In a 1993 book, “WHO WILL TELL THE PEOPLE” by William Greider, he talks about the collapse of the Savings & Loans in the 1980’s and how the banking industry, its regulators, and how both political parties complicity agreed to let the financial CRISIS* fester until it reached (hundreds of billions of dollars), precisely so the banks wouldn't have to pay it and the TAXPAYERS would HAVE TO BAIL out these beleaguered institutions.
Greider cites Kenneth McLean, staff director of the Senate Banking Committee: "Let's let the problem build up and dump it on the taxpayers." And Robert Dugger, lobbyist for the American Bankers Association: "Everyone knew the game was: Democrats don't bring this up. Republicans don't bring this up."
Again in 2008 (on the precipice of Administration change), America’s TAXPAYERS is once again gripped, saddled and slapped this time with a “ONE-TRILLION DOLLAR” debt bail out of the said banking and investments institutions that made billions of dollars in profits (with CEO’s creaming as much $25 million in bonuses per year) over the last 5 years while they bet against mortgage market trends without fear of reprisal or censure from the political establishment regulators.
Let us look at how we got here…
In the 1500’s, Prince Machiavelli who is considered by many to be the founder of modern political science felt that political thought lies in his freeing political action from moral considerations.
Machiavelli insisted that morals have no place in politics…
That people are fundamentally bad…
And the end justifies the means…
In other words, he "abolished the moral problem" for politics.
For example, consider Machiavelli's practical advice on how to gain power:
"You must recognize that there are two ways of fighting: by means of law, and by means of force. The first belongs properly to man, the second to animals; but since the first is often insufficient, it is necessary to resort to the second… Nor did a prince ever lack legitimate reasons by which to color his bad faith.”
In 1840, Alexis de Tocqueville, a French politician and writer, published his famous book, “DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA”, still considered by many to be the greatest interpretive work ever written on the United States.
De Tocqueville said that America's greatness was due to her passion for righteousness, “America is great because America is good. When America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."
De Tocqueville foresaw the dangerous trend of our present government, but was unable to name it: "I think, then, that the species of oppression by which democratic nations are menaced is unlike anything which ever before existed in the world; our contemporaries will find no prototype of it in their memories. I seek in vain for an expression which will accurately convey the whole of the idea I have formed of it; the old words 'despotism' and 'tyranny' are inappropriate. The thing itself is new, and, since I cannot name, I must attempt to define it."
The word that de Tocqueville was looking for hadn't yet been invented: "totalitarianism."
Others would label it “ANTICHRIST”…
Totalitarianism comes into being when all the governing and managing power of a society, both its political and its economic power, is concentrated in the centralized bureaucracy of the state.
This is the case when our government combines with the FINANCIAL POWER BROKERS - when both economic and political powers sleep in the same bed.
As we race towards the second decade of the 21st century, we find ourselves in the midst of rapid and profound change. We see our workers' paychecks able to buy fewer and fewer necessities each year. We see our financial institutions looted by professional crooks (called bankers & hedge funds managers), prison populations soaring, teenage gang violence exploding and our public schools rotting away.
We see our once-beautiful Hawaii covered with concrete. We see un-happiness everywhere! What went wrong? Instead of richer and happier, we see that traditional economic development has actually made us poorer and un-happier.
Indeed, history has shown us (very forcefully) that the pursuit of traditional economic development is actually the pursuit of un-happiness. Who (or what) has benefited from traditional economic development?
Have we considered that widespread un-happiness might be due to faulty economic theory? Could the problem be that happiness is un-economical? Or worse, is it possible that un-happiness is good for corporate profits?
"Economics plays a central but crucial role in shaping the activities of the modern world, inasmuch as it supplies the criteria of what is 'economic' and what is 'uneconomic,' and there is no other set of criteria that exercises a greater influence over the actions of individuals and groups as well as over those of governments."
Economist E.F. Schumacher argues that "practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist… It is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil."
Economist John Maynard Keynes asks “can capitalism survive? No. I do not think it can… There is inherent in the capitalist system a tendency toward self-destruction."
Economist Joseph Alois Schumpeter believes that "America is becoming a land of private greed and public squalor."
Former Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich is adamant that “if the truth be known, we are on the verge of losing an entire generation of our young people, killing and dying in the streets of America."
U.S. Representative Ron Dellums suggests that "form determines content. Corporations are machines."
So what's wrong with our government?
If America is really a democracy, why can't we solve our social and economic problems?
If America is not a democracy, what kind of government is it - and who (or what) is in control?
The answers revolve around three central ideas: human "needs" are different from human "wants," "human needs" are different from "corporate needs," and corporations are different entities from those humans who own or operate them.
Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, James Madison and Abraham Lincoln all warned against the excessive accumulation of capital. Franklin declared that "no man ought to own more property than needed for his livelihood, “while Madison decried "the unequal and various distribution of property “as the major cause of social unrest.
Lincoln said that too much money in too few hands would destroy America: "The money power preys upon the nation in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. I see in the near future a crisis approaching that… causes me to tremble for the safety of my country.
The money power of the country will endeavor to… work… upon the people, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the republic destroyed."
More recently, the outcry against greed was taken up by Louis Brandeis, who, before he ascended to the U. S. Supreme Court, declared forcefully that: "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
Justice Brandeis - one of the most famous justices of all time - clearly foresaw that too many rich people would change America from a democracy (one-citizen-one-vote), into a plutocracy (one-dollar-one-vote).
Today, America's "rich people problem" has reached epidemic proportions, and while the growing numbers of homeless citizens are painfully apparent, the growing number of rich people has been less visible.
Let’s look at the rich in America!!!
In 1975, there were 4,585 millionaires in America; by 1986, the number had grown to 31,859. Today, we have 271 of the world’s 563 known billionaires; the number of millionaires in America reached record highs in 2004, hitting 7.5 million, according to a new survey. Along with six thousand and eight hundred groups of a thousand millionaires per group! This doesn't even include those who are merely worth a million, just those who are earning a million or more per year. Another 50,000 high earners flicker above/below million-dollar mark.
New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis has noted that "the gap between rich and poor in America is far and away the widest in the developed world."
We see the homeless every day, but we seldom see the rich because they leave their dirty work to their surrogates: the big corporations!
Richard Grossman and Frank T. Adams, in the book “Taking Care of Business: Citizenship and the Charter of Incorporation”, describe how citizens controlled corporations before the Civil War of 1861.
Up to that time, corporations were chartered for a specific limited purpose (for example, building a toll road or canal) and for a specific, limited period of time (usually 20 or 30 years). Each corporation was chartered to achieve a specific social goal that a legislature decided was in the public interest.
Isn’t it funny how things change?
On the brink of economic disaster, politicians and elitists keep the profits generated from their destructive money-making activities, while all of society is forced to pay the costs. It's as though only the richest 1% of the people have credit cards but the bill must be divided and paid by the rest of us.
In State of the World 1993, Brown points out that our economic way of thinking is killing us: "Industrial firms are allowed to internalize profits while externalizing costs, passing on to society such expenses as those for health care associated with polluted air or those from global warming.
"An expanding economy based on such an incomplete accounting system would be expected to slowly undermine itself, eventually collapsing as support systems are destroyed.
And that is just what is happening right NOW!!!
The environmentally destructive activities of recent decades are now showing in reduced productivity of croplands, forests, grasslands, and fisheries; in the mounting cleanup costs of toxic waste sites; in rising health care costs for cancer, birth defects, allergies, emphysema, asthma, and other respiratory diseases; and the spread of hunger in Africa and other poorer countries.
"The bottom line is that the world is entering a new era, one in which future economic progress depends on reversing environmental degradation. This in turn is contingent on new economic and population policies."
World Bank economist Herman Daly and theologian John Cobb warn us: "We human beings are being led into a dead end - all too literally. We are living by an ideology of death and accordingly we are destroying our own humanity and killing the planet. Even the one great success of the program that has governed us, the attainment of material affluence, is now giving way to poverty.
The United States is just now gaining a foretaste of the suffering that global economic policies, so enthusiastically embraced, have inflicted on hundreds of millions of others.
If we continue on our present paths, future generations, if there are to be any, are condemned to misery.
"Victor Furkiss, a prominent futurist and Professor of Government at Georgetown University, describes our appalling situation:
"Present-day society is locked into four positive feedback loops which need to be broken: economic growth which feeds on itself, population growth which feeds on itself, technological change which feeds on itself, and a pattern of income inequality which seems to be self sustaining and which tends to spur growth in the other three areas. Ecological humanism must create an economy in which economic and population growth is halted, technology is controlled, and gross inequalities of income are done away with."
Our colossal stupidity is condemning our children to living a horrible nightmare - one that they will not awaken from.
Our current lifestyle cannot be sustained. Thus, we can see that today's big question is not whether children will achieve a higher standard of living than their parents (they won't).
Today's big question is whether or not they will live long enough to retire.
Isn’t it interesting that on the threshold of a “change” in the American political and socioeconomic system that we are seeing almost momentous and historic scales of monetary turbulence and readjustments in a market that is moving towards greater stringency and centralization on the part of governments and those who control the wheels of financial power?
Alan Muhammad sites that:
“As with today’s government, there is not a sane person alive that believes that what is articulated in public statements reflect its actual policy. It is understood that these statements are crafted in the most thoroughly righteous language in order to obscure their real (and usually economic) motivations. Were one to examine the underlying economic motives to any government action or policy, rather than simply accepting their public proclamations, it would represent the beginning of clarity and wisdom.”
John McCain wants to blast Wall Street for its greed – but he can’t remember how many houses he has…
Barack is teeter-tottering on the precipice of a conundrum between wanting to be the greatest President in American history and taking on a job that few “angels would dare to trod”, if any at all.
In the Middle Ages, the naked pursuit of wealth was named "avarice" and considered a sin. But avarice was re-labeled self-interest and became a virtue when Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations in 1776 - the same year that Thomas Jefferson wrote our Declaration of Independence.
Whereas Jefferson failed to mention selfishness as one of America's founding ideas, Smith argued that selfishness was fundamental for prosperity and must not be constrained by explicit moral considerations (Smith had read his Machiavelli).
For Smith to be right, Jefferson must have completely forgotten a very important idea. But Jefferson didn't omit selfishness from our founding ideas by accident; in fact, he was strongly opposed to selfishness:
"Self-love, therefore, is no part of morality. Indeed it is exactly its counterpart. It is the sole antagonist of virtue, leading us constantly by our propensities to self-gratification in violation of our moral duties to others.
Accordingly, it is against this enemy that are erected the batteries of moralists and religionists, as the only obstacle to the practice of morality. Take from man his selfish propensities, and he can have nothing to seduce him from the practice of virtue."
Unfortunately, Thomas Jefferson's passionate appeal for moral restraint fell on selfish ears.
200 years later, we see the fruits of our so-called morality or lack thereof…
It is time for us to truly wise up!!!