Thursday, December 1, 2011
Voters can save America
Here's Floyd Norris from the New York Times on Sunday:
"In the eight decades before the recent recession, there was never a period when as much as 9 percent of U.S. gross domestic product went to companies in the form of after-tax profits. Now the figure is over 10 percent. During the same period, there never was a quarter when wage and salary income amounted to less than 45 percent of the economy. Now the figure is below 44 percent."
Here's Benjamin Wallace-Wells in a New York magazine profile of Mitt Romney's record as an executive at Bain Capital, a company he helped create:
"Romney was also a business revolutionary. Our economy went through a remarkable shift during the eighties as Wall Street reclaimed control of American business and sought to remake it in its own image. Romney developed one of the tools that made this possible, pioneering the use of takeovers to change the way a business functioned, remaking it in the name of efficiency."
And here is Tim Correll, a lawyer friend of mine who has a sharp eye for what is happening as the sand washes out from under the feet of middle class America:
"I've had it with these class villains who argue that the one percent are 'job creators' who won't create jobs if they get a tax increase. For starters, lets note that entrepreneurs don't create jobs, consumers create jobs. Our greatest job growth over an extended priod of time took place from 1950 to 1980. During that time the top marginal tax rate was ninety, yes, that's right, NINETY, percent -- 90%, but we had soldiers coming home, unemployed men who were skilled in the scutty blue-collar skills of war, but we funded the GI bill (with those taxes on the one percent) and those GIs went to school and bought houses and spent money and the economy grew and grew and grew. (I'm 67 years old and through all my growing up years I never saw a year where my father -- a university professor -- didn't get a raise.) and things just kept getting better. We built the interstate highway system, creating huge winners in the petroleum and automobile industry, cars went from $500 to $3,000, and gas went from $0.15 a gallon to $0.85 a gallon, and families went from riding buses to buying homes with two cars in the garage. That's what it was like when we built a nation where the cost was shared based upon everyone's ability to pay. Tax those constipated assholes that have no patriotism, no loyalty and think of no one but themselves, and -- you know what -- we'll be the better country we used to be, and they'll still make money."
I find it "amusing," as my friend Ken Bugosh would say, watching media types like Charlie Rose trying to make sense of the Occupy Wall Street movement when the destruction of the middle class has been a two-decade process that was hardly invisible. "News to me!" the mainstream media is saying now, which is as much a symptom of that industry's decline as is the fact I now read the Denver Post online.
News becomes news nowadays only when New York, and, yes, Wall Street, finally notices. But it takes good journalists like Norris to document the little recognized, big-picture facts that accumulate along the way of a nation's decline. And by documenting them, make possible the opportunity for the nation to react to such statistics.
It takes American politicians, however, much too long to read the tea leaves and actually enact legislation to change the things that are happening to us. And yet, if only the political elite would wake up to voters' needs, even our current Congress and state legislature in Colorado still have time to make important changes that will shape our future.
The Romney profile was the first piece of journalism I have seen that actually showed why and how he became a wealthy businessman, a credit he now claims qualifies him to become the next president. But the story shows, too, just how souless Romney's policy making becomes because he values the American investor over the American worker.
Yesterday, I asked a Hispanic receptionist at a business I was visiting whether she would vote for Obama, and she quickly shook her head: no, no, no. I left saying, Well, don't forget who you will be voting for then!
If Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee opposing Obama's re-election, then perhaps the stark difference between a president who cares for all the American people and a candidate whose life has demonstrated his disregard for common people and overwrought concern for the wealthy will be prominently illustrated by the television campaign ads sure to accompany the 2012 election campaign.
Let's hope so. Because news and analysis and even the opinions of friends converge to provide a stark illustration of what truly is happening in America today. The nation's common-man soul is being crushed by the success of wealth in these United States.
Only the American voter can reverse that tragic trend.