“In short, the system is completely backward.” That’s a line from a New York Times Op-ed on May 26 about Louisiana’s for-profit prison system, but it could describe any political system in the country today. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/26/opinion/blow-plantations-prisons-and-profits.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120526).
Congress should be a body of elected representatives who regularly convene in the country’s Capitol to express the will of “we the people” back home. Today Congress occasionally convenes to express the will of the lobbyists and corporations that pay their campaign bills. That’s completely backward.
Banks should turn aggregate deposits into lending capital and collect interest as profit. Banks today are “too big to fail” casinos betting on exotic financial instruments (Joe wagers Peter will or won’t pay Paul on Tuesday), requiring depositors to loan banks money when their billion dollar losses threaten to bring the world’s economy to its knees. That’s completely backward.
A “bottom-up” economic recovery policy, where $1 of spending from middle-class wallets is equal to $3, is the most efficient and effective way to stimulate crucial demand and fire-up a stagnant economy. A “top-down” approach that transfers middle-class wealth to the upper-class — folks who already own two-thirds of the nation’s wealth and Congress — is money that will likely never do a day of work in the economy, but go straight to a deposit account in an off-shore tax-shelter. That’s completely backward.
The federal government is the steward of the national trust, the protector of the people’s rights as set forth in the Constitution. Today it’s under attack by the very people it’s sworn to protect, folks riled up into an anarchistic frenzy by the very folk from whom they need protection most. That’s completely backward.
Before civil rights, America’s heart and soul — workers like Rosie the Riveter — voted Democrat, and capitalist factory owners — today’s Wall Street titans and Corporate CEO — voted Republican.
They had little in common: Rosie cared about day-to-day issues — a living wage, a safe work environment, health insurance, job security. The factory owner wanted freedom to maximize his profit margin, hold down labor and operating costs, a low tax rate and cheap money.
Finding a working compromise between Democratic and Republican viewpoints was never perfect, but it worked.
After civil rights, Republicans seized the opportunity to exploit the South’s bitterness and rancor with the Democratic Party, and began investing in propaganda to convince folks like Rosie that voting for the same guy as the factory owner somehow made sense.
Rosie’s been voting Republican for some 35 years now (and watching the Fox news channel for 15), and wakes up lately in an unsettling, backward-seeming world — irritated with someone.
Mirror, Mirror, on the wall ....
Pen M. Hutchinson