The worst social sickness of our time, the one that might eventually bring down this country, is the growing divide between rich and poor. But you rarely see honest stories about this sickness in our mainstream media, because to acknowledge its scope is to admit the two-party system in its current form is a fraud, existing merely to ensure the persistence of the status quo.
Fact: Every time the economy expands, the super-rich grow richer and the non-rich slip a few more rungs down the ladder. This has been true for decades, regardless of whether the president is a Republican or a Democrat.
…While markets are a factor, I think the evidence makes clear that government policy is at the core of the differing fortunes of the vast majority and the super-rich.
Inaugural addresses of Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama bring this into sharp focus. Both spoke of the need for restoring confidence, while denouncing greed and irresponsible conduct. Roosevelt in 1933 specified “callous and selfish wrongdoing” by bankers abusing a “sacred trust.” Obama vaguely referred to the “consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some.”
Roosevelt said that “our greatest primary task is to put people to work.” Obama, again less specific, spoke of government that “helps families find jobs at a decent wage.”
Roosevelt brought in trustbusters, reformers and even an expert at Wall Street manipulations to implement policies benefiting the vast majority…
By contrast, while Obama called Wall Street executives “fat cats,” he surrounded himself with financial insiders with the exception of Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard bankruptcy expert now seeking election to the U.S. Senate. His administration has failed to prosecute the central figures in the frauds that created our economic distress…
Johnston mentions the changes that could make government healthy — increased spending on education and research, creation of jobs to rebuild our decaying infrastructure, an end to bailouts of “too big to fail” institutions, and tax reforms “to discourage capital withdrawals and offshoring and, instead, encourage reinvestment of profits at home.” Unfortunately, there currently are very few politicians with the integrity and resources to fight for these changes.
Footnote: To complain about the corrupt Dems, as I’ve done before, is not to say that we should sit out the 2012 elections. The GOP is a horror show of woman haters, climate-change deniers, racists, “free market” extremists, and worshipers of billionaires. Decent people have to vote against it. Too bad we can’t vote for someone — i.e., someone brave enough to fight for an overhaul of the whole rotten system.