“[A] depression is characterized by its length, and by abnormal increases in unemployment, falls in the availability of credit, shrinking output and investment, numerous bankruptcies, reduced amounts of trade and commerce, as well as highly volatile relative currency value fluctuations, mostly devaluations. Price deflation, financial crisis and bank failures are also common elements of a depression.”
And deepening our collective depression, according to Bob Herbert in the NY Times, “Safety Nets for the Rich,”
The lead headline, in the upper right-hand corner, said: “U.S. Deficit Rises to $1.4 Trillion; Biggest Since ’45.”
The headline next to it said: “Bailout Helps Revive Banks, And Bonuses.”
We’ve spent the last few decades shoveling money at the rich like there was no tomorrow. We abandoned the poor, put an economic stranglehold on the middle class and all but bankrupted the federal government — while giving the banks and megacorporations and the rest of the swells at the top of the economic pyramid just about everything they’ve wanted.
Enough! Goldman Sachs is thriving while the combined rates of unemployment and underemployment are creeping toward a mind-boggling 20 percent. Two-thirds of all the income gains from the years 2002 to 2007 — two-thirds! — went to the top 1 percent of Americans.
We cannot continue transferring the nation’s wealth to those at the apex of the economic pyramid — which is what we have been doing for the past three decades or so — while hoping that someday, maybe, the benefits of that transfer will trickle down in the form of steady employment and improved living standards for the many millions of families struggling to make it from day to day.
That money is never going to trickle down. It’s a fairy tale. We’re crazy to continue believing it.
It’s also depressing not to see the Democrats shove these facts into the faces of the those who don’t believe that so many of the systems that we depend upon for citizen support need major overhauling.
Capitalism seems to only work on a small scale. Small businesses in consolidated communities that compete against one another have to rely on making it based on the quality of their goods and services and the ethics of their business dealings. Neighborly word-of-mouth recommendations and solid reputations ensure their success.
Once capitalism balloons into megacorporations-run-amok (as, it is now) then it’s up to the federal government to protect its citizens from greed, usury, and unethical business practices and to prosecute and punish corporations (and their officers) that take financial advantage of their customers.
Instead, we continue to reward the financial rapists. (see above)
I rather like this quote, from here:
And this one, from here:
For most of his life, my dad was a staunch Republican, and he and I could not even begin to discuss politics for many years — until he reached the age of about 60, after he had become a Commissioner on our city’s Housing Authority and after he had traveled and had experienced disenfranchised populations such as those in Haiti of several decades ago. He told me then that he has come to believe that what America needs is a Socialist Democratic government so that the disenfranchised of this country could have access to a safe, healthy, and opportunity-filled environment. Otherwise it would continue to be only the uber-capitalist, financially well-off citizens who could afford it.
While I know that the European form of Socialism has flaws, from my perspective, maybe what we need is a Socialized Democracy, where the Federal government keeps a tight reign on capitalist greed by
– closing corporate and personal financial tax loopholes and off-shore money stashing
– imposing even higher tax rates on the highest income earners (corporate and personal) and outlawing using federal money for corporate bonuses
– encouraging, through tax benefits, the reinvestment of corporate profits into hiring more workers; improving worker benefits, salaries, and working conditions; and improving product quality (all of which benefits the capitalist system)
– providing universal health care (Medicare for all) to all American citizens.
Now, that’s just a start of what an American Socialized Democracy might be able to accomplish from the perspective of this depressed citizen-victim of the out-of-control capitalism rampant in this country today.