The New Dickensian Age

The spirit of the holidays has always been embodied in Dickensian themes like the Christmas Carol – the reminder that  society is a social contract. What is intensely anti-American about the Randian libertarian philosophy is that it denies the very basis of the U.S. Constitution, which reads:

“We the People in order to form a more perfect union.”

It is a social compact, not a manifesto of the upper class to justify robbing the rest of us for their own privilege and benefit.

This year, despite the decisive victory of the Obama Democrats over a Scroogelike Mitt Romney, the stingy retail and food industries still haven’t gotten the message. Remembering that the unions created the middle class in America, it gives one pause to wonder why a long-standing company like Hostess can’t seem to work well with the unions. Why are people like Papa John looking to the ACA (Obamacare) as a convenient excuse to put the screws to labor even more? Why does Walmart, America’s largest private employer, refuse to pay a living wage and sufficient work hours to allow their workers to qualify for sponsored healthcare? Analyses have shown that it certainly isn’t a matter of affordability.

Since it isn’t a question of affordability, what can it be? Greed and class warfare. Dickensian times have returned.

If these greedmonger corporations’ refusal to deal in good faith with their workers reminds one of the Republicans in Congress, it really isn’t a coincidence. These are in fact the same folks who created the massive deficit, blamed it on President Obama, and then refused to cooperate with him in fixing the problem.  The economic recovery that we have enjoyed thus far has almost entirely been accomplished  unilaterally – President Obama has had to go it alone.

While the ACA is “the law of the land,” House Republican John Boehner disingenuously states that it must be put on the table for cuts because it is “unaffordable” – despite the glaring fact that it actually reduces the deficit significantly over the next 20 year period, and begins the process of rationalizing a system that is out of control. And let’s not forget that, while the ACA provides corporate Scrooges a convenient excuse to exacerbate today’s underemployment, they are using us, the taxpayers, to foot the bill for them.

That’s right. These new economic robber barons are getting fatter at the expense of we the workers and taxpayers. Walmart has the largest number of employees on public assistance, meaning that they are depending on the government to provide their employees the basic necessities of living. And they are putting more of their employees on food stamps knowing that they’ll spend much of these taxpayer-funded dollars in the stores in which they work.

To my friends in the military, let me remind you that, as members of the largest socialist organization in American society, the government-run socialized healthcare you enjoy is the most comprehensive effective of any in America. Government-provided healthcare has proven to be more affordable, economical and to have markedly better outcomes – not just in America, but everywhere in the world that it is practiced. It is now understood by economists that healthcare is a unique sector that does not respond to the market dynamics and cannot fix itself. Still, large economic special interests have prevented the single payer system from being implemented, creating two levels of healthcare – those that they enjoy vs. the inferior ones that others enjoy.

The same can be said of trade policy, anti trust policy and wages. If you doubt these facts, please search these blog archives for the carefully documented facts.

Reviving The Lost Spirit of Community

If you’ve ever recognized that “The Matrix” is a metaphor, but never exactly understood the underlying message, it points to our own American society.

Since the economic facts given above are clear enough for any informed non biased observer to recognize, then why the debate? Where does the mass ignorance arise? Does ideological bias result by an accident of nature, or is it true that “You Have To Be Carefully Taught”?

Given an education system that isn’t providing us the tools to learn critical thinking skills to make an objective analysis, and given a corporate and Republican-funded media that puts out outright disinformation, we the people need to shake off their social conditioning and educate ourselves.  We can begin by agreeing on the fundamental facts of our new Dickensian society, and then working to create a new sense of community. We can become Empowered consumers – not just of products and services, but news and politics. We can respond to one another in a spirit of generosity.

While this blog concerns itself with the subject of financial marketing, there is a fundamental morality that we all bring to the practice of financial marketing that we cannot deny. Otherwise, compliance and ethics would not be an integral part of the process. So let me leave you with this thought during the holidays:

The title of Robert Fulghum‘s 1986 book “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” speaks for itself. Our mothers taught us to share rather than snatch things away and hoard them for ourselves. How far have we come?