In the fall of year 2008, one of the two greatest economic disasters in American history, the Great Recession, began. Luckily, most of you didn’t experience the other, the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Both were caused by the disastrous economic policies of Republican federal administrations; the first under presidents Coolidge and Hoover and the second under president George W. Bush. It took 10 years over fierce opposition by the Republican Party to end the Great Depression. It has taken 6 years to end the Great Recession — or has it?
My friends, do you think that it has ended? The stock market, corporations, billionaires and other wealthy Americans tell us that it has. In reality we now face the greatest catastrophe in American history. It’s true that by some measures unemployment has been reduced. Corporations are making record profits and buying back their shares to increase their value. The Federal Reserve with its financial legerdemain continues to postpone the day of reckoning by keeping interest rates low.
But wages of American labor, for men and women, have actually declined since 2008 after adjustment for inflation while others, especially the very rich, have prospered immensely. Who pays the wages of the American worker? Not the Federal government unless you work for it; private corporations and businesses do.
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That’s why wages haven’t risen; profits come first. The denizens of private industry are overwhelmingly Republican and always have been. A Republican-controlled Congress refuses to co-operate with our duly-elected president and send him a minimum-wage bill for signature. Polls show that Americans prefer Republicans in economic matters, especially at the state level, though every impartial study on the subject has shown that our economy fares better under the Democrats.
Most astonishing, the majority of our senior citizens seem to favor the party that has tried to destroy or control our Social Security and Medicare programs over the party that created and defends them. How has the judgment of Americans gotten so badly skewed? At the start of the Great Depression of 1930 our national debt was a paltry $16 billion. It is now almost $18 trillion and our much-maligned Federal government can no longer afford to come to the rescue of Wall Street, corporations, and other economic malefactors when they get into economic trouble as it always has in the past and is now doing.
My fellow Americans, more has to be done to help the common wage-earner, whose spending is the backbone of our economy. If their buying power collapses we’ll face a deflation like the one that devastated our economy in the Great Depression of 1930. That will be the end of our vaunted capitalistic economy as we have known it and the end of American world supremacy. The best way that you can help avoid that is by casting your vote wisely in coming elections. I sincerely hope that you do so.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.