Can we 99% ask for a refund from the 1%?
Can we 99% ask for a refund from the 1%?
Back in the 90s the free-trade/globalization movement that had begun in earnest a decade earlier took full shape. At the time we had a Democratic President in Clinton who along with some Democrats from his party and most Republicans passed NAFTA and a host of other free trade / open border globalization economic policies.
The American people were told that if they supported globalization even if it led to outsourcing, the next phase in the economy would be one long boom because manufacturing was a dead end and part of the old economy. The new jobs would be the service industry in an office and or people would get to work from home, etc.
Enough people bought into this new economic ideology that in the 1990s the switch over began in earnest (long planned but carried out under Clinton).
Now we have had 20 plus years of this economic philosophy and the experiment has failed for most Americans.
With that in mind, the American people have every right to ask for their money back from the top 1% to 2% of the population through their spokesmen that lied to them about the benefits of this new economy. If an automobile performed as poorly as the globalized economy did it would have been recalled.
Globalization was supposed to prevent the economic down turn that happened. In fact it allowed it to spread like wildfire. Deregulation was supposed to also keep the economy booming and it caused a financial melt down.
The top 1% to 2% made a killing in the last 20 years by advocating globalization (cheap labor, union busting) and deregulation and cutting govt services.
The trade off to the 98% would be they would have more jobs, and cheaper goods to spend their money on.
But outsourcing production for example did not get the American people a discount. The vast difference in low production cost versus the sales price to Americans was pocketed by the top 1%. That is how some of the wealth transfer worked in earnest. Do you see much a difference in the retail cost of a product made overseas compared to the cost of a MADE IN THE USA brand (if you can still find such a thing)? These obscene profits resulting from the difference in low production costs came at the expense of an American manufacturing job with a decent wage.
Americans were willing to see their manufacturing base be reduced if it meant cost savings in retail outlets (it did not) and if new jobs paying comparable manufacturing sector wages appeared in service sectors to replace lost these outsourced manufacturing jobs (also did not happen). The reality is we lost jobs, many to never return and wages earned have shrunk for the Middle Class while the work load has increased over the last 30 years.
As I see it, at this point freedom of action to correct the failed globalized American economy is limited to two avenues for the American people.
The less favorable option is to undo all those free trade treaties signed in the last 20 years. It can be done but it would be difficult and lead to trade wars. In the short term it would be devastating to the economy if that was the case. Protectionism is not a solution and has other pitfalls.
A more readily available solution is to take back the wealth from the top 1% of the population that made their fortunes in the last 2 decades in large part due to outsourcing and deregulation and union busting (a sad result of globalization) and instead of calling it a dreaded “wealth transfer” call it a “wealth refund” of that money back to the rest of the population in the forms of government services like universal health care and investment in the nation’s future (NASA, infrastructure, education).
The promises made by the top 2% via politicians and experts failed to materialize as promised. It is only fair that the rest of the 98% of the population who suffered from this failure are compensated back by having a portion of their former wealth returned to them through public services.
Standing in our way are most Republicans and some Democrats (that seems to be the ratio) who still carry water for the oligarchs that stole our fortunes away. How long will this go on before we correct their error?