The images streaming from the Middle East, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Iraq show plainly that no matter the country the power elite will hold onto power until the reins are ‘pried from their cold dead lifeless hands’ by the new democrats who utter the standard script for those whom rush to center stage while the scenery is being changed. Our play list is vague on the characters and the order of their appearance and the names of the actors have not been printed yet, but stay tuned eventually we’ll go back to business as usual.
Here in our United States we have overthrown our colonial masters and after 220 years have evolved into a plutocracy where 90% of the wealth resides in the hands of 1% of the population and still they want more, sharpening the stakes to be driven through the hearts of the remaining union members which numbers around 9-11% of all American workers. Public Employees are about 50% of those unionized workers and if Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and probably New York have their way unions will be as passé as dinosaurs. In the 50’s a third of all Americans belonged to unions and as union membership declined all working and middle class incomes declined commensurately with the loss of membership and more dramatically among non-unionized workers.
Figures from the IRS show that the top 1% of American taxpayers held between 8-10% of all taxable income which included capital gains in the United States and that remained steady until the late 70’s when it started creeping upward until that 1% of the population held 24% 0f all taxable income. The Bush Revolution from 2000-2007 allowed the top 1% of taxpayers to increase their yearly taxable income to 65%, while the middle class and the working poor income remained stagnant and even lost ground on the percentage of their yearly taxable income. Our politicians ever eager to help the wealthy saw to it that private equity funds partners would only be taxed at a flat 15% rate on the fees and bonuses plus any other compensation they received for managing their funds. Nice work if you can get it but the employment opportunities are severely limited so please don’t get your hopes up unless you belong to the Bush Club.
Going back to 2008 when the Bush murmured “This suckers going down”, and the financial markets hyperventilated and some were struck with apoplexy the great masters of their own destinies, bankers, turned to their friends the taxpayers and managed to have the government hand over an estimated $12 trillion, yes twelve trillion of tax money buying up the banks worthless securities and handing over tons of cash so the geniuses didn’t all go belly up. The patient is still on life support and it is anybody’s guess as to what lies down the road as we wade through this swamp of deceit and greed that has ushered in this new decade. Republican or Democrat, it doesn’t make a lot of difference, for us to recognize that we are all stuck in a bog of quicksand and that the old political economy is dead and that we desperately have to define our new economies so that we can turn around the huge inequality of our income gap.
I think everyone now knows that Wall Street and the banks bear enormous responsibility for the global financial meltdown and especially for funding the leveraging that paid for deregulation of the financial industry yet not one of these people has stepped forward to take responsibility except for Greenspan who came lately to the knowledge that he didn’t know the gun was loaded. This past January, in Davos, the great brains of the universe came together to discuss the world situation and that great humanitarian and CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, took umbrage that the bankers were getting a little ticked about all the criticism they were receiving for accepting those pithy bonuses that were paid to the boys in the pit while the world teetered on the abyss. One almost had to feel sorry for Jamie until Pres. Sarkozy of France reminded him that the millions of people throughout the world that were now unemployed because of the financial crash had absolutely no hand in the great rupture but will pay for it for years to come. We should find it absolutely incredulous that not one of these creatures was even prosecuted for the greatest swindle in the history of the world.
You may find justice in the dictionary but if you are searching for it in our present economic circumstances how do you explain why those that had no hand in this collapse are accused of being the perpetrators and castigated for demanding their rights as citizens.
The Tea Party funded by the billionaire Koch brothers have taken up the cudgel to beat the remaining union members into oblivion and one wonders how the likes of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman, Scott Walker, and the other loonies have gained so many adherents in the body politic. Perhaps a look at Qaddafi and his supporters will show how easily money buys support in the fight for legitimacy and democratic ideals.
Eisenhower, warned of the perils of a military industrial complex and we didn’t believe him, and to feed the beast we have engaged in perpetual war with costs that run into the trillions and the unbearable costs to millions that have been crippled and maimed mentally and physically in the name of Democracy. The work ahead of us in forging a new political economy will be difficult if not impossible as our plutocrats will not transfer their stolen wealth to finance a sustainable society without a fierce battle and their ability to hire mercenaries in their cause. We need a new ethics in our politics, one that can discern right from wrong and not a law that turns a blind eye to justice and erodes the very rights enshrined in our constitution.