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This excerpt is from an essay by Bill Moyers titled “Money and Power in America”.
“The movers and shakers — the big winners — keep repeating the mantra that this inequality was inevitable, the result of the globalization of finance and advances in technology in an increasingly complex world. Those are part of the story, but only part. As G.K. Chesterton wrote a century ago, “In every serious doctrine of the destiny of men, there is some trace of the doctrine of the equality of men. But the capitalist really depends on some religion of inequality.”
Exactly. In our case, a religion of invention, not revelation, politically engineered over the last 40 years. Yes, politically engineered. On this development, you can’t do better than read Winner Take All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, the Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson of political science.
They were mystified by what had happened to the post-World War II notion of “shared prosperity”; puzzled by the ways in which ever more wealth has gone to the rich and super rich; vexed that hedge-fund managers pull in billions of dollars, yet pay taxes at lower rates than their secretaries; curious about why politicians kept slashing taxes on the very rich and handing huge tax breaks and subsidies to corporations that are downsizing their work forces; troubled that the heart of the American Dream — upward mobility — seemed to have stopped beating; and dumbfounded that all of this could happen in a democracy whose politicians were supposed to serve the greatest good for the greatest number. So Hacker and Pierson set out to find out “how our economy stopped working to provide prosperity and security for the broad middle class.”
In other words, they wanted to know: “Who dunnit?” They found the culprit. With convincing documentation they concluded, “Step by step and debate by debate, America’s public officials have rewritten the rules of American politics and the American economy in ways that have benefitted the few at the expense of the many.”
There you have it: the winners bought off the gatekeepers, then gamed the system. And when the fix was in they turned our economy into a feast for the predators, “saddling Americans with greater debt, tearing new holes in the safety net, and imposing broad financial risks on Americans as workers, investors, and taxpayers.” The end result, Hacker and Pierson conclude, is that the United States is looking more and more like the capitalist oligarchies of Brazil, Mexico, and Russia, where most of the wealth is concentrated at the top while the bottom grows larger and larger with everyone in between just barely getting by.
Bruce Springsteen sings of “the country we carry in our hearts.” This isn’t it.”
And yet, many corporate members of society do their utmost to avoid doing so. Funny how so much has been intoned by corporations about ethical obligations, yet so many fail this one basic test.
Why is it that we bow down before the market? It is not a fundamental force of nature, yet we in society are instructed to think of it as such.
We’re running out of canaries people, wake up and smell the system you’re living in.
“When we see the expansion of the dependency class in America and you add this to the 79 other means tested programs that we have in the United States, each time you add another brick to that wall, it’s a barrier to people that might go out and succeed. ” – Steve King Idaho (R).
The idea that is represented above is exactly what is wrong with the political climate in United States. This bullcookery is debunked handily at 3:15 of the video by Greg Kaufmann who uses empirical fact as opposed to ideological mantras to describe the poverty situation in the US.
If you give people the basics of survival, they will prosper and return more to the society and the economy then simply letting them become destitute.
Some relevant background given the recent publicity of how much our governments pry into our personal lives.
Whatever your take on recent revelations about government spying on our phone calls and Internet activity, there’s no denying that Big Brother is bigger and less brotherly than we thought. What’s the resulting cost to our privacy — and more so, our democracy? Lawrence Lessig joins Bill to discuss the implications of our government’s actions.