By Victor M Adamus
My blogging partner Alex wrote a rather thorough history on “dissidents” earlier this week as we have chosen to pick a theme per week to cover subjects of interest to our readers. Modern day dissidents would have to include a Michael Moore or better yet the entire Occupy Movement, millions of people demonstrating in over a hundred cities to change the future of high unemployment and low wages. Where have we heard that from history before?
The Occupy Movement is grimly reminiscent of the days of the Robber Barrons which eventually led to the great depression which lasted 25 years. The free market way of doing business was dead. Capitalism had dug itself a huge hole and it became so frightful investment brokers were literally jumping from windows to their death. Hence the New Deal, where government and union members forged a new economy, a planned economy, which conservatives, even to this day, hate. It also generated the word “liberalism” and in this liberal state people tried to manage the human element of despair.
With regard to property, production, finance and authority the new capitalist were forced to cooperate with the federal government. And from that point forward decisions were no longer made by Wall Street Investors or bankers, but by government bureaucrats in the boardrooms.
Today you have dissidents on one side, the Tea Party, who want the government out of regulating investments. The same held true back in 1929: “There may be depressions, people may suffer, the corpses may pile high, but I bet that in spite of all this I will profit”. “Let there be blood in the streets”, one columnist wrote. But the New Deal survived and with it 70 years of productivity which made the U.S. a leader in world economies and had the highest paying jobs.
The other side, dissidents who have seen the system eroded by the wealthy controlling the U.S. Congress, is the Occupy Movement who wants to crush Corporate Governance mainly because the middle class can no longer compete. Too many Congressmen and Women, Senators and Cabinet level positions, including conservative members on the Supreme Court are siding with what Corporate America wants and not what the middle class feels they deserve: a level playing field.
The 1960’s and 1970’s would have never been the boom days they were without the National Industrial Recovery Act. Minimum wage forced corporations to pay a fair wage to workers and those in management were paid more for company loyalty. But over the past 25 years the scale of wealthy stock holders has increased 231% while the normal wage earner has seen his/her wages go down. This is often referred to class warfare. The outcome hangs in the balance of this year’s Presidential Election.
The second time capitalism failed was in 2008 just before President-elect Barack Obama took office. Surprisingly to most people it was the banks who failed, destroying the housing market, the stock market, and the global investments markets and the U.S. Treasury bailed them out because they were too big to fail. Occupy members and even Tea Party enthusiasts railed against this plot to save those who had killed the American economy. Again, despair played into the hands of a failing economic system called “capitalism”. It created two dissident groups both vying for opposite control of the economy.
But one item that stands above all the rest is that wealthy investors want everything or nothing at all. This will be a hard nut to crack if Obama succeeds in being re-elected for four more years.