Foxes in the Henhouse

Dear Senator McConnell,

For three decades your party has been deluded by the trickle-down, or supply-side, fallacy. But the change in the fortunes of the American people over that time clearly gives the lie to that theory of economics. We are on the economic road to becoming a true plutocracy, a nation of paupers ruled by a tiny minority of the supremely wealthy.

Often the Gross National Product is trotted out and used as a false indicator of our nation’s economic health. But the GNP says nothing about the economic health of our citizenry. What use is the GNP going up and up if 95% of the populace sees its purchasing ability going down and down.

Before the British conquest of India, the subcontinent was one of the wealthiest of nations (using the term broadly), yet the vast majority of the populace lived in dire poverty. Why? Because the vast majority of the wealth was entirely in the hands of the aristocracy, the Rajahs and Maharajahs. It is just such a nation that we are headed to becoming, albeit without the charming titles and ceremonies.

It is naive at best to believe that deregulating Wall Street and the Banks will lead to a healthier economy and a better standard of living for all Americans. The less regulation and oversight the financial sector receives, the easier it will be for them to engage in ethically nebulous, or even outrightly fraudulent practices. Similarly it is naive at best to believe that the financial sector is composed of honest, ethical people of good will who have the best interests of the nation at heart, which has become obvious in recent days.

An unregulated system will attract to it a disproportionate number of the unscrupulous and criminally minded. And in an unregulated system, the least scrupulous will invariably rise to the top. Though the majority of folks who work at the big banks and investment firms are decent people, they wind up being led by men who have no interest in anything but filling their own pockets at the expense of everyone else.

And this attitude is not confined to Wall Street. One finds this in contemporary American industry, as well. Many are the stories of CEOs who do nothing to help the firms which hired them, but rather do a terrible job, causing their firms to lose market share and money, leading to massive layoffs, and then the CEOs leave with huge contractual separation awards.

But I digress.

If the Republican Party really wants to be the voice of the working man in America, tell President Obama that his regulatory measures do not go far enough. Insist on the repeal of every financial bill Phil Gramm ever touched. Repeal the Financial Service Modernization Act of 1999. Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act. Break up the mega-banks into sensible pieces which are not “too big to fail.” Indeed any private institution which is too big to fail is a danger to the nation, as it can hold the country hostage to its failures, as we have seen.

It is time for the Republican Party to shake off the yoke of its corporate overlords and stand for legislation that supports the true economic health of the nation and all its citizens. Remember, the constitution which you swore to uphold was established to, among other things, “promote the general welfare,” not the welfare of the moneyed few.

Just saying.


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