Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Moving the Money: I do not think the eschewing of large profits is what most are advocating as a remedy to our current economic crisis. If one is truthful, most of us would probably love large profits. The issue, I believe, is the running of the ship of state into the ground by the few who would scandalously use often fraudulent economic structures under the noses of the powerless and poor to sweep up for themselves, with government help, an immense and wholly unequal share of the public wealth. The question is, I think, who are we as a culture, as economic graphs show, if a gargantuan part of the wealth of a country is concentrated solely in the top 1% of the population? The answer is we are not a very comfortable or happy place in which to live as the so called American dream -- financial security for us in our retirement years and our progeny for their future -- becomes impossible for most to achieve. This cannot stand and it did not historically stand as the great trust busting years of Theodore Roosevelt show and, later, as Franklin Roosevelt proved during the Great Depression. Sadly, Ronald Reagan, the so called "great communicator," told us to reverse course that little government was the best government and that the forces of the market would wield their magical brilliance for the greater good of everyone.

Again and again, this has proven to be a fallacious philosophical argument as repeatedly we have seen wealth concentrated in the hands of a few means often economic catastrophe. Wealth in the hands of the very few does not, in fact, as Reaganomics told us ad nauseam, trickle down but, rather, stays in the hands of the very few. The few co-opt the many as they tap into a tired old long-time American anti-tax tradition. Anything with the word tax in it can be exploited to convince the American people that government is their enemy not their friend and that the best tax is NO tax at all while the monied class runs off with the store.

I submit government is NOT the enemy and it, indeed, CAN be your friend IF the majority understands the shell game some at the very top try to play. I am not a socialist but I am a fairist . I believe in a fair and transparent economic structure which does NOT soak the rich BUT, rather, requires them to pay their fair share which, I believe, quite ethically, should be more than those who occupy the lower ends of the socio-economic ladder. Through microscopic regulation of big business, government must ensure that too-big-to-fail corporations be disallowed, split up, reorganized and ultimately those that are left contribute their fair share to the tax structure. It means eliminating off-shore accounts, tax havens and unfair trade practices as well.

If the President and his economic team can ever untangle this mess, the bloated few who were responsible for the sub-prime loans, short selling, derivatives, hedge funds, credit default swaps, and other unsavory stock instruments which have nearly brought this country and, indeed, the world, to its knees, be neutered and a new fair redistribution of the wealth enacted through the tax code. Only government can ensure that Wall Street is regulated properly, that too-big-to-fail corporations be broken up, that unfair procedures be terminated and that those who committed unparalleled fraud be jailed. Everyone LOVES the things such as education, roads, bridges, and health care only government could provide everyone but seemingly NO ONE wants to pay for it. It's time someone did.
The Pecuniary Papacy: In response to the March 24, 3009 article in The Boston Globe entitled "Pope urges help for the poor as he leaves Africa," I am always stunned when the Pope, in this case Benedict the VI, the head vicar of Vatican opulence, states that he "urges" help for the African poor. If the Vatican and the Catholic Church are so concerned about the African poor and dispossessed I suggest they sell a few priceless paintings, artifacts gold pieces, rings and other prayerful items suggestive of the Vatican's overflowing fortune to help those poor about whom they, supposedly, care so much. While they are at it they might look into the billions of dollars in secretive Vatican investments, the coffers of which, despite the economic downturn, I am sure are sufficiently well stocked!