Millionaires and the Unemployed
By Manfred Sohn
[This article originally published in: junge Welt, November 19, 2003 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.jungewelt.de/public_php/drucken_popup.php.]
The reconstruction of the welfare state should be discussed imaginatively, contrary to the dominant media.
The renowned international financial advisor Merrill Lynch pointed out in June 2003 that the number of millionaires in Germany at the end of 2002 grew in a year by 25,000 persons to 755,000. Their concentrated assets have grown altogether and per capita - despite the newcomers. Altogether 2.6 million millionaires live in Europe, more than all Hamburg's population. Their assets are over 8.4 trillion Euros.
This growth rate of wealth will not diminish this year thanks to the policy of the SPD and the CDU. A rough arithmetical calculation could brighten the day.
We start from the four million unemployed and 800,000 millionaires at the end of 2003. Thus one millionaire who - statistically - has 3.3 million Euros put aside for a rainy day without counting real estate could cover five unemployed.
Thinking imaginatively, we could simply abolish unemployment insurance on January 1, 2004. Everyone who has work would keep 50 or 100 Euro more in his or her pocket and businesses also would pay less. Every five unemployed receive a legally enforceable title in the amount of past unemployment benefits in relation to one millionaire. No subsidy wheeling and dealing will be necessary.
The millionaire could simply pay his unemployed. If we calculate 1000 Euro per month for one unemployed, 12 X 5 X 1000 is 60,000 Euro a year. This is the sum that the highest segment of this class, the income millionaires, save by the lowering of the top tax bracket from 48 to 42 percent planned by Mr. Schroeder. Thus the abolition of unemployment insurance wont cost any money for millionaires or anyone else. The wealth remains. This wealth even becomes greater because the 3.3 million yields interest. The wealth doesn't grow as fast as without this redistribution to the millions of unemployed from the millionaires. Even the poorest millionaire, those with only a million Euros, could gain a return of 6 percent on their deposited capital to pay the unemployed. The remaining million should be enough to respectably make ends meet.
Generous millionaires could also pay a Christmas bonus. This could easily be gained from their interests without touching their assets. The unemployed could be shown how the market economy functions in forming a small business. If the business doesn't go bankrupt, these employees could be immediately transferred from the business account into the unemployed transfer account completely un-bureaucratically.
All this could be organized by the employment office, which will have less and less to do over time. The new rising millionaires in Germany could cover the newly arising unemployed. Thus the SPD will reach the goal of the old revolutionary social democracy of abolishing unemployment and simultaneously giving the millionaires a social task in the sense of the modernizers.