To: Secretary of State (Emerita) Hillary Rodham Clinton
From: Bernard Samuel Gluckstern Chairman, The Fund For An Equitable America
Subject: The transcendent legacy of your imminent presidency: the mitigation of inequality and the eradication of poverty
Date: August 8, 2016
Though premature this memorandum proceeds from the presumption that a sufficient number of American voters shall reject the electoral entreaties of the Republican candidate who reflects in some intrinsic regard a persona that is morally repugnant, an intellect bereft of both factual capacity and the curiosity to acquire crucial political wisdom, and a penchant for vindictiveness and cruelty when the error of his statements and the ignorance of his awareness is revealed.
Moreover, he has demonstrated that at the epicenter of his being there exists an all- encompassing narcissism that is entirely devoid of empathy and a concern for any reality in our society that neither burnishes his brand or increases the magnitude of the material resources at his disposal.
You are to be congratulated for both the ferocity of the campaign you are mounting and for the ethical tone and tenor of its content.
As you solemnly recite the oath of office and revel in the inaugural festivities which will culminate in a joyous and long-postponed day of celebration, and mark the extraordinary accomplishment of the first American woman who has finally been elevated by her countrymen and women to this most august of political locales, that you will simultaneously in a posture of subdued silence commit to the utmost extent feasible, to embed your Methodist creed into the essence of our nation’s cultural fabric.
It is my fervent hope and belief that the initial 100 days of your tenure will be momentous in its significance and critical to the task of reconstructing the strength of our alliances with our global partners, which the rhetoric of Donald Trump has so effectively undermined, during this campaign sequence.
Furthermore it is my expectation that you shall undertake various initiatives of both a unilateral diplomatic character as well as those actions which involve significant elements of the international community, to restrain the appetite for territorial conquest of Mr. Putin, inhibit the quest of China’s maritime aspirations, and demonstrate to the Turkish and the Egyptian leadership and other governments that their embrace of the authoritarian paradigm which is extant in Moscow and Beijing, will find no favor or acceptance in your White House.
Beyond the repair of our relationships with our foreign cohorts and the issuance of those signals and messages which demonstrate our implacable resolve to oppose the predispositions of the regimes previously cited, I am certain that during this period you will with the total range of your capacities and a fervor that animates these efforts, unveil various proposals and overtures to address this nation’s overriding domestic concerns.
It is my respectful perspective that the twin imperatives that demand your immediate attention are the restoration of the viability of our middle-class and the mitigation of the mammoth chasm of inequality which separates the overwhelming majority of our citizens from the minuscule numbers of billionaires who have accumulated since the Reagan hegemony to the present day, an affluence so obscene and expansive that it is almost beyond our capacity to fully calculate.
Finally, to complete a trinity of crucial tasks that I have no doubt you shall confront in the winter of 2017, is there the matter of formulating and implementing the most efficacious federal response within a broader national mobilization, to the tragic, pervasive, and entrenched reality of poverty in this nation.
For the most lamentable fact in this the summer of 2016 is that the numbers of our populace who reside in the dungeons of impoverishment, is greater than the magnitude of Americans who languished in those dreadful financial circumstances when in 1960 Michael Harrington in his examination of the poor who lived among us; i.e. The Other America,” discovered their existence.
The virtually unfathomable fact is that irrespective of the hundreds of billions of dollars which have been allocated in various modes and postures of assistance during the previous half century by both private and governmental entities, poverty remains the central, devastating, and crippling reality of more than 60 million Americans.
The reasons for the continuation of this deplorable fact are numerous and manifold, however Madam President they may be in some fundamental regard be attributed to a quartet of principal variables, e.g., since the discontinuance of the federal Anti-Poverty programs these efforts have been mounted in the absence of an institutional entity with national responsibilities to direct and coordinate these efforts.
In addition, the funds allocated to these activities have been wholly inadequate and the fundamental normative frame of reference on which these endeavors reside, presupposes an unceasing requirement in both the form of governmental assistance and philanthropic contributions to accomplish the mitigation of poverty; thus consigning these communities and their residents to lives of unremitting dependency.
Finally, the objective of consigning poverty to the musty archives of our nation’s historical record has never been elevated to the status of an uncompromising national priority, with all that that reality would portend regarding the mobilization of the requisite resources which includes the private sector, to achieve that critical moral goal.
It is for all the preceding reasons that in the Spring of this year I created The Fund For An Equitable America, whose raison d’etre is to remedy the deficiencies I have previously presented.
The Fund shall function as a national coordinating body of various meaningful activities that exist to eradicate poverty in America, through its headquarters in Washington, D.C., and via a network of regional offices throughout the United States.
The central ethos that we embrace is a strategy which relies on dependency whatever its sources irrespective of its magnitude is doomed to failure.
Rather are we of the perspective that the eradication of poverty in this country shall be achieved as the result of community-based commercial enterprises that are owned and operated by community residents and the revenues and profits which they generate, that function within a strategic paradigm and process which shall at its culmination be responsible for the transformation of these impoverished neighborhoods into vibrant, self-sustaining, middle-class communities with all that presupposes, regarding the quality of life.
For it is from this modality of economic development that a continuing influx of monetary resources will be provided IN PERPETUITY, in efficiently managed for profit settings, that shall in postures of interpendence provide compensation levels required to support a middle-class existence, participation in ESOPs, etc., the inclusion of employees as members of the board of directors, and the maximum feasible capability to permit employees to influence and impact the policies and directives that govern their schedules and physical environments.
Moreover, these commercial enterprises will implement sustainable economic practices to both positively impact our climate and the entirety of the inheritance which mother nature has bequeathed to us.
One additional observation Madame President is necessary. Though it is our belief and expectation that the “anchor institutions” in these communities, i.e. universities, health care centers, municipal governments, and major philanthropic entities will continue to increase the magnitude of the purchase of products and services which these community- based commercial enterprises will furnish, and thus continually augment the magnitude of revenues and profits which these businesses will generate, this universe is not sufficient in and of itself to provide the total financial requirement to eradicate poverty in the U.S.
Thus, will it be necessary to supplement the capabilities of the Community Development universe with the resources of those corporate behemoths, e.g. those organizations both public companies and private financial institutions such as hedge funds etc. to contribute a minute portion of their annual revenues to this endeavor.
Our research indicates that a total appropriation on an annual basis from the community development universe (7 trillions in assets) of one percent of this sum i.e. 70 billion dollars in the form of purchases from community- based commercial enterprises, and a one percent contribution from major public and private commercial entities (In 2015 this sum was 12 trillion dollars in revenues) e.g. 120 billion dollars would produce an aggregate in excess of 190 billion dollars, annually.
It is our belief as the result of the research which we conducted in the winter of 2016, which eventuated in the creation of The Fund For An Equitable America, i.e. Mobilizing America: The Moral Imperative to Eradicate Poverty In This Nation,” which appears beneath the vision tab on our website, EquitableAmerica.com, that utilizing the strategic approach which we have formulated and benefiting from an annual infusion of approximately 200 billion dollars, when wedded to the maintenance of the current magnitude of funds both public and private, would at the conclusion of a ten year period entirely eradicate poverty in the United States.
With regard to the institutional mechanism that we believe would be most suited to accomplish the trinity of objectives previously enumerated, I am respectfully advocating the creation within the White House of The President’s Council For Economic Democracy.
I am proposing this particular title because contained within this nomenclature by virtue of that which is implicit in an economy that is intrinsically democratic in character, do the obligations to ensure both the diminution of the extreme inequality by which we are currently afflicted, and the eradication of conditions of impoverishment which are so pervasive and entrenched a reality in which so many of our citizens are mired, inhere.
Furthermore, I would strongly urge you to appoint to this body those in this nation who by training and normative preferences might contribute various dimensions of scholarship and policy recommendations that may be found in such locales as the Next System Project, The Democracy Collaborative, and The Center For Social and Economic Justice.
Among those individuals who in my view possess the greatest potential to meaningfully contribute to this dialogue given the council’s raison d’etre, are such enlightened intellectual luminaries as Joeseph Stiglitz, Norman Kurland, Gar Alperovitz, and others too numerous to mention in the context of this document.
Beyond this coterie of dedicated and brilliant social theorists I would recommend that you select members of the American business community who have both supported your candidacy, but most importantly who in some process of preliminary vetting would commit to become vocal advocates among the ranks of their fellow CEO’s and Board members, for the implementation of those institutional, policy, and programmatic proposals this council promulgates
For whatever the content of the specific final report, at the heart of this document will there be found the twin recommendations of a strategic paradigm/plan context within which the creation of community-based commercial enterprises would become the engines of economic growth to transform poverty communities into middle-class environments, and the equally imperative necessity that those major corporate entities both public and private in character which sit astride our culture, must contribute as a civic requirement of their continued capability to operate and prosper in this society, the exceedingly modest financial resources indicated on an annual basis until poverty is finally and fully eradicated.
Ms. Clinton, at this moment of my lifetime which extends to almost three-quarters of a century, there is no question that activities of the character I am proposing would be greeted from many quarters in this society where vigorous proponents of the status quo operate, with a ferocious and unremitting opposition.
Whether it emanates from those who in postures of explicit or implicit racial prejudice were unalterably committed to the failure of your predecessor’s term in office; and who now will summon their implacable resistance to someone who during her presidency will represent the historical precedent of a woman who wields presidential authority; or from those who have from the inception of your political career sought to obstruct and defeat those policies you championed to enlarge the sphere of social justice in this nation; or those whose rage about our contemporary inequities and the personal grievances they harbor found refuge in the candidacy of your vanquished opponent; whatever its source will most surely be conveyed at ear-piercing volume and in disrespectful and perhaps obscene vocabularies.
Nor would I expect cooperation or support from those in Congress who sit in Republican districts, or for that matter from many Democrats who when subjected to the fierce and unrelenting demands of those lobbyists who represent this nation’s class of plutocrats, to oppose all legislative proposals that emanate from the administration to accomplish the goals of reducing inequality and eradicating poverty by the methodologies I have suggested.
In the final analysis what may be required in these areas of domestic economic policy to succeed in these efforts will be the continuation and expansion of government by executive fiat.
By utilizing this instrumentality in uniquely efficacious applications that is all encompassing and unprecedented, much of what you seek in this arena will be achieved.
However, Madame President in addition to these tactics I should like to suggest an additional and ultimately critical weapon which you have at your disposal that if deployed will aid you immeasurably in the obtainment of an America in which economic democracy prevails.
It is the power of the citizen-consumer who when apprised of the conduct of these major corporate institutions may choose to either reward them for behaviors that reflect the reinvigoration of the status of the middle-class and the the mitigation of inequality, as the result of their exceedingly modest monetary contributions to those initiatives and programs which shall alleviate the impoverishment of millions of Americans, or penalize them for their resistance to and rejection of these fiscal responsibilities.
The happy electoral circumstance that confronts you is a contest in which virtually every responsible member of the political establishment as well as those who reside in other sectors of our national life, have pronounced your opponent to be mentally unstable, totally unprepared, and most assuredly incapable of discerning truth or social reality from the fog of unceasing prevarication and disinformation that comprises his public statements and tweets.
As a result, the financial resources required to emerge triumphant from this campaign shall be provided from those who whatever their motivation, would never entrust to Donald Trump our country’s future.
When you begin your term of presidential service whatever its duration, you shall be located on that incomparable perch of civil authority from which the maximum potential to accomplish the fullest implementation of your Methodist creed shall be afforded.
Should you determine as it is my fervent hope that you shall that no other task is more urgent than being responsive to much of what animated the supporters of Bernie Sanders in the various primaries, innumerable citizens of this land will applaud your exertions.
When you respond to the cries which emanate from African-American communities in urban ghettos and other aggrieved minorities who have been fatally abused by the criminal justice system, and who remain the victims of punitive social policies and economic servitude, the cheers among our populace that will greet those endeavors will be deafening.
And when you allocate the technical and financial resources to those who so vociferously supported the electoral quest of Donald Trump, i.e. predominantly Caucasian males who have been cast aside by globalization and consigned to postures of penury and the dependent state of welfare recipient, the voices and energies of millions of Americans will support these efforts and join you in the quest to bring them to a full and shimmering national reality.
Permit me to convey an aspect of my autobiography. When I celebrate my 75th birthday on the 30th of August, it will be in the service of the following structure of values and concerns. At the center of my priorities is the concept of Tikun Olam, the requirement of those who adhere to a prophetic Judaism to repair the rents and fissures of society. As a recovering alcoholic, I am guided by those spiritual principles on which AA resides. As someone who proudly wore the uniform of a United States Marine, I am obligated throughout my life to provide leadership to this nation whether it be within a context of combat operations, or in a role or posture that is civic in character.
I pledge to you Madam President that we at the Fund For An Equitable America shall join you in the unrestricted commitment of our resources, energy, and ferocious resolve, throughout the duration of your hegemony, in support of the preceding agenda of prospective activities that we so fervently believe will finally fully actualize the promises and pledges which our founding fathers enunciated more than 240 years ago.
Should these goals be attained during your presidency historians shall recite the tale of America’s first woman to sit in the oval office, and state unequivocally that it was she who was responsible for the mitigation of inequality and the eradication of poverty, and the individual who orchestrated a quantum increment of social justice in the life of our nation, and thus did the American dream became accessible to all who dwelt among us.
Fervently animated by these aspirations Madame President, this proponent of the original Abrahamic faith; this recovering alcoholic who has been liberated from the affliction of chemical servitude; this Marine who acquired as the result of his service the capacity to provide an unrelenting and inspiring leadership to his fellow citizens; and this graduate of Alfred and Brown Universities who by his immersion in these extraordinarily rich pools of scholarship and inquiry, developed a substantial and incisive intellectual capability, do I joyfully join you as a colleague in this endeavor.
Moreover, I extend in an unbreakable clasp the hand of fellowship and commitment to you and the undertaking you have proposed, to leave in the wake of your presidency an America that has actualized in its entirety the noble and providentially inspired exhortations that were formally ratified by our forbearers during an oppressive and stifling summer 240 years ago, in the city where the convention which nominated you was convened.
Let us begin these efforts! Let us commence this journey! Let us initiate the noble trek that shall culminate in the triumph of the American people in their quest to attain a society in which political and economic democracy in all its splendor and vibrancy has been brought into being.