Spreading Capitalism's Prosperity To All
November 30, 1999
Today, one in every two households owns individual stocks or mutual funds, compared with fewer than one in five households in 1983. This expansion of the investing class has had no small impact on America's rising standard of living. Moreover, it has political demagogues who trade in class-warfare rhetoric on the run.
Now the objective becomes to encourage households that have missed out to join the shareholding fold. How might that be accomplished?
Here are some suggestions:
- Through tax cuts, leave a larger share of income in private hands so it can be channeled into more savings and investment.
- Cut taxes on savings and investment -- beginning, perhaps, by abolishing the capital gains tax and the death tax.
- Privatize Social Security by allowing workers to invest in equities to fund their retirement.
- Shift the tax break for health insurance and health-care spending from employers to individuals and families -- combined with expansion of tax-free medical savings accounts, thereby allowing Americans to build up huge nest eggs for medical expenses.
People with an economic stake in the outcome of elections vote more often. So as asset ownership increases, more people will be encouraged to go to the polls.
Source: Pete du Pont (National Center for Policy Analysis), "People's Capitalism on the March," Washington Times, November 30, 1999.
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