American capitalism transformed the lives of millions and thereby did a good job for the majority. Arguably, happiness seems to have peaked in the 1950s. But now the system has clearly become self-serving, exploitative and unfit for purpose, creating massive wealth disparities and harming young people in particular with its employment policies. It has been allowed to become a grabbitocracy. I speak here as someone who was born a conservative, but who now finds the way the country is an embarrassment, and about as far away from Epicurean thought as possible.
The system is not set up to tackle the twin challenges of climate crisis and the threatening rise of China. The big corporations, with their overpaid CEOs call the political shots and pay little or no tax to maintain a decent society, which needs to be built anew to serve everyone, not just the 1%. The following suggestions are just for starters:
First to go has to be Citizens United, arguably the biggest mistake made by any Supreme Court in its history.
Secondly, all constituency boundaries should by law be determined by non-political, disinterested lawyers, sworn to serve the whole country faithfully, regardless of political leanings ( yes, a tall order!)
Thirdly, retiring politicians should be banned from lobbying their former colleagues for ten years.
Fourthly, the anti-trust system has atrophied and should be revived.
Fifthly, compensation to management, and especially CEOs, has grown exponentially, relative to that of employees, and the ratio should be reduced, substantially.
Sixthly, the minimum wage should provide a living wage. If you can’t pay your staff a living wage you shouldn’t be in business.
Seventhly, universities and colleges are behaving like corporations and have forgotten their purpose. The student loan system is a corrupt scam. No one should start their working lives with huge debt.
Lastly, the tax dodges and the 15% tax on “carried interest” used by the super-rich should be made illegal.
This is not socialism; it is patriotism. It stands for Epicurean moderation, indeed, common sense.