Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Let's declare our independence... from the super-wealthy


Above: "Liberty or Death: Don't Tread on Me," an oil painting by James L. McCreery (1901-1970), created while he was in the New Deal's Section of Fine Arts, 1943. This painting is in the State Department Building (also called the "Harry S. Truman Building") in Washington, DC. It's one of the last New Deal artworks, and McCreery was paid $1,200 to paint it (about $17,000 in today's dollars). It is a very large painting, 8 and 1/2 feet wide by 9 feet tall. 

What a great symbol this painting would be today, for the American people to declare their independence from their super-wealthy overlords - overlords who have sent their jobs overseas; hijacked their democracy; engaged in all manner of financial & environmental misdeeds; and made it virtually impossible to fix American infrastructure - all the while investing in bombs and missiles that kill tens of thousands of people across the globe every year. (With respect to the latter, see, "3 Ways to Profit from the Endless War on Terror," The Street, May 21, 2016, where the author gives the self-absolving, obligatory, and ultimately soulless statement: "This isn't the appropriate venue to judge whether massive defense spending is beneficial for humanity and the planet, whether it is an effective use of capital or whether it even keeps us properly safe. To use a popular expression: It is what it is." How nice it must be to wash away all sense of responsibility by simply saying, "This isn't the proper venue" and "It is what it is." And how easy it must be to say those things, when it wasn't your family wiped out by a missile.)

To "Make America Great Again," we should declare our independence from the super-wealthy, tax the hell out of them, and demand public financing for all future election campaigns for high political office. Enough of this dark-money, Koch-network, corporate free speech, Super PAC b.s. In other words, democracy, not plutocracy. That goes for you too, Democratic Establishment. 

Image above courtesy of the General Services Administration (GSA) and Carol M. Highsmith. Information about the painting gathered from the GSA and also from the Final Report of the Section of Fine Arts, Federal Works Agency, Public Buildings Administration, 1933-1943.

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