Monday, September 28, 2009

Week of 09/28/2009

Backing the Wrong Ism
– by David Matthews 2

In every story featuring the character of the underdog, there is either a betrayal or else a general skepticism. The underdog is always seen as never being able to win. Not against the champion. Not against superior army. Not against the unstoppable horde. Not against the government.

But then comes that moment when the skeptic realizes that they were actually WRONG. They didn’t take the underdog’s abilities or heart into account. Maybe the underdog wins, and maybe the underdog loses, but ultimately the underdog NEVER FAILS.

For instance, in the movie “300”, the Spartans were outnumbered 3333 times. And yet they still fought down to the last man. The Greeks, the priests, the leaders that were bought and paid for by the Persians, they all believed that the Spartans would fail. But they didn’t get it. The 300 Spartans that fought knew that they were going to die, and in fact they hoped that they would die in battle, but they also knew that their deaths would inspire the rest of Greece to stand up to the Persian Empire. They lost, in terms of their lives, but they didn’t FAIL in what they were there to do. They proved the Persians were not unstoppable.

So too is America’s underdog being underestimated and betrayed.

For the longest time, America has been lead about by its nose on a LIE. A LIE that says that America is about one thing… money.

This is actually something that has been going on for a little over a century now. The concern has always been about “big money” and big corporations and big banks. We’re spending BILLIONS of dollars to bail out BIG corporations. Wall Street’s finest of banks and insurance companies and lenders got the bulk of that money. Corporations that GOT that big BECAUSE the government approved of their continual mergers. Big banks became bigger banks, and then became megabanks. Corporations merged together in ways that would be illegal in half the states in the country if such mergers were performed by humans. And then when they got to be too big to be self-sustaining, they went back to that same government and said they were “too big to fail” and went begging for - and got - huge bailout funds with no strings attached.

But look at what has happened as a consequence. Millions of Americans, convinced that they HAD to get a home, have LOST their homes through foreclosures. What are they getting? The only help from the government has been a program that actually is far more PENALIZING than anything the banks offer! Wall Street gets billions without conditions while YOUR street gets the shaft!

Millions of Americans are without jobs. For every job opening there are at least SIX people out of work competing for it. That’s the highest ratio that has been seen in almost eighty years. And yet big businesses are still being allowed to export (“streamline”) jobs to third world nations or to get visas to bring in people from third world nations to work job openings. Big companies give their executives raises and bonuses. The unemployed only get extensions to their unemployment coverage, which are not enough to pay the bills, which forces them to tap into either savings that they DON’T have (or lost because of Wall Street) or go so deep into debt that if they DO manage to get another job they’ll be putting every penny they have INTO paying off that debt. Wall Street gets bonus buffets… YOU get the scraps that fall on the floor, and you’re told to be grateful for even getting that.

Meanwhile, state and local governments are losing tax revenue. Every home that gets foreclosed upon is another source of local revenue that is eliminated. Every job that is lost is one less consumer that would have available money to spend on local goods and services. Do you REALLY think that people that are forced to tap into their savings or go deeper into debt would be willing to dine at restaurants or be lavish in their spending? Do you think they would be able to take trips or buy a new car?

There’s a REASON why the liberals keep on wanting to tax “the rich” besides for wealth envy, and that reason is because if things don’t change, those are the only folks who will have any money left TO tax!

The problem is simple: our government is backing the wrong group!

Our government has been operating under the delusion that capitalism would keep this country going. Just keep the big-wigs happy and profitable and the rest would just take care of itself. Only it’s not, is it?

These are not the same days as the Great Depression. We live in a GLOBAL economy now. And the approach we took eighty years ago didn’t really work. It actually took a WORLD WAR to get our economy back on track then. We have a hard enough time trying to juggle peace-keeping forces around, never mind get into yet another conflict.

Let’s get brutally honest here… what’s good for capitalism is not necessarily good for the country!

Look at what’s happening with the big corporations that are getting huge stinking bailout funds. They’re busy doing everything they can to paying off that bailout money BEFORE the government decides to start putting in conditions. They’re not hiring people. They’re not changing their ways and shutting down the things that they did that PUT them in their predicament in the first place. They’re just getting themselves off the dole so they wouldn’t be forced to do something they don’t want to do.

Capitalism is only interested in one thing: success. It has no interest in whether or not Main Street thrives if it can find a way to continue to make a profit without it. And the larger the business in question becomes, the less reason it has to care if Main Street even exists.

On the other hand, government NEEDS Main Street (not to mention YOUR street) to thrive, if for nothing else than to have a steady stream of revenue that it can pilfer to fund all those pet projects of theirs. It can’t do that if a growing segment of the populace is losing their homes, losing their pensions, losing their sources of income, and aren’t able to pay taxes. They can only “tax the rich” to a certain point before “the rich” either find ways to get around it or they just up and leave to find some place more appreciative.

Bear in mind that we’re not talking about communism or socialism here, folks, we’re talking about putting an emphasis back on INDIVIDUALISM! We’re talking about the smallest of special interest groups. Collectivism is willing to write off whole segments of the group just for the “greater good” to survive. That’s what businesses do when they start shipping jobs to third world nations or finagle governments to allow them to import employees from other nations. Only the “greater good” that they are pushing for is their own.

It is in the government’s best interest, and yes I am talking about government at ALL levels, to get as many individuals back on their feet and back into paying taxes as soon as possible! And no I’m not talking about the government GIVING people jobs, but rather encouraging businesses to HIRE people here instead of going elsewhere.

Governments large and small have been backing capitalism instead of individualism, and that is to their detriment as well as to our own. History is replete of instances where such a preference has come back to hurt those in power, from the Boston Tea Party in Colonial America to the first Russian Revolution of 1917 to the Great Depression to the Iranian Revolution all the way up to and including the US Presidential Elections of 1980, 1992, 2000, and 2008. In fact there is nothing that ruins even a good presidential administration than when it underestimates the effect the economy has over its constituents. Just ask Jimmy Carter if you don’t believe me. Ignore that history at your peril!

Capitalism is all about the coin. The coin is a powerful tool, but it is not the end-all-be-all of society. Governments that are representative of THE PEOPLE cannot use business as a substitute.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

But I think with individualism, there also has to be the ability to get out of your own personal little bubble as see the world as a whole. If you cannot see beyond that you will only think of yourself (and maybe your cronies) and become blind to the damage that your selfishness and greed causes others. Just like the CEOs who spend that government money to benefit themselves while others can't get a job or the factory workers of the early 1900's that burnt to death in factory fires because the owner didn't want to shell out the extra dollars to build proper fire escapes and felt that it was ok to sell meat with a human finger ground up in it to unsuspecting customers.

It can be argued that technically all actions (no matter how selfless) are done to benefit the doer in some form or another. But we also need to see that everyone else is an individual as well, not something to use or entertain ourselves with.

Second of all, we REALLY need to get rid of ths idea that all poor\lower-class people are stupid, lazy parasites while all rich people are hard-working, self-made wonders. True there are examples of both sterotypes, but how many of those rich people are trust fund babies, trophy wives (or married some heiress), won the lottery or got their money by exploiting others (like the mafia)? While there are plenty lower-class people where each spouse (or one parent) works two jobs to make ends meet while still keeping a household even at the expense of their own happiness to make sure their children's needs are met? This mentality gets in the way isn't making things better.