Life’s complicated…economics even more so. This isn’t about having answers. Those who say they know for certain the solutions to our financial woes are either naïve, egotistical or running for office. Surely, we need to try something different. Current trends portend a future where the rich have everything and the middle class will disappear. That might seem acceptable to the economic elite, and those who are either counting on winning the lottery or still convinced that the American Dream requires just a little more hard work, but it may be a recipe for revolution. Though I consider myself a revolutionary I’d prefer the next great paradigm shift to be peaceful.
The figures are startling. The wealthiest one percent of Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90% combined. Have you ever wondered why the stock market is our constant daily indicator of economic health? Did you know that 83% of all US stocks are in the hands of 1% of the people? So throughout the day, when the TV and radio announce the Dow or S & P 500 are up or down, what are they really saying? That the rich are richer or perhaps they’re having a bad day. And the masses? Over 60% are living paycheck to paycheck and their numbers are rising every year.
This is not an issue about Republicans or Democrats. The line graph of increasing wealth at the top has plowed higher and steeper through administrations considered conservative and liberal. It seems to be about basic economic principles that have weighted the game in favor of the rich and powerful. Record profits in a number of industries do not show a commensurate amount of hiring. Instead it can be surmised that those record profits are because of “over-employment,” that many workers are now doing the jobs previously done by two or three people. One could argue that if they can do the work then why not? But this is an issue not only of fairness, but about quality of life and stagnated economic growth due to greed.
Trickle down economics has repeatedly been proven a myth. One simple example would be the current case-in-point of Big Oil. Record profits, including ever-present government subsidies, hasn’t led to lower gas prices that could possibly fuel the anemic economic recovery. Why is that?
Another curious question has to do with the Real Estate “bubble” that burst, leading to bail outs for major banks and hundreds of thousands of families losing their homes. Who profited from the obviously inflated home prices? Though many are still looking for the culprits, the one entity that reaped in profits due to excessive valuations were the banks. Banks are able to “create money” because the law allows them to make loans at around 10 times the depositors’ bank balances that they have on hand. That means if you deposit $100 (earning little to no interest) the bank can loan $1,000 earning interest and fees…which were high due to overblown real estate prices. Despite all the problems the banks have faced since the downturn they have popped right back up to guess what? More record profits.
While many Americans are struggling to figure out how to retire or if they will find their first job, the future looks bleak. There are many questions, few clear answers and my only suggestion is that it’s time for something different. What do you think?
Greg Acuna’s novel “Revolution American Style” is available at HYPERLINK “http://www.RevolutionAmericanStyle.com” www.RevolutionAmericanStyle.com or on HYPERLINK “http://www.Amazon.Com” Amazon.Com.