Destructomoeter by canstockphoto.com
There was a time when the US could have led the world into an enlightened age of environmental and social enhancement. We could have exported our abundance and wealth creating ways to forge a better world for ourselves and our children, grandchildren and all of humanity. Instead we have squandered that possibility. In lieu of exporting our knowledge and vision for a better world our leaders chose to import poverty and undermine the once greatest nation on earth.
The US had the largest consumer market in the world, the envy of every Western and developing nation. We had discovered the problems associated with environmental degradation and commenced the long process of instituting regulations that would protect our world for future generations. We had learned how to create a nation where all citizens could share in the progress and wealth. We were an inclusive society that held liberty and freedom as the torch to light the way for all others who followed our path.
In the drive to provide a decent life and a chance at realizing the American Dream for as many of our citizens as possible we gave birth to the first middle class ever in history. For once there was not just a few rich few lording over the poor masses. Everyone had a chance to make it for themselves and to create a brighter future for their children. Daunting challenges of race and discrimination were being resolved bit by bit. Civil rights were in full bloom, even though there were still many miles to go we were marching together in the right direction. Technological advances in medicine were being made available to a greater and greater percentage of our population. Indeed we were a nation to be envied and we deserved the title of the greatest nation in the world.
And with the power of the free market and the greatest consumer market on the planet we had the power to influence all other developed and developing nations. For example, we could have demanded that any nation that wanted to sell their products in our markets had to comply in their own nations with our environmental and worker protection laws. If a trading partner wanted to make money selling their goods in the US they would have to pay the same minimum wage to their workers and provide the same level of worker protection in the form of the 40 hour work week, paid holidays and vacations and so forth.
We could also have demanded that our trading partners practice the same level of environmental protection that we fought so hard to make our government implement. We could have forced our trading partners to protect the air, water, earth and oceans.
If those trading partners chose to ignore our requirements they would either face very stiff tariffs or be disallowed from exporting their products to be sold in the US market.
Yes it would have cost more to adhere to our values. Products would not have been quite a cheap as they have been. The fact is it costs money to protect workers and the environment. But the cost would have been miniscule compared to what the future cost will be to clean up our environment. And the cost we are paying now in the form of lost jobs, lost income and idle resources is far greater than the extra cost to pay a livable wage and salary to our employees and workers.
When we pay more for clean energy there is always some company that makes a profit from those additional regulations. There is money to be made in pollution prevention and clean-up. There is money to be made in producing clean energy. There is money to be made in paying workers more because they will spend more, creating an ever larger economy while also creating sustainable methods of production that enhance our planet's health instead of degrade it.
We could have led the world in all those arenas and made money doing it. But on the way to the promised land, something happened. And what was it that stopped us cold on the way to founding a more civil and healthy planet and civilization?
The answer is pathetically simple. Short term greed. Instead of taking the high road we fell victim to the lowest common denominator pitfall. The lowest common denominator concept holds that if someone can make a product for less money by cheating, lying, stealing or perpetrating some other crime, and not be caught, then that person or company will beat the competition. And there are always plenty of people willing to cut corners or commit outright crimes that the lowest common denominator concept has a powerful impact at all levels of society, economics and politics.
Our leaders are not only the politicians in Washington. In fact the politicians are beholden to those who elect them. In the case of the US, in order to be elected one has to have an astonishing amount of money. Anyone who is paying even the slightest attention to the political process knows this. Those who can provide this money in effect are those who have the privilege of selecting the candidate pool from which the rest of us get to choose. The only ones who have the necessary capital to underwrite the political campaigns of any candidates are the very wealthy people and corporations. With a few notable exceptions, those who choose to reject funding from these people and corporations never stand a chance at holding elected office. The most recent decision by the corrupted Supreme Court to allow corporations to contribute unlimited amounts to political campaigns has permanently prevented any hope of legislative action to correct the insanely unfair campaign elections laws. As a result our real leaders are the people who control the largest corporations and pockets of wealth.
Therefore let's not bother to address the shills in Congress, the lowest common denominators. Instead let's focus on the real leaders, often hidden behind corporate veils and large walls. These leaders are made up of CEO's, Boards of Trustees, individually wealthy billionaires and similar people. The number of these people is infinitesimally small compared to the majority of US citizens. Yet this small group is the one that decides which candidates will be up for election and which are most likely to succeed. These are the real leaders.
And it is these captains of industry, corporate kings, who have squandered not only our chance for a better society but through their own short term greed they have chopped off their own noses to spite their face. How is that you may ask when these billionaires are becoming richer by the day?
As the economy of the US plunges into the abyss of economic depression caused by Freidman's and Nordquist's bankrupt ideology so goes the wealth of these oligarchs and captains of industry. The gains they are experiencing now are going to be very short-lived in the scheme of things. Sure for the time being they have made massive profits outsourcing US jobs to low cast slave wage nations in Asia, particularly communist China. But their profits have come at the cost of the US economy. The loss of jobs has been hemorrhaging for many years ever since Clinton signed the first Free Trade agreement and communist China was given Most Favored Nation (MFN) status. The rate of job loss peaked in 2008 and 2009. Yet the promised recovery has never materialized and will never materialize as long as the policies that caused this circumstance remain in effect. Jobs continue to be lost at an alarming rate. The official unemployment rate is a concocted and meaningless number designed to inveigle average Americans into believing something that is not true. Real unemployment is approximately 22%, not 9.2%. The elected politicians who have been complicit in the exporting of US jobs are also the one who provide the unemployment figures. Naturally they are not going to provide accurate figures that show what a horrible job they are doing. And politicians are not known for their honesty. Why anyone would put one iota of faith into their unemployment figures is beyond the pale.
The policies that caused US jobs to be exported have not been recognized as part of the problem. Until we understand the problem we have zero chance of correcting it. Obama is still signing free trade agreements and there is little chance China will ever lose it MFN status any time in the foreseeable future. There is no discussion on the right of left about the true causes of job exportation, except to use it as an excuse to further erode environmental and worker protections. Instead the media (also owned by the same people who control the politicians) squawk incessantly about the national debt and deficit spending. The answer form the left is to spend our way out of this mess a la FDR policies in the 1930's. The corporatist media just wants to use the excuse of economic hardship to inflict yet mote hardship and steal yet more from the middle class. The left wing response it just plain stupid because it also fails to recognize the underlying root cause of our economic maladies. We are not in a 1930's style depression. We have simply been ripped off and will continue to be ripped off until something snaps.