For millions of people, America has represented hope. They came as immigrants across the sea in wooden ships. They came with courage and with the frontier spirit. For some they settled in the tide water area of Virginia for many others who came later, it was about the frontier. Each mountain was a barrier, but they overcame those barriers until they reached the Pacific Ocean. It was about reaching out, with courage to the next frontier, looking for opportunity and a chance for a better life.
Government followed them and helped with roads, and railroads, public works that aided their travels, land grants and public institutions of higher education.
The 20th century has seen government and business working together positively to develop the atomic bomb and later when President John F. Kennedy challenged America to be the first to the Moon, government, scientists and business worked well together for the common good.
For thirty years now we have heard how evil, how bad government is. And for the last thirty years we have seen America decline. We accomplish more when we work together. Government can be and has been a positive influence on America. Who among us would give up our Social Security and our Medicare?
Government has provided for and promoted the general welfare of all the people.
During the last thirty years we have told to trust in business, to trust in business to bring us wealth. Wealth obtained through financial transactions has replaced the manufacturing of goods and services. Cheap labor has replaced good paying jobs and in the process like the 1920’s and the 1880’s before, we have seen the decline in the standard of living of average Americans and a great disparity in income between the very wealthy, the middle class and the poor.
“No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.” Adam Smith, the father of capitalism.
Our government has allowed laws that were meant to protect us removed and laws unenforced. Glass-Steagall was overturned. Glass-Steagall was meant to separate commercial banking from investment banking. We saw the error of removing that law when investment banks and commercial banks gambled with the money of their depositors with the crash of 2008. We had credit default swaps and the owners of homes didn’t even know who owned their homes. It was a mistake to overturn Glass-Steagall and we got the Great Recession as a result. Greed had once again reared its ugly head like 1929 and it will happen again if we don’t protect ourselves.
We need a return of Glass-Steagall, and we need to have laws enforced. When laws were broken the SEC did nothing.
White collar criminals need to be punished just as severely as regular criminals. How many bankers went to prison for ruining peoples lives? You’ve got it, zero, the donut hole. They need to be put in jail, not just any jail, like the country club prisons we hear about but real jail.
Banks should not be too big to fail. If the financial institutions were not so large, and the fact that a Great Depression would have resulted from a financial collapse of those institutions, we should have let them fail.
Dodd-Frank has in place greater protections for the consumer, but we need to reduce the size of the largest banks.
Our own Congress is allowed to profit from insider trading, this needs to stop. They should never be allowed to profit at the public trough, nor should their health care system be better than the general public.
Free Enterprise is not free when multinational corporations founded here in America are allowed to outsource American jobs and deposit millions and billions of dollars overseas to keep from being taxed.
Free Enterprise is not free when cheap labor is used to the detriment of American wages. The American consumer has been tricked into the idea of buying goods that are cheap. The danger is as our wages go down, eventually a tipping point will be reached when our income will be so low that we won’t be able to afford to buy things even at Wal-Mart.
The golden goose that is the American consumer is being sacrificed for short term profits. Multinational corporations believe that they can replace the American consumer with a world of consumers. Is it free enterprise when we are being sacrificed on the alter of immediate profit? These companies started right here in America and yet they would kill the goose just for profit.
It is time that America become more self sufficient, and to make things once again. It is not fair nor is it free enterprise when our competitors are allowed to use child labor, unsafe work conditions, and low environmental standards while the American worker plays the game fairly and within the law. I don’t know about you but I am willing to pay more for something if it is made in America. It is the patriotic thing to do.
Dare I say that at the very minimum these companies show no allegiance to America. All they care about is profit.
Today, we see a political party be the apologist for corporate America and we see both political parties with their hands out and their pockets full of money to be the lackey’s of big business to the detriment of our way of life and our standard of living.
The far right wing reviles the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt. But Roosevelt saved capitalism from itself, he realized the need to regulate greed.
We are an optimistic and hopeful people. We need to no longer live in fear, fear of change. Some of that fear came from 9/11 and some has come from hard times. We need to remember our heritage and face the future like our forebears with courage to once again reach for the next frontier, with the realization that the future is ours if we choose to have hope and courage rather than fear and self doubt.