The Hostile Corporate Takeover of Democracy

Between 1969 and 2014, the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded 46 times to 75 Laureates, and Milton Friedman was only one of those 75 award winners, so why has he been crowned, even in death, as the godfather of modern American economics—is it because he said greed was good and the other winners didn’t?

Milton Freedom gave the greed of the 1% legitimacy with his Noble Prize in Economics in 1976 with his claim that greed is good. Then President Reagan—arguably America’s Mao for the 1%—launched his U.S. Cultural Revolution to privatize government and the public sector (in China between 1949 – 1976, Mao was the enemy of the 1% and about a million were tried by the people and executed).

Forbes reported, “Ronald Reagan was elected in the US in 1980 with his message that government is “the problem”. In the UK, Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979. These leaders preached “economic freedom” (translation: greed is good) and urged a focus on making money as “the solution”. As the Michael Douglas character in the 1987 movie, Wall Street, pithily summarized the philosophy, greed was now good.

The results: starting at zero in 1979, the share of income of the top 1% after taxes grew by almost 150% by 2007, and the share of income for the top 20% grew by almost 30%, but for the rest of us—the other 80%, we saw a decline in the share of our income by as much as –30%. … Wall Street’s profits increased 720%, the unemployment rate grew by 102% and Americans’ home equity dropped by –35%. … Payroll tax revenue increased from 10% in 1950 to more than 40% by 2007, but the share of corporate taxes went from about 28% to less than 10%. – WordPress.com

Can this hostile takeover of the U.S. democracy be reversed?

Maybe, because more people vote during presidential elections so we should expect that to happen again in 2016, and I think the GOP has shot itself in the foot with its first majority in both Houses of Congress in more than 70 years by using that as a false mandate to come out against Social Security (75% of both Republicans and Democrats endorsed a plan to fix Social Security—not destroy it.  – The Christian Science Monitor), Medicare (Over half of Americans support single-payer health care, Improved Medicare for All – Medicare for  All), public pensions (Seventy-one percent oppose reducing pension benefits that are currently being paid to already-retired public employees, while 27 percent favor a reduction in benefits to these retirees. Fifty-three percent of Americans oppose reducing current public employees’ future pension benefits, while 44 percent favor reducing the pension benefits of current government employees who have not yet retired – Reason.com), public schools (47 percent of the public gave their local public schools a grade of “A” or “B,” while 18 percent gave them a “D” or “F.” – Brookings.edu), teachers (70% of Americans trusted grade school teachers – Gallup), etc.

The GOP is even going after veterans’ benefits and the Veterans Administration to continue the spread of the privatization movement there too. Concerned Veterans for America (always the use of misleading titles for these organizations) is calling for the Veterans Health Administration — the wing of the VA that oversees health care — to be turned into an “independent, government-chartered nonprofit corporation.” – Stripes.com

What about the growth of private, for-profit prisons?

Global Research asked if “The Prison Industry in the United States was Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?”

Private security guards have outnumbered police officers since the 1980s, predating the heightened concern about security brought on by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. What is new is that police forces, including the Durham Police Department here in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, are increasingly turning to private companies for help. Moreover, private-sector security is expanding into spheres — complex criminal investigations and patrols of downtown districts and residential neighborhoods — that used to be the province of law enforcement agencies alone. – Washington Post.com

The only way the Democrats cannot win back enough seats in at least the Senate and/or Congress and take the majority back from the GOP during the 2016 election season is if the party refuses to return to their Progressive grass roots that supported the 99% for decades starting with President Wilson.

But if both parties continue to be led by the 1%, then we might see another low voter turnout like we saw in 2014 (the lowest voter turnout in more than seven decades).

Back to Milton Friedman, who, even in death, is still the economic-greed-is-good-god of the 1%.  After Friedman’s death in 2006, Keynesian Nobel laureate Paul Krugman (who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for 2008) wrote that Friedman “slipped all too easily into claiming both that markets always work and that only markets work. It’s extremely hard to find cases in which Friedman acknowledged the possibility that markets could go wrong, or that government intervention could serve a useful purpose.”

And in her book The Shock Doctrine, author Naomi Klein criticized Friedman’s economic liberalism, identifying it with the principles that guided the economic restructuring that followed the military coups in countries such as Chile and Indonesia. Klein is an award-winning journalist who is a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics.  If Klein is right, the hostile takeover of America’s republic and democracy by the 1% will continue until most U.S. citizens have lost many of the freedoms they take for granted.

To read more about the threat from within to the U.S. republic and its democracy, I suggest clicking Paul Horton: Common Core = Corporate Control. One pull quote from that post:

“The idea that the Common Core Standards are the product of a democratic process is simply misrepresentation of fact—a big lie that GMMB, our education secretary, Bill Gates, Pearson Education, and the Fordham Institute propagate. What many rightfully be called corporate-education reform has bypassed the democratic process.”

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal . His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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The going, going, gone American Dream

If Joseph Stiglitz is correct, the chance of achieving a common America Dream is quickly fading for most people in the United States.

What is that “American Dream” anyway?

PBS.org’s Bill Moyers Journal quoted James Truslow Adams, who wrote of the American Dream in 1931, saying the American dream was: “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement…”

However, after founding the US in 1776, the American Dream meant something else to most people. Back then, the American Dream was linked to the migration West toward the Pacific as people searched for some sort of paradise (the grass is greener on the other side of the hill mentality).

In fact, the American Dream has never had just one meaning. To most immigrants coming to the United States, the American Dream means coming to a country free of despotism and burdensome taxes without a hierarchical or aristocratic society that determines the glass ceiling that stops most people from improving status and lifestyles.

Back to the man that says the American Dream is dead—at least the most common 20th century American Dream.

Aaron Task, writing for the Daily Ticker, reports, “Columbia Professor and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz … reaches some startling conclusions, including that America is “no longer the land of opportunity” and “the ‘American dream’ is a myth…”

“In the last 30 years,” Stiglitz says, “the share of national income held by the top 1% of Americans has doubled; for to the top 0.1%, their share has tripled, he reports. Meanwhile, median incomes for American workers have stagnated…” while “…just 8% of students at America’s elite universities come from households in the bottom 50% of income…”

Importantly, Stiglitz believes inequality of wealth and opportunity are hurting the overall economy, by limiting competition, promoting cronyism and keeping those at the bottom from reaching their potential…”

How many common working class Americans do you know of that worked hard to achieve his or her American Dream? And I’m not talking about the Paris Hilton’s of the world that inherited great wealth.

S. M. Miller, From Rich to Richer, says, “Half of those on the Forbes 400 list started their economic careers by inheriting businesses or substantial wealth…only three out of ten on the Forbes list can be regarded as self-starters whose parents did not have great wealth or own a business with more than a few employees.”  Source: Born on Third Base

This means that 120 of more than 310,000,000 Americans achieved the American Dream of success leading to great wealth (those are very stiff odds). I don’t know about you, but I do not know any of those people personally.

Instead, according to Credit Cards.com, in 2008, there were 176.8 million credit cardholders in the US and today, the average credit card debt per household with credit card debt is $15,799. In November 2011, USA Today reported that total student loans outstanding will exceed $1 trillion for the first time. CNBC says short term loans is about $40 billion; small business loans $68 billion; farm loans are $114.2 billion; auto loan debt is $313.8 billion; tax debt owed to IRS is $345 billion; revolving home equity credit is $577.8 billion; revolving consumer credit outstanding is almost $1 trillion, and residential mortgage debt outstanding is $14.64 trillion (and this does not include the national federal debt).

How long do you think the debt ridden US will be able to hold onto that borrowed American Dream?

Discover The True Value of American Idol where one of about 60,000 will win first place and achieve his or her American Dream.

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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