The End Of The American Dream and What Is To Come Next
"Three decades of neoliberal policies have decimated the middle class, our economy, and our democracy"
"America today has higher inequality and less upward social mobility than most other developed countries"
"After rising for a century, average life expectancy in the U.S. is now declining. And for those in the bottom 90% of the income distribution, real (inflation-adjusted) wages have stagnated: the income of a typical male worker today is around where it was 40 years ago."
What is Neoliberalism?
"Often associated with laissez-faire economics, the policy that prescribes a minimal amount of government interference in the economic issues of individuals and society. This theory is characterized by the belief that continued economic growth will lead to human progress, a confidence in free markets, and an emphasis on limited state interference... Neoliberalism supports fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, privatization, and greatly reduced government spending... There are many criticisms of neoliberalism, including its potential to endanger democracy, workers’ rights, and sovereign nations’ right to self-determination." [Investopedia]
"As diversity continually grows each year, the Baby Boomer Generation that profited most from the Neoliberalism Movement that started in the 1980's, will likely be the one's who will likely suffer the greatest, from the downsides of the system they once coveted."
"We can thank former President Ronald Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for our current state of affairs. The neoliberal reforms of the 1980s were based on the idea that unfettered markets would bring shared prosperity through a mystical trickle-down process."
"We were told that lowering tax rates on the rich, financialization, and globalization would result in higher standards of living for everybody. Instead... a greater share of the wealth and income from this limited growth was funneled to the top 1%...
Instead of the promised prosperity, we got deindustrialization, polarization, and a shrinking middle class. Unless we change the script, these patterns will continue — or worsen."
"Trump and the lobbyists he has appointed to dismantle the U.S. government are doing everything they can to strip away regulations protecting the environment, public health, and even the economy."
"The U.S., after all, stands alone among developed countries in not recognizing health care as a basic human right. Ironically, while the U.S. spends more on health care — both per capita and as a share of gross domestic product — than any other developed country, its predominantly private system delivers worse outcomes."
"It requires that we reverse the Republican Party’s systematic effort to disenfranchise large segments of the electorate through voter suppression, gerrymandering, and other anti-democratic techniques. It also requires that we reduce the influence of money in politics, and restore proper checks and balances."
"Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling,"
"Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive."
"The privatization or marketization of public services such as energy, water, trains, health, education, roads and prisons has enabled corporations to set up tollbooths in front of essential assets and charge rent, either to citizens or to government, for their use."
"“Like rent,” he argues, “interest is ... unearned income that accrues without any effort”. As the poor become poorer and the rich become richer, the rich acquire increasing control over another crucial asset: money. Interest payments, overwhelmingly, are a transfer of money from the poor to the rich."
"Not only are the banks too big to fail, but so are the corporations now charged with delivering public services... vital national services cannot be allowed to collapse, which means that competition cannot run its course. Business takes the profits, the state keeps the risk."
"The greater the failure, the more extreme the ideology becomes. Governments use neoliberal crises as both excuse and opportunity to cut taxes, privatize remaining public services, rip holes in the social safety net, deregulate corporations and re-regulate citizens."
"Neoliberalism show[s] that it’s not enough to oppose a broken system. A coherent alternative has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to... attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century."
"The current economic crisis has exacerbated stagnation and inequality."
"Real socialism is the only option to the current economic crisis... as capitalism ceases to be a viable historical system, socialism may prove to be the only viable solution to the fundamental crisis confronting humanity in the 21st century"
"Capitalism is inefficient as is socialism... The great advantage of socialism over capitalism is that the former outscores the latter in fulfilling social needs."
"The presence of exploitation in both systems. In the case of capitalism, capitalists exploited workers and peasants. In socialism, the state exploited workers and peasants"
"Neoliberalism is a failure because it has produced lower growth rates than keynesianism and real socialism. Furthermore, it has not satisfied people's basic needs."
As you can see, there are no perfect options or simple solutions. It is evident that, what we are doing, and the current path we are on, IS NOT SUSTAINABLE. Change is imminent.
I have been saying for years: the solutions do not reside on the Far Left or Far Right, but instead somewhere in the middle. The irrelevant models and systems of the past are antiquated. It is imperative for us to develop a new modern system that creatively integrates Capitalist Innovation with all-encompassing Social Democratic Safety Nets.
If we have learned anything from the Great Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020, is that wars are no longer the greatest threat to humanity. Viruses, Technology/AI and Climate Change pose far greater threats. The need to redirect resources, (both financial and other) towards: Education, Health and Eco-Friendly practices are mandatory to our survival.
Eric J. Safranek