On his radio show Monday (11/19/12), Tom Hartmann mentioned Ayn Rand’s themes: in her books, “makers” (who owned a lot of wealth because they owned big monopolistic corporations) were “making” jobs which made them noble and dignified. Lower-rank people who did the menial jobs were “takers” feeding off the “generosity” of the makers, helpless without being told what to do. I believe that today things are not like that at all—and I also add “fakers” to the 2012 lexicon of influential creatures.
Mr. Hartmann perceives that today’s “Makers” are the employees who make successful companies run. I agree. “Makers” take care of customers – enter data –ship orders – handle payables—and track accounts receivable. These “Makers” implement processes and maintain procedures. They manage departments. Many of these “Makers” are the descendants of immigrants. Today’s energetic “Makers” open innovative sandwich shops or bicycle stores in strip malls. “Makers” are dedicated teachers developing our future leaders, and selfless firefighters and police making life safe in our neighborhoods. Workers and entrepreneurs are the “Makers” in America.
The “Takers” today are selfish top executives and board members who “Take” enormous salaries—dozens of times higher than their department managers. They “Take” multi-million dollar bonuses and stock options—based on exceeding greedy job performance criteria that they themselves design. They “Take” free rounds of golf at elite country-clubs and “Take” free trips around the world with their families to attend mutual mental masturbation seminars and strategic investment surveys. Their fringe benefits include fancy residences in several different cities. They “Take” exotic vacations provided by vendors and supplicants. They “Take” undeserved privileges every day. They “Take” elaborate custom-designed tax deductions in order to pay little or no income tax.
And my scariest category—not predicted by Ayn Rand—are the “Fakers.” These bought-and-paid-for politicians, prattlers, media pontificators and preachers just pretend they are “working” to do what’s best for all Americans. In fact most are bought and paid for by lobbyists, big corporations, and foreign money. “Fakers” include media puppets at FoxNews, Breitbart, Reason.com, Human Events, etc., as well as mini-church proselytizers and mega-church super-preachers who “Fake” heavenly-judgment fairy tales that foment only fear. These snake-oil charlatans spread tales of impending political, social, or economic horror that never actually happen. They spread fear of “heavenly” retribution against what appears (to perceptive people) as common sense progress...
The “Takers” and “Fakers” provide us government of the 99%, by the millionaires, for the billionaires. Laws are written by lobbyists as directed by big-money-billionaire overlords, and then promulgated state-by-state through false-front political gimmicks such as ALEC and the Tea Party. State legislatures pass laws that require a super-majority (3/5) vote to change or take away anything that is passed by the current legislature. Proof: Wall Street’s lobbyists are flailing all over in their panic to block Elizabeth Warren’s assignment to the Banking Committee! What are they afraid of?
Here’s my example from today’s business headlines. Let’s pick an imaginary airline (any similarity to a real airline is coincidental). Loyal, well-trained and customer-oriented “Makers” are working hard, making the company run smoothly day in and day out, through weather crises and departure delays. These folks “Make” each customer transaction work.
Meanwhile, the “Taker” executives trim every cash outlay to make the bottom line bigger. As execs, they decide NOT to buy new airplanes because they cost million$ each. (Why hurt their bonuses?) They charge customers for luggage—netting billion$ in added profit without any increase in costs. That nifty strategy creates even more profit for “Taker” bonuses. They “Take” their extra income offshore to their tropical tax shelters. They “Take” private jets so they don’t have to endure what their customers endure. Yet, these “Takers” could not check-in a suitcase or issue a boarding pass if their lives depended on it, let alone fly a 747.
The “Takers” brilliantly ‘outsource’ maintenance to contractors paying their employees much less in wages and benefits. Result: cut-rate maintenance crews forget to bolt passenger seats correctly. It’s a bonus-building maintenance process for the “Takers.”
The “Takers” believe pilots are just chattel, like desks and computers. The CEO declares, “Pilots don’t actually generate ‘revenue’ like suitcases do.” So the “Takers” refuse to negotiate fairly with their pilots’ union. Keep costs down and the profits up!
Meanwhile the “Fakers” in Congress keep pushing and passing newer and cleverer ways for the “Takers” to generate more and more profits. Today they work together to cut “burdensome” safety regulations that “just” add to costs. So who cares if people are maimed or killed on the job? The insurance company covers those—there is no damage to “our” bottom line. “Let the Feds to throw out those Sarbanes-Oxley accounting regs so we can manipulate our books like in the old days. More bonus money and perks for us!”
Meanwhile, airlines from other countries are flying brand-new, quiet, fuel-efficient airliners that people are happy to fly on, without fretting about seats breaking loose—or paying exorbitant extra fees to make sure their fresh underwear arrives at their destination…
Religious “Fakers” tell us that devastating super-storms are ‘divine retribution’ for daring to be tolerant of people different from us…or earthquakes are holy judgment for permitting women to have power to make decisions for themselves, about themselves. They claim the Bible is the only true “Rule Book” for business or government management…
Today, though, our “Makers” still make businesses actually function and grow—so they can make house payments, pay bills, and raise families. The “Takers” and “Fakers” are the 1% who started steadily cutting the financial legs out from under the middle class when Reagan got elected. They build bigger and bigger fortunes by creating, passing, and taking advantage of loopholes and loopy tax laws. They grow their incomes because of “sketchy” collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps. They take advantage of tax incentives for moving their money (and U.S. jobs) offshore.
They are supported by pseudo-religious toadies who use “fear of God” to frighten average people into turning over their money—providing nothing but fear, self-loathing and viciously prejudicial memes in return. Today the “Takers” and “Fakers” are stifling the wealth and future of the American middle class.
On November 6, the majority voted for President Obama and put more Democrats into the Senate and into the House. We “makers” need to maintain that momentum through 2014. And on into 2016 and 2018. Maybe by then the takers and fakers will START to get the message…