The Truth About the Economy in Two Minutes
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich explains the problems with the economy in less than 2 minutes, 15 seconds. With illustration even, check it out here: The Truth About the Economy in Two Minutes. I highly recommend watching it now, especially as I will be discussing it in this post.
Basically his point can be summed up in far less than two minutes. Since around 1980, the rich in the USA have gotten richer, while the middle class has lost ground. So while the USA has far more wealth than it had in 1980, all the new wealth is concentrated in the hands of the very rich. And they have increasingly used this wealth to buy influence in congress, get their taxes lowered, and play the average American off against each other by placing the blame on poor people, immigrants, liberals, conservatives, whatever.
I don’t see anything wrong with his analysis. It’s a breath of clear air in a dank cave, that’s for sure. The current debt ceiling limit debate is a wonderful example of how political theatre has replaced real debate on the real issues. Almost everything I read about the “debate” has been stuff and nonsense. Neither “side” want to talk about the two biggest contributions to this mess: Our insane military spending and the insanely low taxes on the rich. Until and unless these are addressed, the whole debt situation is just going to get worse and worse.
Both “sides” of the “debate” use different, equally idiotic, talking points. The right loves to blame poor people, immigrants, and sick people for all our nation’s woes. And of course still sticking to the utterly demolished argument that giving the rich tax beaks will magically create jobs. And the left, among much irrelevance, often likes to claim that the debt is no big deal, and that the $400 billion a year in interest on the national debt is trivial. I’m pretty sure $400 billion a year could finance all sorts of things far more useful to the average American than paying bankers ever more money.
Although the point needs to be made, if the government was spending all this money on things that would eventually create wealth, the debt wouldn’t be such a big deal. Things like education, health care, and the nation’s infrastructure. This is how the government used to spend money, and up until the mid-seventies it made the USA the envy of the world. Since then spending on things like education and infrastructure has died the death of a thousand cuts, American’s public education is among the worst in the industrialized world, and the nation’s infrastructure is falling apart. Not to mention a national health system that is a sick joke. France spends about 11% of its GNP on health care, and provides everyone in France with what is widely regarded as the best health care in the world. The USA spends about 16% of its GNP on health care (the most in the world) and has a health care system that is dead last in the industrialized world. Yes, one has to go to second and third world countries to find worse health care than in the USA.
So it doesn’t really matter whether or not they raise the debt ceiling. Until we have a government that puts the needs of the nation and its people ahead of the needs of the hyper-rich … we’re all screwed. Don’t hold your breath.
(The above image is of a huge German tank that the Nazis were working on during World War Two. It would have been essentially invulnerable to other tanks and artillery. Unfortunately it would have been a sitting duck for aircraft … and completely unable to cross rivers. This is the kind of nonsense militaries’ come up with when they have too much money. The current US military being no exception, maybe some blog posts on that will come down the pike.)