The wealthiest 20 Americans currently own as much as the bottom half of their country’s households taken together, and the top 1 percent of incomes account for about a fifth of the national total. This lopsided wealth distribution is a worldwide problem, and it is getting increasingly worse. Why?

The November 2019 Scientific American article, “Is Inequality Inevitable?” explains a simple mathematical model called the “Yard Sale.” It shows that if you have, say, 1,000 people making business exchanges, and these trades include tiny mistakes in the trade value, then eventually one person ends up with all of the money. A “trickle up” of money forms to narrow wealth ownership. In our complex, internet world, I assume there are multitudes of these slightly unbalanced transactions.

To counter this bug in capitalism, I suggest a simple framework based upon the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend. Every year each permanent Alaska resident receives a dividend from this fund. The amount has been around $1,000 per person per year since 1982.

How do we get money into a national American Citizen Fund that will provide annual dividends to every American? We find the “Trickle Up” streams and take an equity percentage. This is not a tax that goes to the government. The money goes to a National American Citizen Investment Fund that pays dividends to all of us directly. 

Robert Sullivan

Oak Park

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