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“This was my first lesson about gambling: if you see somebody winning all the time, he isn't gambling, he's cheating.” Malcolm X

What America requires to salvage the middle class and get the working class off food stamps, will not make a single politician or lobbyist rich. There is no profit in doing what is best for ordinary American people. If we are to return to one America, the America we once dreamed this country could become, we must unite, combine our voice, and demand what it is that we need. Let us start with a lobby of people to rival Big Business’ money lobby. It is our country. Let us take it back.

The world as the “new economist” knew it ended on September 15, 2008. Five years later, while economists continue to mourn the death of free market economic theory and attempt to calculate own greed elasticity at levels so enormous it nearly toppled the global infrastructure, the working class has been obliterated and the middle class is disintegrating faster than a wet Kleenex.

After believing and ceding the education of our young to the experts who claimed our children knew less than the children of emerging countries did, we inadvertently surrendered our country’s competitive edge. Our children can regurgitate worthless trivia, but we deemed the common sense reasoning ability, the critical thinking skills we ourselves received from our uneducated but wise parents and grandparents too primitive to pass on. Our standardized education cheapened creativity. Conformity and accommodation replaced class discussions, individuality, and self-expression. We succeeded in equalizing the education of our future generation to that of emerging counties. We are now paying the price for that equalization.

America’s “new” competitive strategy seems very similar to the one practiced for years by emerging companies. We buy out the competition rather than compete with them. We have diluted the meaning of innovation to exclude risk and our new definition does not allow for pursuit of ideas or inquiry, only certainty of profit. We are leaders of duplication, imitation, rebranding, and efficiency. Our new economic model creates demand for the regurgitated products corporations supply. We microfinance our true inventors, the guardians of our destiny, and we bankroll status quo and mediocrity. We have devalued human capital into obsolescence. We manufacture more stock value than any other product in this country, and while we imagine the bubble will not burst, we are not concerned because our back up plan is a Congress who will bail us out when we crash.

Our greatest mediocre achievement of the decade was the offshoring of the very industries that created and sustained the tax paying middle class. America can not compete with third world countries for manufacturing? 50 years ago that would have been an absurd notion. Amid rumors of structural unemployment, findings that economist now admit are unsubstantiated, we marginalized and humiliated our working class. Incredulously, we compounded this gaffe with the offshoring of white-collar jobs, providing the once middle class, with the remaining blue-collar jobs that belonged to our former working class.

We focused our economic efforts on tech startups aimed at attracting young entrepreneurs to the city and these had little impact on job creation. Our children have no idea how to create. They rehash music, movies, and books. They have provided us with a proliferation of Apps. We have created very little that is new in this country for years. Therefore, as it turns out, the demand for labor is for jobs held by employees who are now retiring. These are not STEM jobs, but jobs that require expertise gained from on the job training.

Our informal economies have finally found their moment in time. Our unemployable working class pushes food carts throughout the neighborhood, selling oils, jewelry, blankets, tee shirts, and used clothes on our streets. Our underground economies are the only companies with genuine growth and unlike most publically traded companies, they can withstand the most conservative valuation scrutiny. They sport a balance sheet of liquid assets and nearly no debt. What is more, the underworld appears to be the only employer hiring Americans without college degrees.

Economists, divorced from reality, are now recognizing what those of us who live in the real world have always known. Our financial markets might be international and we may trade globally, but all economy is local. It always has been and it always will be. If you move all your jobs overseas when most of your customers are located in America, you cannibalize your customers and that concept is a little bit different from cannibalizing products.

It is not necessary to be a financial whiz kid to understand what grandma meant when she said, “you can’t get blood out of a turnip.” Each time the price of gas creeps closer to $5 a gallon, the common sense of her words hits home. We simply cannot pay what we do not have. This is especially true if we only make $7.50 an hour. The day Regan fired the air traffic controllers is a day that continues to haunt us. The value of unions is now sharply regaining focus. We never imagined our wages would decline over time. While we all may not have a college degree, we do not need a degree to understand that if Walmart and Mac Donald’s are the only companies creating jobs, and Congress is cutting food stamps, we are going to starve to death.

We are experiencing a period of global exploitation, a period when those who are poor and vulnerable, work to create value and wealth for those who are rich and powerful, but these deny the poor a fair share of this wealth. Big businesses accept subsidies from the government to move their businesses into impoverished areas and to build housing for those who are poor. Like a slick magician’s trick, Big Businesses are the only beneficially of the government’s efforts to stimulate the economy. With taxpayer money, these businesses relocate their high tech fortresses into the inner city constructing barriers designed to keep the poor away. They apply employment tax credits to current employees; providing only the lowest paying, dead end jobs to community residents. They build overpriced, so-called low-income housing, designed to horde all the Section 8 vouchers for the next 40 years, but the poor who are homeless, have  more than one child, have bad credit or felonies are not able to reside in these skyscrapers, that were built with money meant for the poor but, that were never built for the poor.

John F. Kennedy concluded in 1963, that it is absolutely the government’s role to alleviate poverty and ensure that ALL of its citizens have the “equal right to develop their talent and their ability and their motivation, to make something of themselves.” This country is comprised of people with various intellectual abilities and talents. Those who are not scholars are no less citizens than those who run Fortune 500 companies. If the right to pursue our own personal American dream is inalienable, then the current demand for a college degree as a prerequisite to a living wage is a violation of the very foundation of this country.  

12% of American citizens find themselves excluded from our current economy. At this point in American history, there are no plans to draw these ones back into the mainstream. They sit on the fringes of our society, and become our politicians’ tail that wags the dog. This is unacceptable. Everyone who wants to work should have an opportunity to do so. It is unconscionable that Americans have become hirelings, slaves who toil to realize the dreams of others with no hope that they can improve their lives or the lives of their family members. Every American should have the opportunity to make his or her own dream of prosperity a reality.

It is true that the poorest American is better off than those who are poor living in Calcutta, the Congo, or Afghanistan. We give our poor $4.50 a day to eat. We begrudgingly provide medical care to our elderly and our disabled. We build homeless shelters for our veterans. Is that the best this country can offer? Are we reneging on this Country’s promise to provide for the “general welfare” of all of its citizens or has America’s minimum standard of living declined along with wages? Is the Calcutta standard the new American standard?

The words of a former IBM executive summed up what our corporate leaders, financial strategist and politicians have made plain to Americans. “The fundamental goals of the country and of our companies have diverged.” If we can no longer rely on corporations, as employers, to do what is in the best interest of the country. Those of us who are paying attention must realize that it is time for us to act.

This is America. The pie is big enough for all of us. Not only is it big enough for us all, we can all have as much pie as we desire because the pie only grows as our dreams for prosperity are realized. This is high school level macro-economic theory.

It appears that those who are in leadership positions have book smarts but lack simple “mother wit.” They are not our best or our brightest. Even if they wanted to, and they do not want to, they are not going to save us because they clearly do not know how. Our politicians and those in control of big businesses are victims of that new-fangled education that taught them what but not why or how. It taught them profit but not empathy. They memorized ethics, they did not internalize its principles. They learned how to manipulate the market with short-term antics, but they failed to learn how to grow a business with a long-term strategic vision. They do not impress us because anyone can get ahead if they cheat. Cheating is cheating, even if there is no law against it. Controlling what lawmakers criminalize cannot make the indecency decent.

Americans must help America. Not with strategies derived from think tanks of so-called academics, who switch sides chasing the largest payoff. We help ourselves by returning to common sense economics. New economics makes the rich richer and the poor are merely indentured servants. New economics ignores the 8th grade concept of circular flow of income. It may ignore it, but it cannot invalidate it. Old economics provides us with a fighting chance.

The only way to create jobs is with investment in business activity and startup ventures. We need businesses in our own neighborhoods. We needed to support local businesses owned by people who live in our communities. We need to invest in businesses that employ our children and grandchildren in our own neighborhoods and pay them a fair and livable wage. We must demand that the government subsidize local businesses, not international corporations, so that we can create jobs where we live, for our families.

We have not, in 50 years, succeeded in building ourselves out of economic or social problems. We must insist that the government stop funding building projects that enrich developers, contractors, and management companies but provide little to benefit to our communities. We no longer want the pennies corporations donate to our neighborhoods. We want the dollars they suck out of our communities. We do not want Walmart to move into our neighborhood. We want to own our own Walmart in our neighborhood.

No one can look after our interest as well as we can. Big Business has benefited from government spending largely at our expense. Big Business has not demonstrated any loyalty to working class or middle class America. It is time we demanded that our government invest in us. It is time that we demand that our government provide the same entitlements to us that they provide to corporations. Americans do not need more food stamps. We need access to the same capital the government provides to Big Business. Not the micro “starvation” funding they currently offer, but major “enough to hire 1000 people per business” kind of finding and contracts. Americans do not need another extension of unemployment benefits. We need jobs. If Corporations refuse to create new jobs paying decent wages, then we must insist that our government invest in us and we will create the jobs we need ourselves.

Americans must take America back from Big Corporations. Let Big Business debate the effectiveness of NAFTA and WTO. They created those monsters. Let them fix them. Let them argue over the tax code. The conversation is moot for 47% of us anyway. Let them argue about deficits. Real entrepreneurs understand there are only two ways to profitability. Increase revenue or decrease expenses. They have not yet devised a fake financial scheme to manipulate the government’s books. Since Big Business carpetbaggers are short sighted and have no imagination, they are on both the receiving end of government expenses, and incentives keep them from paying revenue to the government. Greed will not allow them to give up the big contracts or to pay taxes so the deficit debate far from ended.

Big Business owns Congress but they do not have enough money to buy America. We are America. We built America. It is time we remind Wall Street that all they succeeded in building was a house of cards. We built this and we can re-build it.

What America requires to salvage the middle class and get the working class off food stamps, will not make a single politician or lobbyist rich. There is no profit in doing what is best for ordinary American people. If we are to return to one America, the America we once dreamed this country could become, we must unite, combine our voice, and demand what it is that we need. Let us start with a lobby of people to rival Big Business’ money lobby. It is our country. Let us take it back.

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