Monday, December 9, 2013

Freeing corporate greed, corruption, and crime from New Deal shackles

(The Securities and Exchange Commission is a New Deal creation that curbed Wall Street chicanery for decades. Unfortunately, as we continue our departure from New Deal ethics and principles, white collar crime and corporate greed are becoming normalized. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.)

"Wall Street, freed from its New Deal shackles, loaded companies up with debt, cut R&D (research & development), raided pension funds, slashed wages and benefits, and decimated good paying jobs in the U.S. while shipping many abroad." So writes Les Leopold--quite accurately--in his op-ed, "Wall Street's Police State?"   

Leopold asks, "Where is the jobs program for the millions who need it?," and then correctly answers, " interests and their crony politicians have no interest at all in traditional jobs programs that could put millions of young people to work. Instead, they are doing all they can to bring austerity policies to America. The less government spends on public services and safety net programs, the more money it has to support Wall Street."

Indeed, in September of 2012, Senate Republicans blocked legislation that would have created a new CCC-type program for unemployed veterans. As Leopold points out, "...public jobs programs are out of the question, and both parties have been 'convinced' (with campaign contributions) that we can't afford them."

And so this is what happens when a citizenry allows its government to become a full-blown plutocracy. White collar crime is lightly punished (if punished at all), the common good is demonized as "socialism," wages fall, incarceration rises, greed flourishes, and the public will is brushed aside like garbage. As David Simon, creator of The Wire television series, recently wrote in a brilliant piece on economic inequality in America, " my country you’re seeing a horror show." 

It's long past time for a new and stronger New Deal. Unfortunately, as long as we continue to allow corporations to control Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court, we'll never see it.

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