Well why wouldn’t Wall Street be delighted? They have managed to pull off the slickest trick of the century; they have busted the economy, caused millions of people to lose their homes, their jobs, and their savings. Yet, midst all that destruction, they have managed to survive and thrive; the market is back and climbing, the bonuses are flowing, while the mega executive salaries continue to astound. The American president for whom so many had placed their hopes and shed their tears has proved himself to be just one more Wall Street darling. It blows the mind to see him replace the people who caused this disaster with the same people who caused this disaster. As painful as all of this is, this is the least of Wall Street’s accomplishments. Get this if you can. They broke it, but somehow it is the rest of us who are both blamed for it and expected to bear the costs of repair. This huge deficit is now our problem. Right and Left agree; forget Wall Street, it’s the deficit. it’s our profligate spending habits; it’s those corrupt unions; it’s the high cost of our medical care. We have got to tighten our belts, eliminate government jobs, break unions, cut healthcare for the poor, stop supporting those liberal radio and television stations, cut back on the arts and education. It’s so tragic it’s almost cute. The victims are to blame and need to pay up while Wall Street is free to set all of us up for the next inevitable disaster.
Talk about coalitions of the willing; Wall Streets has accumulated a startling collection of bedfellows. Congress right and left are leaving them unscathed, and the president tries to convince us how he has saved us by saving them. But the most remarkable ally of them all is the Tea Party, those anti-government rebels who under the banners of “Save the Future,” “Take Back America,” have colluded in the myth that the problem is spending and the solution is cutting services to themselves and other victims. Tea Party, If you want to restore America, fight for a law that says whoever takes my mortgage keeps my mortgage.
What keeps this insanity going? What allows a country with the hugest gap of all developed nations between the wealth of the top one per cent and the rest of us? Why are there no riots on our streets?
Here is my humble answer. Because people like me, those who speak in behalf of unions, who complain about the massive gap between the super wealthy and the rest, who complain about investor fraud, unregulated pollution, dangerous products, a globalization that knowingly, and supported by left and right, increased the wealth of the few while depriving working people of their jobs and homes. Irretrievably. Because people like me who raise the specter of class warfare, we are instantly labeled as socialists, communists. And the entire history of Marxism is laid at our feet. Right and Left, business and government, presidents of either party, all have hijacked the ideology of social system life. Restraint of capitalism is not communism. Shout it out. It is a necessary balance between individual freedom and mutual responsibility. A balance required to keep societies sane and healthy.
Let is be on the record that I am in favor of a vigorous capitalism, one that liberates the creative energy of all of us, yet one that at the same time protects investors against criminal fraud and prosecutes those who perpetrate it, one that protects the environment against poisonous pollutions and prosecutes those who pollute, one that shields consumers from harmful products and prosecutes those who manufacture and distribute them, one that helps to reduce deficits through a taxation that brings the grotesque wealth of the few into direct service of society, and one that supports fair competition among similar economies. Despite the self-serving ideological rhetoric, regulation is not communism or socialism; it is an essential component of vigorous capitalism.
If the Tea Party and the rest of us are really interested in revolution, let us turn our sights on the greediest and least productive segment of the American economy. Those smiling Wall Street faces. They broke it.