Thursday, July 10, 2014

The New Normal

When I was a kid in prep school, Mr. Morgan, who used his lunch hour to nap behind the wheel of his car in the parking lot behind the gym, taught Economics. Based on the amount of currency both in my wallet and bank account at any time since graduation, I fear I may have caught some zzz’s myself.

Economics is something I always feel should be written with a capital E. The fall Saturday in Lower Manhattan a couple of years back, as part of that noble but less than effective gesture, Occupy Wall Street, I wandered among the cavernous concrete monuments to Mammon this country’s financial institutions built for and to themselves in the course of decades of apathetic oversight and lackadaisical regulation.

That after having nearly single-handedly destroyed American capitalism through their rapacious and insatiable greed, these same financial institutions were punished by being bailed out with hundreds of billions of MORE dollars of taxpayer money to compensate them for the mountains of it they had destroyed, is a tragically true cautionary tale, but for the wrong people.

Here in the Post-Gilded Age of Greed, "obscene" has taken on a whole new meaning. If reading this story from the Washington Post doesn't make you angry enough to wonder indeed, as Mao asked Nixon in China, if one revolution was anywhere near enough, then perhaps you really don't have any idea what's going on now do you, Mr. Jones?

Look at the foreclosures on homes in small-towns everywhere, the wounded and wasted former service personnel who die holding for a non-existent appointment at a VA Hospital, empty storefronts where so many brave beginnings became unanswered prayers, and this generation’s college graduates who will spend decades in debt for schooling that was to help them to a better life and a career exported for a third of the salary and no benefits to someplace half way around the world.

We’re reshaping the American Dream to look like a modern day debtor’s prison where the only form of successful enterprise is the buying and selling of the shackles we place on one another. Business is looking up, even if we’ve long ago stopped doing the same.

McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Citi Group, Apple. In hoc signo vinces.
-bill kenny

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