During former President John F. Kennedy’s administration, he said, “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich”. Also, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis stated, “We may have a democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.” These two statements are very pertinent to the current state of America’s society and its domestic economy.
The U.S. Congress is almost totally gridlocked between liberal ideologies and very conservative views, and the need for elected officials to begin to do something for those middle class folks whose skills, creativity, and innovation created new products and services in a manner that benefited the many rather than the few. The ‘Trickle Down Economic Theory’ has not created the number of jobs that support maintenance and growth of the American middle class.
One thing can be observed: Many multinational firms began their journey through their corporate life in very humble, stark environments of a garage or kitchen table. The innovators and inventors were persons of insight and creativity. Jobs, Wozniak, and others took the very large computers of post World War II, applied the diode transistor developed at Stanford University Physics Department, in ways that miniaturized the computer product until it was possible for an individual to own and operate one.
A few became very rich by investments of their money, or through the sale of millions of units of the same miniaturized computer device. A new generation of business leaders assumed leadership control of corporations which became ‘multi-national’ in their scope of business activity. Unlike Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford, they began to think of folks who labor as a commodity to be used when needed, at the lowest cost and discarded when new production systems using robots which did the work without getting tired, sick, or needing to have pension funds.
These new captains of finance and industrial production forgot that those furloughed workers were the consumers who created the market demand that their product required. No demand; no sales; no purchases; no need for production and, as an outcome of effective lobbying, an ability to avoid paying fair business taxes. If you take note of the various business reports and graphs, Wall Street still reports production and sales are rising while employment keeps falling. Yet there is opposition by the conservative ideologues to not ‘Be your brother’s keeper’. In recent days, reduction in government expenditures seemed to happen to those who were least represented on ‘The Hill’, where members of Congress proposed to reduce food stamp programs while maintaining agribusiness subsidies. The family farm today is a myth from the past whose memory is used by very large agribusinesses to retain a variety of subsidies.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established standards of food and drug safety which today are being rendered ineffective. The current U.S. Congress, especially the Tea Party Republican cohort, will not fund them in a quest to make ‘federal government smaller’. It is these same ideologues who refuse to compromise. Barry Goldwater observed, “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the (Republican) Party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and government demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know because I’ve tried to deal with them.”
Harry Reid, Senator (Nevada) is the current majority leader of the U.S. Senate. He has proposed changes in the Senate rules which now permit the use of the filibuster to delay development of legislation. The Senate needs to go back to its majority rule standard. It must discard the supermajority rule established a few years ago and now used by a very conservative minority group of ideologues to create ‘gridlock filibusters’ in the legislative process. Just imagine the impact of some 400 filibusters during the past four years in comparison to just some 20 in all prior years. With the filibuster obstacle removed, needed legislation may once again flow through the halls of Congress. No filibuster may mean that necessary provision of funding support for public education, infrastructure maintenance and development especially public transportation, and the supportive safety net of food stamps and unemployment benefit allowances will again be legislated successfully. Maybe now something good will come along soon.