Sometime in 1987, well into President Ronald Reagan’s second term, I was in San Benito TX visiting my father.
One evening, he and I went out to dinner with his good friends, also retirees in San Benito. It was just a night out. I knew them both from previous visits. He was a retired locksmith, and she a homemaker, both originally from Minnesota.
Sometime during the dinner, the talk turned serious. They were telling Dad and I a tragic story. They had just lost their entire life savings – I remember it as $170,000 – in a bank collapse in their community.
This was a time of de-regulation and they had moved their savings from an insured account into an uninsured account that promised much larger returns. The bankers scheme didn’t turn out and they lost everything except their social security, and whatever small property they owned (a trailer home in San Benito, and who knows what ‘up north’).
I’ve watched assorted schemes and scams as they’ve taken place since then, most all of them involving money and greed as twins.
It was called “trickle down” economics in the Reagan years.
George H.W. Bush got in trouble for referring to it as “voodoo”.
In the late 90s there were feverish and successful attempts to regulate regulations of banking out of existence, to ‘let the free market do its thing and bring riches to us all’.
Then came the folly of big (and foolish) tax cuts and huge un-funded Medicare benefit increases (great politics) twinned with big war in the first decade of the 21st century. Three years ago this month, it almost came completely undone with the bank collapse, and the real estate collapse which remains an unmitigated disaster.
But, oh was it fun while it lasted! That’s how it is, living on the credit card.
And here we are, same story, some of the same actors, but some new ones as well. Same insane message.
The Big Lie of the anti-government Norquist generation of lawmakers, state and federal, will bring disaster, but probably won’t be noticed until disaster actually strikes. That’s the way it seems to work in our casual society, where paying attention to policy, and who makes it, is boring to most who are affected by that same policy.
Big Business is run by Wall Street; Wall Street is run by Quarterly Results (the numbers); Wall Streets business is to make money now, not to build a stable economy long into the future.
I muse often about whether there is ANYBODY in those corporate structures or Wall Street Towers who are really paying attention to the implications of destroying the Middle Class. The Middle Class is, after all, the source of their wealth. Their market for their goods.
The Middle Class can turn this around – we are massive in numbers – but far too many of us are shills for the wealthy who, by and large, have no interest in us except what we can do to destroy ourselves.
I’ll do what I can. Each of us has to do what we can….
At minimum, don’t believe the shills who proclaim that there’s “class war against the rich”.
It’s the other way around.
Just look at the long term results.
(The best succinct graphic I’ve seen about the national debt and how and why it happened can be watched here. It is succinct and powerful.)