How long will the US put up with the degradation of social services in favor of tax cuts?

The answer to the question is, as long as people are afraid or unable to act. Many simply are either too afraid, or too hemmed in by their lives to do anything but 9-5, take care of their families, and get depressed by listening to the news. I consider myself a reasonably intelligent, well educated person, and I feel powerless to do anything about any of this. I, like many, am literally fenced in by my life each day. I am responsible for looking after 3 young kids, myself, and my elderly mother. When do people like myself find time to march?! And the spirit of the American worker for mass protest is largely broken, from what I can see. Especially since the current administration thumbs their noses at such displays. They simply don't care. So, people are scared, and they don't want to lose what they have, and they want someone else to step up and take care of it. I've even heard people intimating that, if we organize, Trump will declare martial law, which will them give him his final reason to blame the immigrants and start setting up confinement camps, and knowing his crazy ass, he'd do it - and the Republicans, stoking fear of rioting (read peaceful demonstrations) would support him, while the Democrats stick one thumb up their ass, and wave the other one lamely in the air and say they're against it. And then, yes, go out for a beer, with Republicans. To celebrate the successful on-going, fiction. So, under these circumstances, how do the American People...organize, with any hope of having any effect to change the government that was originally founded to be, "for the people" and "by the people?" It certainly doesn't represent "The People" now.

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  • Nicholas Anderson
    tagged this with upvote 2018-01-19 01:20:06 -0500
  • Nicholas Anderson
    commented 2018-01-19 01:09:24 -0500
    @ John Kerkhoff,

    You are not going to find many people that disagree with that conclusion. The issue is not whether or not we agree that the are corrupt, but in finding a consensus in how to address the problem. Democracy requires several things to be effective: 1) It requires a separation of finance and government. This is the the crux of your point and for that reason is the best to introduce first. Lobbyists, campaign donations and other forms of legalized (or otherwise) forms of bribery pervade the political landscape. Labor is caught in the middle of business’s drive to increase the bottom line in any way they can. The exploitative nature of capitalism gives the means of the capitalist class to “play the system” as you put it. But it’s important to note that this corruption is central to BOTH political parties. The Democrats as they are will never pass a bill like this because their political well-being as well as funding relies on the capitalist class donations and contributions. Additionally any reform that does get passed can and will be undone due to the systemic resource accumulation of the capitalist class. This is not to say that this effort is not worth doing, merely that this requires a labor movement that stimulates a political movement, not the other way around.

    2) A democracy requires freedom of information. For every publicly funded article or study there is an article written by a capitalist thinktank. Free market capitalists spent billions of dollars sponsoring Neo-liberal economic thought to create a narrative to combat Keynesian economics. Supply-side economics(or trickledown if you prefer) are a direct result of the manipulation of one economic event in order to support a narrative with virtually no empirical evidence. This theory manufactured that evidence and muddied the waters on economic information to the degree that these policies became not only dominant in the public eye, but in the economics profession as well. News is another source of the capital agenda manipulating information for both long term and short term profit. This has gone on so long that these narratives have become accepted fact and are the true beliefs of the political class that touts them. This applies to both parties as well. The only true solution to this lies in final aspect of a successful democracy.

    3) A democracy requires equal and effective education. This is an obvious assertion, but it has far reaching repercussions. Education is required so that labor has the skills and tools to discern to what degree a source of information is biased and so that a true dialogue can be had about how to solve our socioeconomic woes. An unequal education system be it private or public creates an unequal economic playing field. But the capitalist class has its fingers in this as well. Private endowments to universities facilitate not only the division of class by wealth, but the proliferation of capitalist ideas as well(see point 2). The passing of the burden of taxation from the corporation onto the individual cuts the public budget until education itself is subject to cuts and a diminished quality. An uneducated population is Socrates’s worst nightmare, a true tyranny of the masses. Freedom of information becomes a liability instead of an asset, as the tools most useful for growing awareness and challenging traditions become tools of enforcing pre-existing cognitive bias.

    Reform must occur, but a political reform is only temporary at best. This requires a bipartisan unification of labor that can supplant both political parties and stymie any attempts to discredit it. This movement must be organized and must wield the power of information and a fundamental understanding of how the capitalist ideology, both liberal and conservative, has been constructed and therefore can be deconstructed. It has to be a movement that is beyond moral degradation, cognitive reproach and most importantly has an idea that resounds with all people, one that can continue beyond the proclamations and interpretations of individual leadership and members. There is no political party in existence that is any one of those things. That does not mean that we cannot create one.
  • John Kerkhoff
    commented 2018-01-16 19:54:48 -0500
    The solution is quite easy and I’m doing my best to get Richard Wolff and many other bright minds on board.

    Corporate media will do its best to suppress this simple truth.

    Corporations as they exist now should be illegal. Think about it. Markets and corporations are unaccountable. They are a pay to play system. We no longer require people to have land to vote, so why do we require people to have vast sums of money to purchase voting rights in a corporation?

    Democracy must exist in every single institution. Otherwise everyone’s rights and talents are reduced to how much money you already have in order to purchase having a say in various matters.

    All we need is a majority of Democrats to vote on a bill that outlaws current corporate charters.
  • Donald Bellunduno
    posted about this on Facebook 2018-01-12 21:44:59 -0500
    Ask Prof. Wolff: How long will the US put up with the degradation of social services in favor of tax cuts?
  • Donald Bellunduno
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2018-01-12 21:44:29 -0500