"Most people think that Americans are generous because we are rich. The truth is that we are rich because we are generous"
-Dr. Claire Gaudiani
What is the point of playing any game if it is rigged for a certain person? Americans are plagued by a continuing epidemic of class polarization that seems to worsen as politicians ad lib economic policy to avoid facing the problem. This theatrical performance has most certainly archived itself in the annals of the Republican Party’s history. As time inevitably directs humanity towards the philosophical left, all that remains for the right is to cling to pathetic myths about tax cuts and frozen spending that make less sense than intelligent design; how ironic. This enchanted system they’ve concocted has been legendarily coined as “Voodoo Economics” by one of the most opportunistic Republicans that has ever entered the political arena; George H.W. Bush, who later ended up supporting the same economic philosophy he attacked, once he was given the nod to run as the vice presidential candidate under the individual he originally mocked for supporting such a ludicrous system. Basically, the GOP has enacted a magical, pseudo-economic philosophy through their historical monopoly of contemporary politics, reigning over the past few decades, that has crippled our economy, and damaged Capitalism as we know it.
Capitalism works like a game of “Chutes and Ladders”. Essentially, everyone makes decisions, and through the rules of supply and demand, they either go up a little, climb a huge ladder, fall back a little, or fall down a long chute. Capitalism will work on its own merits up until a certain point, when the game just becomes “Monopoly” (again, how ironic), where the top starts with hotels on “Boardwalk”, and everyone else with nothing. America has fooled herself into thinking that Capitalism, on its own, is an actual self-maintaining machine that will not ever stop working. Unfortunately for Capitalism this is not true. Fortunately for us, we know this is not true, and we can change it. America has engaged in an over 300 year experimental love affair with Capitalism, and ever since the beginning, there have been wise men and women who warned that it would not sustain itself. Disregarding reason and humanity like we did with regard to slavery, women’s rights, and segregation, we continued to allow Capitalism to thrive unchecked, with an occasional exception or two under progressive politicians, and many of these changes were either undone, or outgrown, as Capitalism, like the untreated cancer it is, mutated around them. Along the way, Americans, especially those who grew to be cozy with the incidental “generosity” of Capitalism, continued to commit the intellectual sin of supporting it, while disregarding the monstrous immorality, or amorality, of this allegedly “lucrative” system. The rich climbed up many ladders in this game, while everyone else either moved up slowly, or fell down the chutes. We have gotten to a point where the top is already at the top of the board game, which has morphed into “Monopoly”, this time with a winner before anyone starts playing. To many, this inequity, especially to those at the top, is considered “part of the game”, and therefore it should not be altered. Essentially what the proponents of this want, is free reign to do as they please in our system. They want to justify their disproportionate wealth under the banner of “free enterprise”. This is one of the cruelest fallacies of human history that has followed us from the shenanigans of feudal governments to President Ronald Reagan’s deregulation of the markets, to President George W. Bush’s unprecedented tax cuts for the rich. It also should be noted that the latter two examples consisted of individuals enacting revenue-killing policies coupled with increased spending, and I mean A LOT of spending, like $11.5 trillion dollars**, that occurred under President George W. Bush, alone. Unregulated Capitalism leaves the moral script of this mechanism blank, and provides the top with the authorizing rights to write whatever morality they seem fit. As a matter of fact, they have already written that morality. These institutions have decided that under American Capitalism, banks can pay bonuses to their CEO’s with tax payer funded bailout money, insurance companies can plunder the wallets of consumers by raising premium costs when a “customer” is sick, big oil companies can bask in tax loopholes with offshore accounts, and politicians can accept huge lump sums of money from special interests. These perversions to the fairness that this country was founded on are fanned by those who benefit from the status quo, which is unregulated Capitalism.
The way to fix this nightmare is neither easy, nor quick, but something this country can achieve. To do this, we must begin to take back the definition of “fairness”, and change it to include the middle class and those in poverty. We must regulate Capitalism. This starts with campaign finance reform so that we can have an honest, healthy debate about our options. Once this occurs, I bet there will be epiphanies throughout the federal government and state governments with respect to raising taxes on the rich, closing tax loopholes, holding polluters accountable, a single payer health care system, limitations and rules on the government bailing out Wall Street, etc. The way to prevent “Chutes and Ladders” from becoming “Monopoly” is to let the top dogs essentially play another game of “Chutes and Ladders” with themselves. Although they will still be connected to everyone else, they will not be allowed to affect whether or not others can climb up the ladders. The necessity to concede that we need regulation in our capitalistic system is imperative. Doing this will be the first, but most radical step, and as a people, we must overwhelmingly support it. Once this happens, we can go through the ideas to strengthen Capitalism, we just need to admit to ourselves first, that right now, the fundamentals of the system are weak.