The country is coming to conclusions that a year ago would be unthinkable. The current turmoil on Wall Street has convinced many Americans of something that has been said for years, but nobody really believed…entirely. That something was that lawyers and bankers cannot be trusted. The American people know by now that the advice is largely true, they can’t be trusted. Neither can politicians, stockbrokers and financial advisors. In fact, people are starting to realize the entire concept of capitalism can’t be trusted, not just for the average Joe, but for the entire country. Capitalism is not your friend; it never has been and will not be in the future. It will continue to feed the rich, in fact, more than just feed them, but it won’t help the average wage earner realize the American dream. That’s never what it was designed to do. It was put in place to insure that the rich got richer and that the not so rich would stay where they were and to be grateful they could feed their families.
This isn’t the first time that capitalism has failed. Every time it fails we use a form of temporary socialism to shore up the economy. When things start to return to normal, we give everything back to the capitalists. Why is that? Could it be that we have no choice?
Ever notice how people equate capitalism with belief in God and country? They defend capitalism as if any other kind of government will lead them into slavery. The truth is that capitalism is an express ticket into slavery. Still, for every worker that recites a story of abject horror, there is an example of how the shining example of individualism embodied in the dogma of “free enterprise” has lifted a poor person out of his or her misery into nirvana. Pulling yourself up from your bootstraps is another way of contributing to the myth that capitalism works for everyone. I would like to see the ratio of millionaires that inherited their wealth vs. those that made their own money. If it were true that people surmounted the difficulties of amassing wealth and that many had truly “made it on their own”, the empirical evidence would be touted from every capitalist media outlet to every citizen in the country, just to prove that “free enterprise” works, yet it just isn’t there.
We Americans watch as our leaders try every trick in the book to grease the skids of our languishing economic system. We watch as AIG and other parasitic financial institutions grasp at every stray dollar they can con out of the people in a vain attempt to shore up their crumbling empires. The Federal government has allocated another trillion dollars to shore up the secondary real estate market and attempt to get Americans to buy real estate again. Meanwhile, Richard Cook, an economist that worked on NASA’s budget proposes that instead of trying to ignite the fires of consumerism with money given directly to large capitalist financial markets, the government could better stimulate the economy by giving citizens $1,800.00 vouchers monthly to pay their utilities and mortgages and to buy food and other essentials. This he claims would stimulate the economy by putting hard cash in the hands of consumers. Wouldn’t this be the end result the government is trying to achieve? Yet nobody takes this proposal seriously, at least not the government or those failing institutions with their sweaty palms out. Seems as they believe that money would be better off left in the hands of those that have brought us to where we are today, to hoard it or to siphon it off in undeserved salaries or bonuses, anywhere but on the streets so that consumers could spend it.
If one were to look back and take an honest look at the economy, they would see that writers such as me and many others on both sides of the political spectrum were trying to capture the nation’s attention five years ago when the Middle Class was losing almost two thousand dollars a year. This was happening year after year. Not only was the median income slipping, but benefits were being cut, full time jobs were being outsourced overseas and many Americans found themselves working two part time jobs just to keep up their mortgage payments. Some writers and economists were using phrases such as “class warfare” to shock some sense into the political parties and the employers. Still the government did nothing to alleviate the suffering of the hourly wage earner. It wasn’t until the situation started to affect the affluent did the government start to heed the warning signs.
Now it is a common sight to see a politician on a news clip railing at the excesses of Wall Street. Where were these politicos when the average wage earner was being cut from the American dream? Were they still listening to the vermin that call themselves lobbyists telling them that all was well? We can see now that we had more than enough time to understand that everything wasn’t at all well. The people that believed in the fairy-tale of “trickle-down” economics should have been concerned when nothing at all was reaching the lower end of the economic spectrum. They should have started becoming concerned when more businesses were going under, when people were cutting back on their medications so that they could put food on their families table.
This should really erase any doubts about the myth of unfettered capitalism. Unregulated, gluttonous capitalism didn’t just “appear” when Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers started to cry “Uncle!”. The signs were there long before that. This time when we finally realize that anything too big to fail should be nationalized, when we understand that government regulation should be mandatory when dealing with predators, let’s not take a giant step backwards and slide back into “free enterprise capitalism”, giving the reigns of financial power back to the people that only care about themselves.