Greed is one of the seven deadly sins, and is the bane of democracy. Greed is defined as the intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth and power. For those who have a lot of money, the one and a half percent of us, there seems to be no limit in their desire to acquire more power and more money. The result is that for the moment we no longer have a Republic nor a democracy but rather a plutocracy.
It is amazing to see to what lengths the rich and the powerful will go to acquire more power and wealth. Larry Kudlow, is trying to make the case, that Plutocracy is “just what America needs.” He went even further in his efforts to justify their new found power by claiming that “wealthy folks have no need to steal.”
Who would need to steal when you have the power to take by making it legal to do so, for if that is the case you are not really stealing are you?
In the past we have had extremely wealthy Presidents who in essence were traitors to their class. Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy took the position that because of their wealth they had a noble obligation to serve the people and to try to provide for the general welfare of all.
With Donald Trump and his cronies we are not so lucky. He and his friends are about to feed at the public trough to their financial benefit and to our detriment.
Government is the enemy for these financial scions. Whatever benefits the markets is their God. The acquiring of money is their goal. For the new barons of Wall Street there is no limit to the amount of money that they can acquire. There is never enough money, they want it all.
The historian David McCulloough, wrote an excellent biography on one of our founders, John Adams, who warned us about the dangers of greed to our democracy.
Adams said, ” Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” He went on further by saying, ” Because power corrupts society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position.” ” Power always thinks that it is doing God’s service when it is violating all the laws.”
We see the wisdom of Adam’s words now more than ever as Donald Trump has assembled a cabinet of the extremely wealthy. He cynically uses his Vice President to sell the public on the false notion that they are doing God’s work. Who are we kidding?
We all have heard or read the biblical admonition of money being the root of all evil. Now we are being sold a bill of goods, in the lie that these wealthy businessmen and women who now seek to govern us, are people to be trusted. Hold onto your wallets!
We are witnessing history repeating itself. Back in the days of the Roaring 20’s, America was sold on the idea that businessmen should run things. After all the business of America was making money, and who else knew more about this than a businessman.
So we trusted the men of the 20’s to make America more prosperous. Income inequality was until now at it’s highest level. Greed went unabated until the stock market crash of October 29, 1929. A tariff was passed that helped led us into a Great Depression.
Now here we are almost a hundred years later, we are being promised that things will be different, that we are going to make America Great Again. That is a nice slogan, but hold on a minute, how are we going to accomplish greater prosperity. In order to compete with China the hope of a protective tariff is being held out to us as a way to bring manufacturing back to America. Hmmn! This sounds like insanity, as we are evidently going to try to do something that failed miserably before on the chance that this time it will work. Who are we kidding?
If we put a tariff of let us say 45% on China made goods, what will prevent a trade war or worse? China is our banker. Are they just going to sit there and do nothing? They buy our T-Bills and buy in essence our debt, and we are going to make them angry. That will really work!
If we repeat our mistakes of the past, greed will lead to our demise just as it did before. The market will crash just as it did before. One reason the depression lasted so long last time is that there were not enough people making enough money to buy our own goods that America made. There are not enough wealthy people to buy enough things to keep prosperity going. Maybe these guys really don’t care what happens because they already have so much wealth that they think that they would be immune from the pain of another crash.
We have a government now where one party holds all of the power. It is now like it was in the 20’s, Republicans hold the reigns if power. What happens now will be their responsibility.
In a way, another of John Adam’s admonitions may come true. He once said, ” Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” Are we not witnessing our own suicide, as those who will now govern, only have one dictum. How much money can we make,through corruption? As Lord Acton once said, “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We can now add to that quote by saying that money corrupts and a lot of money corrupts absolutely. Will there be another Franklin Roosevelt out there who has the wisdom to act on what is quite true, and that is that our democracy for it to work, we have to manage greed?