A lengthy quote from a Common Dreams piece by Robert Freeman:
Here is the executive summary of U.S. economic policy over the past 30 years:
Dramatically lower taxes on the wealthiest people in the country; meanwhile, undercut the working and middle classes by shipping their jobs overseas so corporations can profit by paying Chinese and Indian workers 5% of what they pay American workers; send the finished products back to the U.S. and sell them to former workers with now-downsized jobs by getting them to take on onerous levels of debt; when that is still not enough to keep the economy afloat, have the government increase its debt, in the process binding those former and downsized workers with government debts that they will carry for the rest of their lives; have the whole system laundered through big banks who create nothing, but take a piece of the action on every transaction; make sure these banks are "too big to fail" so that when they fail, the downsized, indebted workers can be made to disgorge the last of their remaining assets in order that the banks and their owners don’t suffer any losses on their predatory investments that went bad.
Repeat this process until the working and middle classes have been milked of all of their assets and their wealth has been transferred into the hands of the richest people on earth.
It’s working exactly as planned.
Between 1993 and 2007, 50% of all the growth in the U.S. economy went to the richest 1%. Between 2002 and 2006, it was even worse: an astounding three quarters of all the economy’s growth was captured by the top 1%. In 2007, this top 1% captured 20% of all the income in the entire nation. The top 10% corralled fully half of all the income earned in the entire country, as much as the bottom 90% combined. Only one time since 1913 has so much of the nation’s income been seized by such a small elite. That was 1928, the year before the stock market collapsed, ushering in the Great Depression.
The data on concentration of wealth are even more startling. The top 1% own more than 50% of all assets in the U.S. They own more than 70% of all financial assets. Meanwhile, the bottom 50% of wealth holders own a mere 3.5% of all the assets in the country. The bottom 40% own nothing. They have a combined net worth of zero. Middle class homeowners now own less of the equity in their homes, 45%, than at any time since World War II when the figure stood at 70%. They lost $13 trillion in the housing meltdown, even as the entire past decade produced zero net new jobs.
So where are we now?
Seven million high-paying manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas in the past decade, one third of all those in the entire economy. Twenty per cent of the nation’s labor force – thirty million people – are idle or underutilized. Thirty percent of the nation’s factory capacity is idle. Three quarters of the nation’s home building capacity is idle. More workers are out of work longer that at any time since such statistics started being collected, in 1948. The results are cataclysmic.
Ten thousand homes enter foreclosure every day. More than 39 million Americans – one out of eight – are on food stamps. Half of all American children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives! Seventy-seven million Baby Boomers stand on the threshold of retirement, expecting, hoping, praying that the nation will honor the promises it has made to them for the last 50 years. It will not, because it cannot.
The national debt that stood at $1 trillion in 1980 now stands at $12 trillion. And this was run up over a period of supposed economic prosperity! Personal debt has risen from 65% of income in 1980 to 125% today. The nation’s unfunded liabilities – debts it has committed to pay but for which there is no identifiable source of funding – exceed $65 trillion. The U.S. economy must borrow more than $5 billion every day just to keep its lights on. Most of that comes from foreign creditors-China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and such. Interest payments on this debt will soon reach $1 trillion a year. Not since before the Civil War has the U.S. been so dependent on foreign capital.
When all the assets that are pledged as collateral against this borrowing have been exhausted, the lights will go out, as they must. The creditors will simply pull their capital out of the economy as they did from the Asian countries in the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. The U.S. has become a banana republic, ruled by a small, ultra-rich oligarchy who look after themselves, with everybody else living entirely at the mercy of their wealthy masters.
Despite Obama’s cheesy rhetoric and faux-liberalism, his economic program is, in fact, little different than that of George W. Bush. More than $14 trillion have been committed to the banks in the bailout but only $135 billion have been committed to the automobile industry. That’s $100 to the banks that wrecked the global economy for every $1 devoted to the "real" economy, where real people live and work. This ratio played out exactly in December when, on Christmas eve, Obama, with a wave of his magic pen, increased funding for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by $400 billion. Later, he begrudgingly relented on an additional $4.5 billion for GMAC. Once again, that’s $100 to the banks for every $1 to the automobile companies and their workers.
This policy reaches its abusive extreme when the government allows banks to borrow unlimited amounts from the Federal Reserve at 0% and then re-loan the same money to maxed-out credit card holders at 27%. Or, with the same banks opening their own payday lending arms to milk truly desperate borrowers with interest rates of 400% or higher. If the front door of the looting operation was the $14 trillion hand-over during the bailout, this is the back door, out of sight but ever so effective because, with everybody hooked on debt, they have no alternative.
The rest of the article offers a solution to rebuild the economy, for real people, not for the wealthy pirates and sociopaths who have set out to destroy the country in order to enrich themselves.