The Pursuit of Happiness

¡Hola! Everybody…
Like many other people in businesses across the nation, we’re having discussions about how to function in the middle of a huge credit freeze. People’s livelihoods are in the balance…

* * *

-=[ The “Free” Market Ain’t Free ]=-

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness… ”


It’s an almost unspoken assumption that part of the “American Dream” that every working stiff should be able to earn enough to own his or her own house and support his or her own family. That’s what it meant to be middle class — and part of the reason why Jefferson put “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” into the Declaration of Independence.

The people who wrote and signed that document knew that the middle class — the bedrock of any democracy — doesn’t materialize out of thin air. That’s why, in the preamble to the Constitution, they wrote that one purpose of government was to “promote the general welfare.” Unfortunately, the reality today is quite different from that sentiment. For more than thirty years the middle class, working poor and poor have been under an assault that has seen this guarantee evaporate. The bedrock of this country — you and I — has been subjected to undeclared class war that has eroded our freedoms and our ability to pursue happiness.

When compared to thirty years ago, we — the middle class and working stiffs — make less money for longer hours in jobs that are less stable. This is a fact, not an opinion.

That’s why I find it almost reprehensible that I’m still hearing sheep bleat bullshit about the free market. What has to happen before the conservative mantra is seen for the con job that it is?!! Folks, let’s make this clear: the current financial mess is the result of years of the anti-government, anti-regulation con that has effectively dismantled the government and any oversight.

They’re still saying the answer to this mess is more of the same. I say this is insanity. I hear people parrot this bullshit and suddenly I’m able to understand why some people willingly drank the Kool Aid. Let’ e make this perfectly clear: the logical end of the free market is not a democracy but a fascist state run by corporations. We’re almost there.

To listen to the right-wingnuts — the people who put the con into conservatism — they will tell you something different. Their belief is that a middle class will miraculously spring into being when the corporate lords are freed from government restrictions.

The way to “grow the economy,” according to these cons, is to “free” the market. “Let business do what it wants!” the cons rail. Freeing the corporate fat cats from government oversight will create wealth, and that wealth will trickle down to us, thereby creating a middle class.

Their belief in “free” markets is a lot like people’s insistence that the world was flat. The free-market propaganda is widely accepted by those in power and many of you reading this today. Anybody who challenges this orthodoxy is labeled unpatriotic or worse, a socialist! ::shiver::

Well here’s the reality for anyone interested in truth and reality:

There is no such thing as a free market

Markets are the creation of government

Governments (i.e., we the people), for example, provide markets with a stable currency for financial transactions. Governments (we) provide a legal infrastructure and a court system to enforce contracts that make the market possible in the first place. We (the government) provide an educated workforce through public education, and those workers get to work by traveling on public roads, rails, and airways provided by the government (us). Business that use the “free” market are protected by police and fire departments provided by the government (us), and they send their communications — from phone to email — over lines owned by the public (us) maintained by the government (us).

Most importantly, the government (us) defines the rules of Wall St. As anyone who follows sports knows, without rules, sports wouldn’t be much fun to watch. Similarly, the situation we face today, business without oversight (rules) will not work. A nation run by corporations is not a democracy but a fascist state — a corporatocracy. In a corporatocracy the rules are made by the corporations themselves and they will always end of screwing you — the worker — in the arse. In a democracy those rules are made by the government (We the People), both through our elected representatives and through the power of collective bargaining with the Lords of Business.

Today we have a presidential candidate, McCain, who has spent the better part of the last quarter century fighting every regulation that ever came up before him. He is part of a movement that wants to quash government. He allies include the influential conservative, Grover Norquist who stated, “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

A government run by corporate lackeys who hate government will never result in a democracy.

For those saying there isn’t much difference between Obama and McCain, I say look again. The lines are clear here. One candidate represents a continuation of a regressive tax policy that benefits mostly the wealthiest 10 percent of the population and the dismantling of government (us). The other candidate is, at the very least, offering a resistance to more of the same policies that have created the current financial mess.

Ain’t nuthin’ free you fools!

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