August 10, 2010
By Chaz Valenza
The realization that America is in a slide, on a trajectory of decrease, "undeveloping" if you will, is dawning on Americans and it's a rude awakening. Who did take it and what can we do about it?
The realization that America is in a
slide, on a trajectory of decrease, "undeveloping" if you will,
is dawning on Americans and it's a rude awakening. I agree with the statement "I want my country back," but not with the sentiment that it has been lost because Barack Obama is president. So, who did take it?
Why are we an 'undeveloping" country? by anti-union.blogspot
Those in the 20% highest income
bracket, the rich and the obscenely wealthy, see a bright future: a
simple two caste system of "haves" and "have nots." A return
to the 1920's, a time to which we now have similar disparity in
To people on the right side of the
wealth skew a financially segregated society, with money and power
consolidated among a few, is comforting. Lose of their current high
position seems impossible and the problem of finding "good help"
is ameliorated. They have only one issue, maintaining the imbalance
To this end they are deploying both
tangible and intangible defenses: the gated and exclusive community;
the security system and body guards; the Ivy League education; the
clout of the lobbyist; the financial corruption of the election
system; nepotism and connections; the punitive wages paid to the
masses; monetary and regulatory barriers to business entry; a
marketplace strangle hold against under-capitalized up-start
competition, and nearly total authority to write the rules of the
The duplicitous "conservatives"
would have American "have nots" believe that illegals took our
jobs, unregulated globalization is the final beneficial manifest
destiny of the free market, our current president is a fascist and a
socialist at the same time, all people of the Islamic faiths are our
enemies, all our enemies are foreigners, too much personal freedom is
a bad thing, and totally free (unregulated) markets are our
It's easy to see the above statements
facie contradictory and/or
convoluted. Not to mention that they are the facade for a
catastrophic amount of fraud perpetrated against the American people.
It's much more difficult to determine
the actual causes of our current descent. At the same time,
uncertainty, dread and the failure of recent actions to correct the
situation make it nearly impossible to remain calm, weigh our options
and take positive actions.
Didn't we elect representation and
leadership that promised change? Didn't we, in large numbers, give
small donations that added up to a big campaign war chest to help
those that promised change gain office? Didn't we plug up a failing
financial apparatus? Didn't we make a huge investment to save
industries in temporary trouble? Didn't we send our politicians the
message that corporate tax dodges and tax advantages for exporting
American jobs are horrendous? Didn't we, the taxpayers, ante up all
we could and aren't we the ones who continue to hold the bag for
deregulated market failure?
Yes, all that and more, and yet the
"undeveloping" continues as Wall Street rallies. What in
heaven's name is going on? I do want my country back, but to get it
back I've got to know who really took it and how.
According to MBG Information Services,
cited in Bob Herbert's The Horror Show (New York Times,
August 10, 2010), "there are now 3.4 million fewer private-sector
jobs in the U.S. than there were a decade ago." Thirty million
Americans that want to work are out of work, while we need to create
an additional 150,000 to 200,000 jobs a month just to keep up with
Obama says the government can do little to help create private-sector jobs. by anti-union.blogspot
Even though the Obama Administration's
effort toward health care and financial reform both lacked teeth and
a moveable jaw, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce intends to spend $75
million to fight democrats in the coming election. (Time Magazine,
August 16, 2010)
Now, the President as dropped his
pledge to renegotiate NAFTA and he has launched a $22 million dollar
program to train 3,000 offshore information technology workers. (Information Week, August 3, 2010)
So, generally, this is how our
government, and more to the point, our society works:
We elect representation based on what
they say during the election campaign.
What candidates say is based on slicing
and dicing various interest groups, religious and moral beliefs, and
issue positions to obtain a winning number of people who will vote
The money to pay for the research to
identify, pars and create the messages to these voters, and the money
to reach them with the correct messages, is donated by people,
organizations and businesses that want policy and regulatory
concessions in return. You and I with our small internet donations
Once the elected official is in office
he or she answers to two groups: those who will provide campaign
financing for reelection and those who vow to spend money against
Hence, your vote and mine are worth
little except on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in
November. Ditto your small donation.
Notice, I did not say this is how our
democracy works, as what I am describing is not a working democracy,
it is a Corporatocracy.
There is currently no difference
between the balance of power and the population wealth disparity: 20%
of the people hold 93% of the wealth/income, while 80% of the people
have 7% of the wealth/income.
Your voice, your vote is only worth
about 1/20 of someone in the top 20th percentile of
American wealth. See:
Wealth, Income, and Power by G. William Domhoff (September 2005,
updated July 2010).
Depressing? Yes. That's why I'm
calling the continuing economic slump, that started in December 2007,
soon to be three years old, the Second Depression.
Unfortunately, President Obama has
stated his belief that there is little government can do to encourage
private-sector job growth. To this I say, Mr. President, you lie!
There is plenty it can do, it just doesn't want to do it because of
how our Corporatocracy works.
A State of Florida Food Stamp call center was off-shored by JPMorgan Chase by consumerist.com
Here are some things you will not see
the government do until the pressure is unbearable:
End offshore corporate and
personal tax loopholes
Enforce existing laws against
offshore tax shelters
End tax incentives for offshore
Institute tax incentives for
American job creation
Make a major investment in
renewable energy infrastructure manufactured in the U.S.
Renegotiate trade agreements for
parity in external costs - pollution control, working conditions,
child labor exploitation, workers injury compensation, etc.
End the subsidy of fossil fuels by
charging for external pollution costs
Enforce product safety laws on
Enforce U.S. food safety laws on
Regulate Wall Street, re-institute
Meaningful health care reform
End oil industry subsidies
Much of the above is simply saying if
you're subject to the law here, your products are subject to the same
laws when they are imported.
If you benefit from being here in the
U.S. you pay tax in the U.S.
If you are benefiting from abusing the
planet or people that cost must be paid, that inequity must be
Watch the jobs, watch the industries,
watch the technology, come home.
Globalization must either be regulated
so it's fair, or call me an isolationist.
We shouldn't be growing any bananas in
New Jersey and, therefore, we shouldn't be importing fresh tomatoes
via air cargo from Israel and the Netherlands.
Did anyone believe we
could import dry wall from China, which weighs a ton, cheaper than we
could make it in Stoney Point, New York? If you didn't hear, it was full of poison. Facts easily indicate when
somebody is cheating.
If the political systems has not be
responsive to our wishes, how do we turn up the heat to get some or
all of the above done? The answer is in the market place. The
system only understand one currency: money.
We must use the market and vote with
our feet. How? Here are some ideas:
Eliminate or decrease your investments
in corporate stock.
Cut down on purchases at corporate
retailers and big box stores, use local independent retailers more.
Cut down on your use of fossil fuels.
Insist on speaking to customer service
people in the U.S.
Boycott the products and services of
companies that are exporting jobs.
Cut your use the expensive corporate
alternative method of payment: credit and debit cards, use more cash.
Buy American made products even if they
cost a more. (They're probably worth it.)
Bank with a local bank or, better,
Unionize your work place.
Boycott businesses that support
Let other people know you're doing
these things and encourage them to do same.
Chaz Valenza is writer and small business owner in New Jersey. He earned his MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business. His current feature film project is "Single Point Failure" an insider's account of how the Reagan Administration caused the greatest tragedy of the space age based on Richard C. Cook's book "Challenger Revealed." He is a former Director of Public Information for Planned Parenthood of NYC. His website is: www.WordsWillNever.com