Thursday, August 29, 2013

Time To Talk About Ecomonics

Aside from theocratic religious fundamentalists, the next people I consider the biggest threat to the free world are corporate elitists. I'm talking about bankers, venture capitalists, corporate managers and CEOs, hedge fund managers and market manipulators. Yeah, not all of them are evil, but a great many of them exist only to get as rich as possible, while not giving two shits if it ruins the environment or the middle class. And what's even worse than merely not caring, is that there are bankers for example, who literally sit in boardrooms and think of ways to fuck over hard working middle class people with convoluted schemes to trick them out of their money.

It's sickening.

When it comes to economics, I'm pretty solidly left. I'm an unapologetic populist. I'm a compassionate capitalist, who believes in free markets—but with regulations. Over the years, my economic views have been shaped by a number of people. Back about 5 or 6 years ago, I started getting into Lou Dobbs, who then was host of the show Lou Dobbs Tonight on CNN. I liked his style. Every episode highlighted how the country's economic policies were destroying the middle class. Lou was relentless in his fight.

I went out and bought a few of his books. His views on corporate America out-sourcing middle class jobs, and our failing education system touched me profoundly. He was a self-described "independent populist" who held liberal social views on gay marriage and abortion, liberal economic views, but also had conservative republican views on immigration. He got a lot of flack for his hard right views on immigration, which I didn't always agree with, and he eventually got fired from CNN back in 2009. Since then he's moved over to Fox News where he's moved back to the right on economics, and my interest in him waned.

Then I caught on to MSNBC's Ed Shultz a few years ago. He was also a relentless populist who championed the middle class the same way Dobbs did, but was solidly democratic. And then his nightly show also got canceled and he was moved to a weekend time slot when pretty much no one watches TV.

All these populists seemed to be getting axed one by one. What gives? Well. Populism is a dangerous idea. The real blasphemy in America today is criticizing corporate America's tactics, not religion. The reason why is obvious: Every TV channel in the US is owned by a corporation. Getting on TV and criticizing the plutocratic system that we have is like being a kid and criticizing your parents too harshly — you're going to end up silenced and punished.

It makes me sick — almost as sick as religious fundamentalism makes me sick. But although corporate America may be able to silence those on its programs and payrolls, it can't control the information on the internet. At least not yet. So I turn to YouTube to get my fix of populist economics.

Robert Reich is a liberal economist who worked under the Clinton administration back in the 90s. I remember when he was called a communist by Bill O'Reilly back in the day. He's not a communist. He just wants the middle class to succeed and wants the gaping wealth inequality gap to begin reversing the disturbing trend that began in the late 70s. In other words, he's a populist. And he holds many of my views on economics.

Here are some of his videos and lectures:

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