Recently Noted – Robert Reich: how we got into this mess and how we get out of it

Recently Noted – Robert Reich: how we got into this mess and how we get out of it

This is a good description of how we got into our current mess; the way out is weaker. Nevertheless, well worth the six minute view.

A few thoughts

To be clear the Great U-Turn (1:21) and  Wall St. Meltdown (2:32) resulted largely from a campaign by the rich and corporations to overturn the gains made by poor, working, and middle-class people to rein in the excesses of capitalism following the Great Depression.1 Armed with their free-market (neoliberal) ideology and limitless money, the rich and corporations took over our political system and imposed their free-market policies thus enriching themselves enormously. Reich mentions Ronald Regan. Mysteriously he leaves out his own President Clinton. Reich was Secretary of Labor under Clinton from 1993-1997. Clinton famously ended welfare as we know it and deregulated the financial system. This latter change lead very directly to the excesses of gambling and fraud in the financial sector leading to the Great Recession of 2008.

Overcoming Neoliberalism (Free-Market Ideology)

The rich and corporations have been hiding the income and wealth transfers, central to our history since the 1970s, behind the neoliberal ideology that has come to dominate our politics and culture. Worship of the miracles of market capitalism is universal and reflexive. Protections of people and the environment from the irrationality and excesses of the capitalist system are described by this ideology as unwarrented government regulation. These are the job killer regulations. Poor people are poor because they lack the moral fiber and gumption to go out and earn a living. Entrepreneurship and wealth are celebrated as the rewards of individual genius and effort.

Who will debunk this self-serving, counter-factual ideology? The Democratic Party? This is the central question that needs to be answered. Who can people look to to represent the interests of the 90%??

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  1. To be sure, other factors such as ubiquitous telecommunications, computers, containerized shipping and others contributed to the changes in the structure of the economy. Other countries, existing under the same conditions, made different policy choices with very different outcomes.