead and stay at home. The corporations cannot simply extract the money they 'know you have' by raising prices. The money is fungible and no new-adult is obligated to spend it on any particular good. Corporations aren't dealing with 'company scrip' that can only be used to buy their products, they do not have a monopoly on these consumers. They cannot exploit them by rising prices by exactly $216,000. Competition and consumer choice will demolish any company that tried.
In a society where every child is given $216,000 to start out in life, they won't need to take out a loan for anything they need to have. They can simply buy it out of their own pockets, cash up front. No one will be able to charge them interest or rent for a single thing in life. The parasites can all go back to Monrovia or Romania or wherever the vampires now roam.
Not only will these 18 year olds have $216,000 to buy every high-ticket item they need in life, they'll have another $12,000 a year streaming in from their adult citizen's dividend, which they can spend freely as well. This can go to paying for a new car when the old one breaks, house repairs, food, or even the miracle of new life, a child. They will never be in need, they will never face want, in a modern society which has long had enough money to help everyone, but has never had the moral will to do so.
Which gets me to my next point. People will holler and wail, saying, how could we ever afford this? $12,000 to everyone in America every year? Are you a communist? Do you want to steal all our savings and tax us at 100%???
Of course, these people are retarded. This is because the GDP of the USA is 4 times as large as the citizen's dividend I want instituted. The federal government already is spending 25% of GDP, right now, this year. There actually would be no change in how much 'government interference' there is in people's lives. Government spending would stay the same, heck, it would even go down if the economy would ever recover and improve again. And government spending is always extracted from the people, whether they tax it or not, in the form of inflation -- the devaluing of everyone's money due to rising prices (Because there is smaller supply to meet demand, because the government 'bought' a portion of that supply with their funny-money-printed-from-thin-air.) Whether the government requisitions goods and services by printing imaginary money or by taxation, the goods and services are equally requisitioned, therefore the government is already sucking 25% of the GDP out of people's wallets right now, today. However, inflation is such an inefficient market distorter as compared to taxes, that it's actually doing far more harm than a straight 25% of GDP tax would be.
But, people will say, the government's current spending priorities are better than a citizen's dividend.
Bullshit. The government is a cesspool, dominated by special interests and corruption, a giant organized crime den. Not one penny of government spending is more worthy than a citizen's dividend.
If parks, museums, mail, opera houses and roads were so valuable, user fees could be paid out by the people who actually use them, and these institutions could become self-supporting.
The federal government doesn't need a military, because the citizenry of the USA are so well armed that no nation on Earth could possibly defeat us even without one. Nor does the federal government deserve a military so that it can put down armed rebellions of the USA's citizenry. The militia was always meant to be a state, local thing that responded to the people's will, not an instrument of tyranny to put down the people's will. We can disband the standing army and raise militias, from the states, and raise taxes dramatically to gear up for war again, if and when, say, Russia decides to launch "Red Dawn" on the California coastline. Until then, screw the military and its endless foreign wars and occupations and pork barrel special interest giveaways. It is the biggest waste of money in the government's entire arsenal.
All the random branches of government like labor, energy, state, etc are vestiges of an ancient, dead age and have no conceivable purpose in the modern world. Cut them all. Scrap them entirely.
Say no to Foreign Aid.
This leaves us only with transfer programs. The only remainder of federal government spending is in taking money from some people and giving it to others, because we feel bad for them.
Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are the majority of every federal budget. Add in food stamps, section 8 vouchers, education subsidies, and the 1,000 other charity programs, and it's clear that the government is already handing out trillions of dollars to people for free. The only difference is that these people have to meet special, arcane requirements that allows the electorate to be bought by the government and for corruption to spread its hand and take a cut in the form of bureaucrats, lobbyists, etc. Take out all the corruption and fraud ((Medicare fraud costs the USA taxpayer hundreds of billions of dollars a year)), take out all the middlemen ((Federal employees get paid far more than private employees to do nothing but hand out checks to the lucky few special interests who got the ear of Washington)), and we can serve the same ostensible purpose ((Don't you feel pity for these people, the sick, the elderly, the single mothers, etc?)) with the citizen's dividend and get much more bang for our buck.
Get rid of all the transfer programs. Use the revenue to fund the mother of all transfer programs, a free and fair, universal Citizen's Dividend. This can pay for Grandma, Grandpa, baby Joe and Mr. Smith. It can pay for everyone, they will receive as much as they ever needed, just like before, only this time no one will be exploited and no one will be left out.
Supposing there is some conceivable use to some portion of the federal budget, we can raise taxes temporarily to 30% of GDP from the current 25%, and pay for these programs on top of the citizen's dividend. However, the economy will grow so quickly from a citizen's dividend, because everyone will be free of debt slavery and itching to spend money that the economy will boom like never before. The economy is 70% based on consumer demand. If we put money in people's pockets, they will turn around and spend it, which will be the best source of new jobs and new growth in history. America's economic fortunes will gale forth like a hurricane, and then we can lower taxes down to 25% again, or 15%, or whatever low percentage is necessary to provide $12,000 a year to everyone.
The economy will also boom because all the inefficiencies will be gone. No more public health care means people can buy any care they like in a free and fair competition. No endless paperwork, no lawyers with endless lawsuits, no regulations and no subsidies will make the price of health care drop like a rock. The same will be true of every other field. If we just get rid of the entire government and all of its intrusions, via taxes, regulations, transfers and subsidies, our economy would bloom. But we would not lose our precious safety net that makes sure everyone in our society, rich or poor, can lead a good life. This one, this single, actual good use of government will remain. A government of, by, and for the people which will make every single person in it happy. Governments are instituted amongst men to secure their happiness. A citizen's dividend is the only way to make people happy. Therefore, all we ever needed to institute a good government was to pass the citizen's dividend.
We can do it while making our economy freer and more dynamic than ever, without raising taxes, while completely demolishing inflation and the public debt. ((No more deficit spending, because we can only spend what we tax, ie, no more imaginary money ever again. Plus, we have banned interest payments, so we don't have to pay back interest on our previous debts any longer. We'll be free.))
And while we're going about creating this utopia of good governance, on the side we'll have corrected the largest two flaws in capitalism: the suffering of the unfortunate, and the predation of the fortunate. No one will be so poor they can't afford a roof over their heads, and no one will be so rich and powerful they can make money from money, risk free. Everyone, in these terms, will be equal. Like a democracy always should have been from the start.