[dropcap]H[/dropcap]appy Independence Day! In 1776 the early American settlers obtained independence from religious and government tyranny. A nation was born—a place where people mattered: well, at least the white, wealthy, male, protestant people who owned land mattered.
In these 235 years basically the only thing that has changed is who is perpetrating the tyranny. This nation still suffers from religious persecution, but, ironically, it’s foist on the unwashed masses by the extremist, conservative, right-wing religious hate groups that know best how everyone should be living their lives. The government, well, it continues to be the puppet of a tiny fraction of the population that is exceedingly wealthy and refusing to pay their fair share of taxes.
Capitalism has gutted the soul of this nation. The wealthy elite have exploited the poorest labor markets in the world by outsourcing American jobs oversees at a fraction of the cost thereby maximizing their almighty profit margins. They call it, “globalization.” The US economy can’t survive without the war machinery in full swing; yet, we now can’t survive with the horrendous debt the war machine has created. Solution? Get corrupt politicians to reduce taxes for the richest 1% of Americans and cut Social Security and Medicare for the defenseless elderly.
Michael Lind, in his recent article, “Are the American people obsolete? The richest few don’t need the rest of us as markets, soldiers or police anymore. Maybe we should all emigrate.” makes a really disturbing point: for the first time, even the US consumer market no longer matters to the corporate elites. The sheer size of the market opportunity in India and China allows the wealthy elite to make more profit than they ever thought possible in their wildest dreams—all without American workers or American consumers. (Apple, Inc. indicated a few months back that their few stores in China [and India as well???—don’t recall for sure] made more money than all of their US stores combined!)
Things aren’t looking good. Cities all over the country can’t even afford to have fireworks celebrations for Independence Day! Minnesota just shut down its government because they can’t afford it. California, and other states as well, still has no idea how to balance the state budget.
Government isn’t just broken, it’s in collusion with those who are creating the problems. Mr. Lind suggests the middle class just needs to emigrate to another country less infected with the cancer of unfettered capitalism. I don’t think the US middle class can even afford to do that. And if things continue wholesale on the current course, I foresee really bad things when the pressure cooker finally explodes.
From WWII to 1981 the bottom 90% of Americans earned 65% of the nation’s income. That went down to 52% in 1981 when the Republican party‘s economic theory became the prevailing policy. In that same time period the top 10% of Americans went from earning 35% to 48% of the nation’s income, and the top 1% went from earning 1% to 22% of the nation’s wealth. In the 8 years of George W. Bush, 90% of all income gains went to the top 10% of Americans and 40% of that national income gain went to the top 1%! According to Clinton: The goal should be to have the largest middle class in the world with widely shared gains in wealth.
When your country’s in trouble, and you’re saying, ‘Look folks, we’re all going to have to sacrifice: there will have to be changes in Medicare. There will have to be changes in Social Security. There will have to be changes in this, that or the other thing: the public workers need to give up some of their pension benefits, and I think a lot of these state reforms have been necessary.
But the one group that we can not ask to sacrifice are the people that have already benefitted the most, who, while they were benefitting did not create many jobs for this economy. [And when the president points this out, he’s accused of engaging in class warfare.] I don’t think that’s class warfare.”
Well, I disagree. It is class warfare: the wealthy have placed the middle class and the poor under a siege that will only end when nothing is left to be stolen. With an enormously disproportionate percentage of the wealth should come a heavier tax burden. It’s fair. Had the selfish, wealthy elite provided opportunity for work at a fair wage because of their extraordinary increases in wealth, I might feel differently. But no. They put the money in their bank accounts, created mergers that reduced competition so they could price gouge, sent American jobs oversees en masse, and played recklessly on Wall Street with pensions because they themselves were set for life.
Yes, yes indeed! Happy Independence Day Weekend everybody!
P.S. Want an interesting Twitter feed to follow? Check out @_Capitalism_ . Thought-provoking at the very least.
P.S.S. Our faith-based leadership should be focused on working to provide solutions for social and economic justice, not spewing narrow-minded hatred and vitriol.