For the Rich to Keep Getting Richer, We Have to Sacrifice Everything Else
June 19, 2020
They're hoping the endless circuses and trails of bread crumbs will forever distract us from their plunder and the inequalities built into America's financial system..
The primary story of the past 20 years is the already-rich have gotten much richer, with destabilizing economic, social and political consequences. The Federal Reserve and its army of academic / think-tank / financier apologists, lackeys, toadies, apparatchiks and sycophants have several rather thin excuses to explain this away, including:
1. Gee, wealth/income inequality isn't quite as bad as everyone claims. (Actually, it's worse, but never mind unwelcome reality. Let us prove yet again how statistics can always be gamed.)
2. Wealth/income inequality is bad, but it's not the Fed's or policymakers' faults; the causes are all beyond our control: globalization, winner-take-all disruptive technologies, etc. We're just little old innocent bystanders. It's like blaming us for gravity, for goodness sakes.
3. Gosh darn it, the Fed is just trying to help the little gal and guy by digitally printing $6.4 trillion and giving it to parasitic, predatory financiers, banks, corporations and speculators; we're mystified how giving trillions to the already-super-wealthy somehow made them richer.
We've got hundreds of PhD economists working on some arcane mathematical models to help us understand the mystery of why giving trillions to the already-super-wealthy somehow made them richer. It's a real puzzle, but we have our best people on it-- yes siree, our best people.
4. We're perplexed why so little of the trillions we've handed the already-super-rich has trickled down to the little gals and guys struggling to keep their heads above water. We thought the last big tax-cut giveaway would do the trick, but dang, we're guessing it wasn't enough.
So we're thinking that giving the already-super-wealthy another $3 trillion or so might do the trick, and they might tip their maids, dog-walkers, gig drivers, yacht repair people, et al. a few extra bucks--but then maybe not, because the already-super-wealthy tend to be as greedy as all get-out. But we'll keep trying to shovel a few more trillion their way because there's just no other way to help the little people except to print up another trillion and give it to the already-super-wealthy.
What the well-paid army of apologists, lackeys, toadies, apparatchiks and sycophants never mention is that we as a nation have had to sacrifice everything else to ensure the rich will always get richer. Democracy was sacrificed so long ago there's no cultural memory of a time when "democracy" wasn't a pay-to-play bidding war between vested interests, insiders, billionaires, global corporations and political action committees pushing self-serving agendas.
The entire political order of the U.S. boils down to follow the money, as no cause or policy is what it claims. Somebody is inevitably angling for a self-serving sluice of cash that is politely hidden behind noble-sounding rhetoric (tm) delivered via micro-targeted ads served by the social media and advert-search monopolies.
Social cohesion has also been sacrificed, as there's nothing binding the nation together except I got mine greed, narcissism and anger, all of which fuel a blood-soaked circus of fragmentation and disorder.
The systemic asymmetries are so vast, so glaring, so sinful, that the nation's institutions have destroyed their credibility in their frantic efforts to justify the inequalities in wealth, income and power. Alarmingly, institutional insiders are completely tone-deaf when it comes to how their self-justifying bleating plays out in public.
Academics who've gorged on the $2 trillion in student loan debt that's turned the nation's youth into debt-serfs have no idea how lame they sound when they shrilly insist that their class is so valuable that, well, it's worth any price. Students should be thankful they received such incredible value for their $100,000. As for how students are supposed to pay it all back with crushing mountains of interest due the predatory lenders--not our problem.
Healthcare and Big Pharma CEOs must not realize how offensively clownish their defense of $1 million medical bills sound to people who are being forced into bankruptcy so the CEOs can collect an extra $20 million in stock options this quarter.
Yeah, we can really tell how much you care about our health. Bleat away, bozos.
So let's make sure we understand how America's system works. If you're a small business owner whose on the ropes, the federal government may loan you some money, but you have to personally guarantee the loan, meaning if your business fails, you're on the hook as an individual or household to pay the loan back with interest.
If you can't, then personal bankruptcy is your only alternative, meaning you're left with the '97 Corolla and the clothes on your back. Have a nice life, bucko, maybe you'll restore your credit in five years.
If you're the CEO of an airline or equivalent Corporate America darling, it's a much different story. That you borrowed $46 billion and blew it buying back your own stocks so you could cash in millions of dollars in stock options that boosted your personal wealth--never mind that, here's $50 billion in bailout money that won't require you to make any personal sacrifice whatsoever.
No clawback on the billions squandered buying back stock to enrich insiders and rapacious financiers: perish the thought that corporate management would ever be held responsible for anything--certainly not for fraud or embezzlement.
Consider this data base of 6,300 major corporate fines and settlements from the early 1990s to 2015 compiled by Jon Morse. Nobody made any personal sacrifices or paid any personal fines or served any prison time for any of these thousands of violations.
If you want $100 million to buy back shares in your own company, the Federal Reserve and the rest of Wall Street is delighted to help you. That the buyback will increase your personal wealth by $50 million for doing absolutely nothing for society or the nation--you generated no new goods, services, innovations, research or jobs--that's the way our system works.
Generating goods, services and jobs is for chumps. Get over it. The real money is made bellying up to the Fed's free money for financiers spigot.
If you want to save your small business--well, try working a second shift for free.
If you can't pay the staggering medical bills (neatly compiled in an inch thick sheaf of invoices), hey, life isn't fair, declare bankruptcy and start over, you're only 63.
What all the entrenched insiders in America's parasitic, predatory institutions don't dare admit is that to rig the system so they'll keep getting richer, we've had to sacrifice everything else. Having stripped the society and economy bare, there's nothing left but sound and fury, as if they're hoping the endless circuses and trails of bread crumbs will forever distract us from their plunder and the inequalities built into America's financial system.
Here's looking at you, Federal Reserve: here's a chart of your handiwork.
Of related interest:
A Reverse Wealth Effect? (41:52)
My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts
My recent books:
Audiobook edition now available:
Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World ($13)
(Kindle $6.95, print $11.95) Read the first section for free (PDF).
Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 (Kindle), $12 (print), $13.08 ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).
The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)
Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print)
Read the first section for free (PDF).
If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.
NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.
Thank you, Harvey D. ($100), for your outrageously generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.
Thank you, Mark H. ($50), for your magnificently generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.