Published on
the Waco Tribune-Herald (Texas)

Crash You Heard? Temple of Corporatism Falling

Charles Reed

Not only has it failed - it has failed miserably. Now, as in 1929, it will take decades of high taxes and hard work just to clean up the mess it has left us with. But something good could also come of it.

On that recent Sunday evening, I read online that Lehman Brothers was going into bankruptcy. I instinctively knew that was it.

I told my sister and my wife that the stock market was going to crash the next day. It did.

The stock market crash and financial meltdown on black Monday marks the end of the unfounded faith in unregulated capitalism - the main pillar of the conservative ideology. Conservatism was the main casualty on Wall Street that day.

It now appears that America is being forced to choose between fascism and socialism. Not so fast. A little procrastination can sometimes be a virtue.

Isn't it ironic: George W. Bush and Henry Paulson telling us that a $700 billion bailout of the Wall Street moneychangers is needed because only the moneychangers who caused the problem know how to fix it?

The perpetrators must be bailed out, and their innocent victims must be punished.

In the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who guided America through the Great Depression, it's time once more to drive the moneychangers from the temple. It's time to restore moral government - government of, by and for the people. It's time to end corporatism.

Sometimes language is the best measure of real values. During the Reagan era, the vulgar phrase "human resources" crept into common usage. Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks recently used the term "human capital" twice in one column. Relegating human beings to the level of capital is the language of slavery.

For decades, American government has valued the health and wealth of business corporations over that of people.

Government is on a hair-trigger to save and protect corporations, but has refused for over a century to adopt basic health care for all human beings.

Our government operates on the notion that, if you take care of the corporations, people can fend for themselves. That's backwards. If you take care of the people, corporations will always be able to take care of themselves.

Democrats in Washington need to be very leery of the Bush/Paulson corporate bailout. First, it may not even work. Second, done wrong, it could politically tie the hands of government in addressing people problems.

Whatever happens, government should proceed full speed ahead to address our people needs.

Our government needs to repeal the global economy. Except for oil, we need very little from other countries for a robust economy that would provide middle Americans with everything they need and most of what they want. Globalism is nothing but a world-wide conspiracy against working people.

Our government needs to institute universal health care. Not only would it not cost a penny - it would save hundreds of billions of dollars annually. The only obstacle to universal health care is the special interests of insurance companies, drug companies and medical providers.

Our government needs to provide for universal education. Middle-class college students should not have to borrow a year's salary just to get a college degree. And colleges and universities need to return to education instead of free corporate job training.

Our government needs to re-regulate the utility industry. Proper government regulation of utilities would save middle Americans countless hours of studying the fine print of gas, electric, telephone and cable company plans, in addition to billions of dollars in excessive rate charges. We need to let moral and democratic government negotiate fair rates for us.

Economic populists and progressives should not look upon the current financial and economic crisis as a problem, but as an opportunity - an opportunity to restore moral and democratic government, and to complete the unfinished work of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. People first.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

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Charles Reed is a retired civil servant and the former mayor of Waco.

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