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Why Can't Americans Learn?

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Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor

It seems to me that, if The Depression and The New Deal taught us anything, it taught us if the people in the middle and at the bottom cease to have money, then the people at the top will ultimately cease to have money. After all, corporate CEOs and upper management "earn" their enormous salaries in conjunction with how much they can skim from the top of the company's profits.

However, we still see articles and letters, like the letter written to The Kansas City Star, which insist on claiming that, if the wealthy are allowed to maintain and even increase their wealth, the economy will thrive and continue to do so.

Sadder yet, wealthy individuals, such as corporate CEOs and upper management, fall for the same philosophy over and over again. When the profits start to fall, expenditures are seen as obstacles to allowing the wealthy to maintain and even increase their wealth.  What these managers do in these cases is akin to cutting off a limb in order to lose weight. 

Since the implementation of NAFTA and other "free trade agreements", tariffs for exporting goods to the US have been greatly reduced or abolished altogether.  CEOs of American corporations, who basically wrote the NAFTA legislation, have been able to outsource manufacturing jobs to China, India, Mexico and other third world nations.  Workers in these countries, willing to work for .50 to $1.00 per hour, without benefits, vacation time or safety regulations, have increased the profits of American based corporations.  The products are made for less and sold for less, even while the top tier of the company's employees continue to collect enormous salaries.  These low prices make American consumers happy. 

No matter how low the prices drop, however, if consumers become survivors because they earn only enough money for the necessities of life, they won't buy the products.  These necessities include medical expenses, a cost that is unbearable by most Americans, even those who are still employed in jobs which pay a living wage.  The logic is extremely simple, yet Americans, especially wealthy Americans, seem to find it very difficult to understand.

Even though, ultimately, nobody wins when consumers have no money, people like the writer of the letter and the upper tier of corporations block that fact out of their minds as the economy slowly goes south. As usual, as long as they're raking in their millions, CEOs don't think about a time when there will be no millions to rake in. Congruently, as long as they still have jobs that pay well, those fortunate Americans buy into this "we won't have jobs if we don't increase the wealth of the wealthy" myth.

The "big picture" is vividly clear and each American, whether a CEO or a middle class worker who's still lucky enough to be employed, needs to look at the big picture in order to figure out his or her responsibility for keeping the American economy strong and helping consumers gain confidence in that economy.  If each of us watches out for only ourselves with no thought of the welfare of other Americans, America will become a land of selfish individuals who will begin to learn what it's like to lose the support of their neighbors.  I'm thinking that, if and when that time comes, the individuals won't like it very much.

On a personal note

I'd like to thank those that have taken the time to read my columns. It means a great deal to me.

I'd like to also thank Rob Kall for publishing my columns at OEN. I feel honored to be published alongside some extremely fine writers.

You've probably figured out by now that I tried to publish a daily column entitled "Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor". I went through one false start.

When I stopped publishing the daily column, I was both surprised and honored that several people wrote to me saying that they actually missed the column.

As you can no doubt tell, I've tried to do it again.

There are several things I try to do in my life, all of which are concerned with getting a message across. Obviously, one of those things is to write a column.

I'm also a published poet and a singer, songwriter.

Finally, I'm studying the Spanish language so that I can communicate with all Americans.
In trying to get a daily column out, poetry, music and Spanish tend to suffer. I don't want them to suffer.

Consequently, I'm going to go from a daily column to a weekly column starting today. Today is Monday, so I guess my column will show up every Monday. This way, I'll have time to research my response to the letters to the editor that I believe need answering and I'll still have time for other ventures.

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Michael Bonanno is an associate editor for OpEdNews.

He is also a published poet, essayist and musician who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bonanno is a political progressive, not a Democratic Party apologist. He believes it's (more...)

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The SYSTEM is parasitic.  Parasites, when the... by Martha Rose Crow on Monday, Dec 1, 2008 at 7:44:24 PM
I like your article and have read many articles in... by Gary Denson on Monday, Dec 1, 2008 at 9:21:30 PM
Socialist, Gary.On the other hand, give me an ethi... by Michael Bonanno on Tuesday, Dec 2, 2008 at 11:01:59 AM
Americans have a history of intellectual capatalis... by matabele on Tuesday, Dec 2, 2008 at 11:15:11 AM
"From the productive according to their contr... by Michael Bonanno on Thursday, Dec 4, 2008 at 2:15:42 AM


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