There have been many articles recently reviewing what happened in 2008 and how things have evolved since then. It’s a good thing we’re thinking about it, but there seems to be a tinge of inevitability to our memories, as if it was all a fact of nature and we need to understand the science of how things turned out as they did.
That’s wrong. Blithe confidence in deregulation caused the crash. The Koch-controlled Republican Party chose—with unconscionable cruelty—to prolong the pain of the downturn, so as to get a new President who would deliver massive tax cuts for the ultra-rich. (Remember the “balanced budget amendment” and compare with the current deficits.) And they have placed in power and continue to support a person who in their own words “continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.” It’s a good idea to think about the crash.
Despite the much-discussed topics of globalization and automation, we are not living with unsolvable acts of God. And there are no secret demons running around hidden in the depths of the administrative state. Dramatically rising inequality—and the decline of the middle class—is not an accident, but a chosen result. The deep divisions that exist in our society are not an accident, but a chosen result. Follow the money. Divide and conquer is nothing new.
This country has dealt successfully in the past with industrialization and massive immigration. And was stronger for both. And we were able to share that prosperity more broadly than it had even been done before. We can do it again. The current, hard-won worldwide prosperity should be good for everyone if it weren’t being sacrificed to greed.
This isn’t going to be easy. The current inhumane, anti-democratic Supreme Court will be around for a long time. The much-encouraged divisions in the society will not heal easily. But we can start by heeding the recent advice of John McCain and vote out this cult that can’t even be called conservatives. Democrats have a great variety of people running in this critical election. Breadth of opinions is a good thing. Belief in democracy is a requirement.
This needs to be done. What we do matters everywhere. We are the leaders of the free world, and that leadership is dearly missed.