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Be careful throwing the "Great Depression" out there...
That was caused as much by the speculative behavior of "every man" types as it was by the, so called, "Titans" of industry. Now one can argue that there were flaws in "Stock Market as Vegas" but as you say, there are discussions for other times and this is also probably one of those.
I agree that the Roaring Twenties were an unchecked "every man" event. New, cheap automobiles. Upswings in resource requirements that were cheap and easy to get. People traveling. The epic urbanization of the US.
Then there were the negative things leading up to the end of the decade: Three Republican administrations that solidified relationships between politics and big business, Teapot Dome, another series of presidents who gave no government support to veterans, concentration of wealth amongst a handful of people, the privatization of tax return information, devastating tariffs, a reduction in the top tax bracket of 52%, and the implementation of incredibly low interest rates that favored larger institutions and led to a 60% growth in the amount of money in circulation.
These scenarios are exactly like what is happening today, but no one actually listens to history. Paralleling the above with today: I've touched on the concentration of wealth and income inequality that is rampant today.
Vets today in NY and LA wait on average almost TWO YEARS for benefits to kick in, with the rest of the country taking more than a year! This includes medical benefits for PTSD!
Horrid government spending on wars that were started on faulty beliefs will end up costing the US tax payer upwards of 6 TRILLION dollars after interest and demobilization, were we to leave in 2014 (go on and name an "entitlement" program that costs that much, I dare you. Sorry, the Medi-programs don't even come close. Social Security? Nope. Almost forgot about Obamacare. Also nope. I think that covers the biggies. Moving on).
There's never been more corporate money in politics in history, and it has been a downward spiral since 1978. Enter Citizens United to really put a damper on any semblance of equality in politics. What is it, something like 93% of the time the politician with the greater money wins. It's a no-brainer to see that money ruins democracy.
And finally the insurance rates. The biggest banks in the US borrow money at a lower rate, lend out the money at the normal rate, and pocket the profits. The sub-prime abomination allowed people who shouldn't have to bite off more than they could chew. This is identical to the rate disparity from the twenties. This was, most essentially, the "every man" problem from the original point, and, like before, it created a huge bubble that left everyone (except the wealthy) holding the bag when it burst.
Well Leviathor, you lost me at Ronald Reagan being a fascist. The bleeding hearts have thrown trillions at the poor, and amazingly, they are still poor. Trillions at education and our students are still uneducated. Might try expecting something from people for what is taken from one and given to another. Looks like the only thing you and I are likely to come anywhere close to agreeing on is photography.
Thank you Lady Jo for a well placed distractionary post.
Fascism is the promotion of a strong leader through military might and ethnocentricity. I think everyone would be in agreement that Reagan helped the rich white man more than anyone else, and in doing so he started toppling democracy and progressive ideas by inspiring the next generation of conservative to be so much further right of his original principles that Reagan himself (not zombie Reagan, but 80s Reagan) could not be elected in today's political environment.
This is another impasse of belief and ideals, Jim. I agree that what passes for unemployment and disability needs to be reworked in this country, and the contributors to breaking it, keeping it broke, breaking it more (Reagan, Clinton...) all share responsibility; this is a part of what's keeping the poor, poor. Bigger problems exist in earnings versus productivity, and the exploitation of the poorest by organizations like Wal-Mart. Ironically, if they cared for their workers, this argument would be a much smaller problem, as health care and minimum wages would actually be provided at a real living wage. And if Wal-Mart were doing it, it would be accepted as the status quo, and politicians would feel pressure to instead give everyone a living wage.
Education is a whole different can of worms, and I will instead blame conservatives for spending trillions to keep people uneducated. The poor and uneducated are easy to lie to about grandeur and getting rich, and the educated aristocrats have a selfish interest to keep "their" money. Everyone else in the middle is fair game, with educated members of society trending toward progressive political stances, and everyone else who is convinced by the lies shilled by Fox voting conservative ideals (the market share of Fox vs election returns are in eerily-good agreement, but that's not evidence). However, to back up my claim and educate you low information voters (we progressives had a good chuckle at this one, believe you me), look at the 2012 election. The top ten best educated states, as measured by population of 25-year-olds who hold college degrees, all voted for Obama. Of the "top ten" least educated states, 90% voted for Romney, with Nevada being the only state in the list to vote for Obama. There are other studies linking education with voting trends. It turns out that educated people educate themselves on the topics at hand as well, going out of their way to research politicians' stances on various topics.
Conservatives don't teach people how to think, they teach people how to follow. They "educate" through church and by bombarding media with misinformation, disinformation, or no information. Politicians at this stage in the game are pretty much all bought, but since they're bought they have to of course defend the positions of those wealthy corporations. This makes the money-takers conservative in the sense that their handlers want to keep making money, and that's by not rocking the boat. This is why issues like minimum wage, gun control, health care, resource management and climate change are all politically taboo. This is also why a significant portion of the country believes in the supernatural: because the actual fascinating stuff that makes people think is never reported, and is never reported to the same degree as the media reports non-news stories. Fascinating news should make you think, it might make you reaffirm your ideas, but it should not reinforce your beliefs.
Don't even bother to bring up the "liberal" media. There's so much corporate backing of media today that the days of any legitimate "liberal media" argument are woefully bygone. Besides, no one who doesn't actually believe that malarkey will be swayed by the argument. In fact, they probably watch Fox News.
Here's a non-inflammatory addition (I hope!):