If you don't think our economy is in dire straits, our way of life has been irreparably harmed and is in a downward spiral, then you either haven't been paying attention, are in denial, or you're part of the elitist two-percent living the good life at the top of the heap.
Please don't get the idea that our recent woes are purely an aberration of our previous and current president, although both certainly have accelerated the pace of decline with their corporatist policies and obvious disregard for the middle and working classes. This decline, as mentioned in my previous post, really has its roots in the successive court rulings giving corporations the rights previously only accorded real flesh-and-blood people, or more appropriately, natural persons -- like you and me. But the real tailspin, the one we're smack-dab in the middle of right now, started taking hold in the late 1970s when real wages started to flatten and stagnate, and productivity started its astronomical climb into the upper hemisphere. Corporations, the multinational ones with all the dough and all the lobbyists -- not Joe Schmoe's Engineering Company, or Jose Frijoles's Landscaping Services -- started really raking in the profits right about then, while John and Jane Doe starting to find it difficult to just make ends meet. To compensate, two-income families eventually became the norm while personal and private debt took off and has now reached record levels.
We're now looking precipitously like the early 1930s, when, as you recall, things started going from bad to worse. Back then, FDR had the guts and determination to initiate the necessary changes to put people on payrolls and back to work. He started works programs that built the infrastructure of this nation; roads, hospitals, schools and more, and didn't just extend unemployment benefits for those long-term unemployed. Fortunately, labor unions were a strong enough influence, being nearly 35% of the domestic workforce, unlike now where there isn't much of a push to reverse the current slide into the wastelands of economic purgatory. As Professor Wolff remarks, "As long as we let large corporations have the wealth that they have, be driven by profits as they are, we really can't be surprised if the things they do serve their interests and not the rest of us."
There's a crisis in America right now, and no matter whether you choose to ignore it, refuse to accept it, or try to escape it, you can't. It's going to take all of us to beat this, for surely it took most of us to allow it to happen. Please listen to what Dr. Richard Wolff (The University of Massachusetts at Amherst) says in this recent interview by Thom Hartmann, or read the transcript from Capitalism Hits the Fan.