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Monday, December 12, 2016

There is only One Party: Corporate America

And that’s probably not the party you are in.
By Jack Caswell, special contributor to Progressive Charlestown

Image result for corporate political partyIn the wake of the most turbulent, virulent presidential campaign, election and aftermath in recent memory, if not ever, one disturbing fact becomes increasingly clear – the joke is on the vast majority of the American electorate.  

If you consider yourself among the working class or earn less than, say, $250,000 annually, you lose, and you will continue to lose.  It does not matter that Trump won.  It would not have mattered had Hillary won.   

There are three things that I am ready to guarantee and will continue to guarantee regardless of who sits in the White House from now until Doomsday. 

One, the rich will get richer.  Two, the rest of us will get poorer, and three, the United States of America will be waging war with an enemy somewhere, and most likely multiple enemies in several places. 

It has been that way since the birth of our nation, and the brief respite in American history after World War II to roughly the 70’s, when the middle class lived comfortably and the mythical “American Dream” seemed attainable is gone forever.

The dismantling of the American Dream has been methodical and steady.   In the nostalgic 50’s, roughly one-third (depending on sources) of all wage and salary earners were in labor unions. 

Today, some estimates have that figure as low as 7 percent…and shrinking.  Think what you will of unions, but they are the backbone of the middle class, and if you want to have a peek at the future, where labor becomes increasingly cheap and unions increasingly weak in this globalized economy, I invite you to read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.   It’s not a pretty picture, and the past is prologue.

Trump’s labor secretary appointee, Andrew Puzder, does not favor a boost in the minimum wage; nor is he a fan of labor unions.  Most labor unions, including those representing public school teachers, endorsed Hillary, but her cozy relationship with Wall Street, including the egregious Corrections Corporation of America, suggests she would have worked for those who paid her the most, and that’s not unions. 

Teacher unions endorsed Barack Obama, but the outgoing President harmed them more than his predecessor, George W. Bush, did.

The erosion of union membership and the commensurate political impact has dire consequences, and foremost among them is that the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling becomes even more nefarious. 

The United States is now, officially, a one-party government, and that party is Corporate America.  

It is, always has been, and will forever remain, a government of the rich, for the rich, and by the rich.
Among other social programs reputedly on the Trump administration chopping block is Social Security.  This should come as no surprise.  

Dubya tried to eliminate social security in favor of private investments that savvy financial moguls will most certainly pilfer again.  Regardless of when (not if) those thieves engineer the next stock market crash, the Social Security Trust Fund will continue to dwindle. 

Nearly every president since LBJ has been looting the Social Security Trust Fund without replenishing it.  LBJ did so to pay for the Vietnam War. 

Ronald Reagan, who, in 1982 boosted the payroll tax to ostensibly increase the Social Security Trust Fund, funneled the revenue into the Treasury’s General Fund, squandered significant chunks of it, and every president since has been following suit. 

It is a scam. Supposedly, the trust fund will be solvent until 2036, but I’m betting on another war or financial “crash” to shorten that projected time line.  Baby boomers looking forward to retiring may have to look for many years longer, and that retirement party might be held graveside.

Medicare and Medicaid could be other Great Society casualties under the Trump administration, and I believe his claim that the election was “rigged.”

Trump’s proposed tax cuts overwhelmingly favor…you guessed it, the rich.  They are the job creators, after all, and doubtlessly thousands of part-time, minimum wage jobs will be so abundant that every working American over the age of 16 can have, and will need, at least three of them.

Trump, throwing a bone to the working class, claims that he wants no part of the Trans-Pacific Pact and wants to tweak parts of the North American Free Trade Agreement.   I am no fan of Trump, but I’ve long endorsed some sort of protectionist policies to help lure manufacturing jobs back to the United States.  

The cynic in me, however, believes international corporations, among others, will convince him otherwise.  Either way, consumers will pay more and get less.  It is the American way and, by the way, the global norm.

Deficit spending using fiat money (currency not backed by a precious metal and considered legal tender), continues unabatedly, and that invariably weakens the dollar.   How long before it becomes worthless is anybody’s guess, but at this rate, it appears inevitable. 

Another  (or continued) war will hasten the process, and we taxpayers will foot the bill, naturally.  

Peace on Earth?  Not when war continues to be, as decorated U.S. Marine General Smedley D. Butler called it, “a racket.”

Ironically, both sides of the political debate are correct when it comes to the economy.  Excessive government involvement means increased government funding, which leads to over-regulation, which inexorably leads to a totalitarian government. 

Conversely, de-regulated, laissez-faire capitalism leads to corporate hegemony, the exploitation of resources – both natural and human, war profiteering and a fascist kleptocracy. 

Choose your poison.  Democrat or Republican? Liberal or conservative?  It does not matter.  If you have to work for your money, you lose.  The international cabal comprised of the ultra-rich wants us to lose.  Big Brother is here, and he has us in a vice grip.

If a Trump administration features social discrimination against minorities and those with alternative lifestyles, all Americans with a conscience should resist, but any suggestion that life for the aforementioned would improve with Hillary in the White House is, from my perspective, overly sanguine.  But that’s the pessimist in me. 

If there is reason for optimism, I welcome the argument.