The Economy Sucks and it’s not Going to Get Better

It’s time for some tough love folks. The sad fact is that the economy sucks and there’s nothing we can do about it within the confines of our current political system – it’s rigged.

Unemployment will continue to hover around 10 percent for years, with real unemployment at closer to 20 percent. Wages will continue to fall. Health care costs will continue to skyrocket. Home foreclosures will … well, you get the idea.

New York Times Columnist Bob Herbert wrote today about “Long-Term Economic Pain.”

Citing a new report from the Rockefeller Foundation, he said, “Rampant joblessness and skyrocketing medical costs are among the biggest factors tearing at the very fabric of American economic life so painstakingly put together in the early post-World War II decades.”

And what’s being done about all of this? Well, President Obama was able to get a watered down health care bill through Congress, but it’s weak and it doesn’t kick in for another four years.

“Policy makers,” Herbert wrote, “have dropped the ball completely in terms of dealing with this devastating long-term trend of ever-increasing economic insecurity for American families. Long-term solutions that have to do with extensive job creation and a strengthening of the safety net are required. But that doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s agenda.”

What policy makers do care about are their corporate and wealthy benefactors. That means deficit busting tax cuts for the rich.

Since the early 1980s, when President Reagan convinced Americans that slashing taxes for the well-off would magically lead to more and better jobs, income inequality has skyrocketed. We called that voodoo economics – voodoo indeed.

Slashing taxes on the rich is wealth redistribution.

A report by Emmanuel Saez details this trend to redistribute the wealth upward and the effect on income inequality.

Emmanuel Saez report on income inequality

Emmanuel Saez report on income inequality

Since 1979, income inequality has tripled.

Too many people fail to make the connection between tax cuts, income inequality and jobs. Tax cuts don’t create jobs. Tax cuts for the wealthy do one thing and one thing only – they make rich people richer.

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett

Look at who’s suffering out there, it’s not Warren Buffett or Lloyd Blankfein. It’s the workers who have no job, their unemployment is gone, their homes are foreclosed and they’re living on the streets.

This is our nation’s future. This is what happens when our political process fails to represent the people, but rather the corporations instead. Without political reform, I’m sorry to say, we’re doomed.

For starters, we need publicly financed campaigns, because the current system is rigged. It’s ridiculous that we have an electoral process where people can essentially purchase seats in the House and the Senate. How would we feel if people were allowed to purchase police protection? Yet, it’s OK for the wealthy to purchase lawmakers, but it’s illegal to purchase law enforcers. Which has more real impact? I’d say the lawmakers do. That’s where the money is, and that’s where the power rests.

Until we fix our electoral process, we will continue to slide down the rabbit hole. At some point we will be too far gone and rampant poverty will destroy us. It will happen. It is happening. We need to focus on the real threat.

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