So, I was perusing my Wall Street Journal. OK. I was scouring it from cover to cover, just like I do for each newspaper I read. (NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Long Beach Press Telegram, Detroit Free Press, and the Wall Street Journal.) And, this one article made me burn.
Tim Montgomerie wrote this piece found abouve, entitled “Fading Faith in Capitalism”. Now, that sounds traumatic. At least to me, since I hope that capitalism is not dead- just crony capitalism. I want the American Dream to be a possibility- but given the way our politicians operate, that is more of a chimeric vision than a possibility.
His premise- life is getting better in the US. By multiple measures. Of which he provides the sum total of proof as ZERO.
He laments that 55% of Americans think the rich get richer and the poor get poor under the system that obtains now. 65% believe that big business have dodge taxes, damaged the environment, or bought favor from politicians. 58% want restrictions against the sale of foreign manufactured goods in the US.
Except… those concepts ARE ALL FACTS. Over the past 40 years, the top 2% have managed to obtain financial improvement, leaving the rest of the US falling behind. Companies lie and claim that intellectual property invented here is the property of some subsidiary in a podunk country and is absolved from taxes. Others merge with entities overseas and preclude the payment of taxes they owe for funds and efforts developed here. Which is why these same firms sit on hordes of cash overseas. Cash that was accumulated through sales and efforts in the US.
And, while 61% (according to Montgomerie) agree that unemployment is a bigger problem than superrich elite (12% think the opposite), the problem is that also is true. Even so, that unemployment is a big problem, it doesn’t mean there is not a superrich elite whose modus operundi is to not employ others and to pay them wages below what they deserve to keep more for themselves. As I’ve often stated, since Milton Friedman proposed the abrogation of the social contract that obtained between corporations and their employees and the communities in which they operated, these sort of behaviors have been the norm.
Joseph Stieglitz makes it clear in his writings. Business executives use their lobbying power to protect their particular market status. This “socialism for the rich” is the true scourge of America.
Stieglitz quotes John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, who is calling for the eradication of the Friedman protocols. To adhere to the credo that business is responsible to all its stakeholders- customers, employees, investors, suppliers, and the wider community. By maximizing purpose as well as profit, business will grow and people will benefit- and change their belief structure, to believe once again that capitalism is the way to achieve the American Dream.
Unless and until business recreates its credos and adheres to the social contract, folks will maintain their beliefs that business is out to rape the public and get any benefit it can manage- by hook or by crook. (Unfortunately, our government fails to jail the big corporate executives- the criminals- who perpetrate the crimes. Instead, our government seems to (only occasionally) fine the companies- which only penalizes the stockholders, while the executive accrue excessive pay and benefits.)
And, you know what we call beliefs that are in concert with reality? Sanity.