That slogan was inherently contradictory – you don’t solve a problem by becoming part of it. But apparently, the majority of Americans didn’t recognize that obvious contradiction … or they engaged in wishful thinking that one day they might be in a position to take advantage of a corrupt system that would bestow great wealth and power upon them – what social scientists call aspirational delusion … or they were mesmerized by another glib-talking con man, who appealed to their secret racist hearts. Or all the above.
Whatever the reason or reasons, too many Americans continued to vote against their own interest, and Reagan’s idiotic slogan became a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. With the gutting of unions, tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation and merger mania, the government boot Reaganites fantasized about became a reality with the corporate boot, a boot planted firmly on the neck of ordinary citizens. And with all that, Trickle-Down Economics became Trickled-On Economics, and the decimation of the American middle class continued apace.
Reagan was an economic illiterate, but one of the chief architects of that so-called theory was Grover Norquist, a trust-fund baby, who laid-out the real aim of so-called Reaganomics: “I don’t want to get rid of government; I just want to get it small enough to drown in the bathtub.” Thanks to the politics of greed, we now operate under what would rightly be called Trust-Fund Economics, that is government of, by and for those who least need help from the government.
That economic system was granted even more power, as a result of the terrible decision in Citizens United that rendered corporations “people” and money “speech”. It’s no wonder ordinary citizens view Legalese as a foreign language
As gross income equality and flat-line wages make plain, the decimation of the Middle Class is now fait accompli. The American Dream is on its deathbed; all that remains is for the Masters of Greed to get rid of what remains of the social safety net, and they are taking dead aim at Social Security and Medicare.
Can the patient be saved? Perhaps, but it won’t be easy, since so many citizens these days are kept placated with bread and circus, and so few citizens bother to educate themselves as to just how dark a place we are in at present.
With this next election we will be on a permanent path toward Oligarchy or Social Democracy; we will become either the next Russia or the next France – or Canada, if the latter country’s model of social democracy is more acceptable to the minds of the ordinary ill-informed voter.
If we don’t start moving in the direction advocated by Elizabeth Warren and her wealth tax, it’s game over. The Masters of Greed will have won the war, and Capitalism will be replaced with a return to Feudalism, or as I prefer to call it Futilism, a system in which it is futile to even dream of a better life for yourself or your children.
©2020 Tom Cordle