The principles behind Jubilee found in the Torah are seldom remembered. The year of Jubilee is a concept found in the Torah. It was a practice that was to ensure that there was never too big a gap in wealth in the nation of Israel. Georgia was founded with a similar concept. When the male owner of the land died his property was to go to his heirs. If there were no heirs the land was to go back to the government so that they could redistribute it. This was to try to prevent some one individual from grabbing up all of the land. If this policy had been adhered to the push west would have been slower and maybe the rush for Native American lands would have been slowed.
Whatever you may think of these kinds of policies it shows that people have always been concerned about the distribution and accumulation of wealth. So it is either ignorance or disingenuousness when the rich and politicians act shocked at concern about these issues. For a society to be just and fair there must be opportunity for each succeeding generation to claim their fair share of the country’s wealth. This cannot happen if the scales continue to be tilted toward the wealthy. It cannot happen if there is not, in some form, a redistribution of wealth from time to time. This was what the recently revoked inheritance tax was meant to address. The sons and daughters of the rich may have an advantage financially but the advantage is limited by taxes.
Corporate taxes in part were to make up for corporate welfare. The problem is that all too often taxes are not used to ensure a more fair land. Free tuition for all would be an opportunity that made a more fair deal for our people. The same with healthcare. The assurance that a crisis in your health will not diminish your chance to succeed is level ground. But we resist these as if they were poison. But we want to promote ourselves as the land of the free. Freedom to succeed with an equal chance as the next individual is part of the land of the free.
Of course as the right is so quick to point out you can never have a totally level playing field. But this should not prevent us from creating an atmosphere and conditions as close as we can to a level playing field. Confucius was the first great teacher of a merit based society. He implemented tests for government jobs so that hiring was not based on who you know but what your abilities were.
But we in America have inherited in our cultural genes classism from our European ancestors. We of course denounce classism but it nevertheless has found its place in our society. We tried with capitalism to create a fair place. But after a while of robber barons, monopolies, racism, we have created a great divide in our country. Class warfare does exist. Both sides struggle to gain the upper hand. But after many generations the great fear is the one percent have finally learned how to win. A billionaire who has a fraudulent charity, has defaulted on contracts, loves to attach his names to buildings, is now considered a populist, a man of the people
We are in need of a Jubilee Year to balance the scales a little. Maybe the elections of 2018 will be the call for this. Yes it would be better but it is not an elixir for a fairer world. That only comes with the ongoing declaring and working for Jubilee every day.