With another election year upon us and with the economy as the pivotal issue, the Democratic Party would be wise not to overestimate the intelligence of the American electorate. The promotion of some fundamental truths is in order. First and foremost, the United States was established as a capitalist economy. In a capitalist culture the government does not control the flow of the economy, capitalists do. Furthermore, they are able to operate with minimal government intervention. This arrangement is referred to as a “free market system”. The first president to intervene in matters of the national economy was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Ironically, FDR’s legislation was drafted to protect the American citizenry from the abuses and downright lawlessness of the capitalist hierarchy. As Herbert Hoover succinctly stated, “The only thing wrong with capitalism is the capitalists. They’re too damned greedy.”
One must only examine the history of Wall Street to fully appreciate its sociopathic practices and relentless disregard for American values. The roots of the New York Stock Exchange were planted by an elite group of bankers and investors whose ambition was to broker deals in the slave trade from the West Indies to the Southern states. Even while thousands of New Yorkers were enlisting in the Union Army to fight a war to end slavery, Wall Street conducted business as usual right up until the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. This same fraternity was responsible for suppressing any legislation which would impede the rise of the robber barons during the industrial age. Later, during the Taft administration around 1912, the Chamber of Commerce was established as a unified front to repel the rising tide of the organized labor movement. In no uncertain terms, these are the capitalists to whom Herbert Hoover was referring.
Following World War I the United States experienced an economic boom and, for the first time, evolved into a consumer economy. The production and sale of consumer products like radios, apparel, and automobiles employed a large population, which produced a substantial sum of discretionary capital throughout the new middle class. Wall Street has always maintained a philosophy of elitism by which money is extracted from the many and put into the hands of the few. Wall Street set upon a course of action to separate the middle class from its financial optimism. First, brokerage houses and banks inflated the value of many common stocks up to fifty times their actual worth to encourage speculation. Then, several of these institutions established betting parlors where anyone could bet on the movement of chosen stocks without actually owning them. A financier named John Jakob Raskob devised a system by which individuals could buy stocks on credit (margin) provided they could produce collateral. During the 1920’s everyone was in the market from politicians to shoe shine boys. Toward the end of the decade consumer spending began to dissipate. Satisfied that all the discretionary capital was on the table, the self-proclaimed capitalist illuminati played the trump and, without apology, left tens of thousands of small investors holding the empty bag.
Following the election of 1932, the Roosevelt administration put into place a set of provisions which would prevent most of these practices of blatant fraud specifically where public money was involved. Guidelines were established to give the impression that the banking system would be monitored. The Reagan Administration with its “set the bull free” initiative repealed nearly every article restricting the risky, if not fraudulent, practices of Wall Street institutions. The last of these provisions was removed through a combination of coercion and enticement of Crypto-Republican Bill Clinton. This led to a repetition of these exact same abuses whereby fictitious corporations, which recorded absolutely no revenues at all, were sold to unassuming investors by brokers who exaggerated stock value. The result was the collapse of the NASDAQ boom. The only aspect of the Roosevelt reforms that remained active was the one which gave Wall Street the keys to the United States Treasury so the American tax payer reimbursed any institution that lost money in these reckless transactions. To paraphrase: Wall Street can bet snake eyes on every roll of the dice. If they win they keep the money. If they loose the taxpayer pays their gambling debts.
Apart from Wall Street there is an inexhaustible supply of examples of economic muscle displayed in the political arena at every level. When President Obama announced his intention to roll back tax abatements to oil companies, the price of gasoline increased by twenty cents per gallon overnight. When MacDonald’s was found to be negligent in a product liability suit they appealed the decision then financed the campaign of the judge who they bought-off. They paid for the character assassination of the judge’s opponent and the outcome was predictable. Private interests, among them the Koch brothers, pay for many of the negative ads against President Obama. These are the guys who sabotaged the development of biodiesel. As this alternative fuel was gaining in popularity throughout the southwest, the Kochs hired a public relations firm to implant phony articles in newspapers and journals reporting the starvation of little children as a result of corn shortages from the redirection of the crop to biodiesel production. They bought off Willy Nelson who was a principal spokesperson for clean energy and biodiesel disappeared from the landscape of the trucking industry. The previously mentioned Chamber of Commerce sponsors many of these derogatory ads. The COC is just what it advertises with a single agenda to prohibit the interruption of commerce by any means necessary including lowering wages, removing environmental protections, deregulating banking, crushing unions and eliminating workers’ benefits. (This does not include 401K’s, which provide Wall Street with an endless supply of gambling capital). College dropout, Karl Rove, who is the highest paid liar in American Political History, also heads a political action committee intent on defaming this presidency. These are but a few examples of the entities, which own the Republican Party lock, stock, and barrel. Mitt Romney has adequately exposed his arrogance and ineptitude. The Democratic Party should adopt a strategy of exposing the individuals financing this smear campaign along with their puppet.
Greed is the only addiction that is socially acceptable. In the 1960’s there were two billionaires in the United States. Today there are over four hundred. These individuals, as a unit, could have single-handedly bailed out Wall Street in 2008 where many of them made their fortunes. Instead, the American taxpayer had to foot the bill. This is the fulfillment of the Republican master plan. The Republican leadership is now withholding support for legislation it endorsed and, in some cases authored, five years ago for one reason. They are not about to let some unknown n*** from Chicago force Democracy down their throats. The private interests, which own the Republican Party, have this economy in a stranglehold. We not only need to re-elect this president, we need to retire this clan of diehard White Supremacists and bring true Democracy to the American people in the twenty-first century.