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September 27, 2009 - Ray Hall (Archive)
Michael Moore’s new documentary titled CAPITALISM; A LOVE STORY opened this past week in theaters across America and became a financial success almost immediately. Mr. Moore’s movie deals with the ruthless amorality of an economic system based on greed and he actively worries that 1% of American’s population owns more wealth than the remaining 95% combined.

Mr. Moore frets, because such a small concentration of great wealth approaches a totalitarianism as controlling on the mode of living of individuals as its more openly and brutal dictatorial cousins. His movie is about an economic system that has run off the rails and left victims in a world wide tsunami of ruin and deprivation.

I agree with the premise of Michael Moore’s movie that capitalism is fueled by greed and is evil to the core. Since the Reagan era capitalism has plundered the landscape and even looted widows and orphans. However, Conservative/Republican insistence that government should not interfere in commercial affairs is not the sole reason we are in the shape we’re in. Democrats have become all to willing accomplices.

Goldman Sachs, a familiar name in global finance, is also one of Barack Obama’s largest financial contributors and as Michael Moore points out we have yet to see whether the President will come down on the side of working poor or the financial elite. We, people like me, are fervently hoping that the President lives up to his campaign promises.

Then, there is Vice President Biden. Senator Biden took more than $100,000 from MBNA, one of the world’s largest credit card companies incorporated in Delaware. From Reagan to Clinton to Bush 44 the credit card industry has had easy access to the machinery of government in Washington. That is evidenced by the industry taking over Congressional Offices to write banking and bankruptcy legislation that fattened their coffers and robbed the working poor.

Despite a lack of grass root support bankruptcy legislation sailed through Congress with the help of New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton both of whom received $160,000 and $140,000 respectively in campaign contributions from the banking industry. Regardless, Senator Biden insists that his association with MBNA did not compromise his representation of the working poor despite his son landing a high paying job with MBNA as a corporate executive. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) developed a cozy relationship with Countrywide, the mortgage company that began the mortgage crash, and was given preferential access if not treatment for mortgage loans and claims his position on the Banking Committee was not compromised.

Let’s face it, partisan politics aside, the vast majority of Americans do not have access to their governments, not locally or at the state level or in the halls of Congress and on that account recent Washington protestors are correct to take to the streets. However, the ‘tea baggers,’ the ‘town hall’ crashers are are more likely to be victims of our economic system--capitalism--than the government.

Michael Moore claims Wall Street is nothing more than a rigged casino. He points out that its been a year since we were told our economic system teetered on collapse and nothing has changed. The money changers continue to traffic in derivatives and sell short on the stock exchange. Not a single piece of legislation has been passed to curb the excesses of runaway greed and protect the small investor. Credit card companies are playing games with credit scores to extract more and greater fees from a weary public and now the big banks have developed high speed computers that give them an enormous advantage when buying or selling huge quantities of stock.

For those who are wearing sack cloth and ashes and beating their breasts because they fear Socialism is seriously challenging Capitalism in America forget it, Capitalism has won and will remain firmly entrenched. The best the rest of us, the working poor or a large segment of that 95% whose wealth is dwarfed by the wealthiest 1%, can hope for is parity. Parity doesn’t mean that everyone earns an identical amount of money, it means that we all have buying power to maintain a basic standard of living. Parity does not mean we all should be able to buy Kobe beef from Japan or a luxury yacht, but parity dictates that we might have a pot roast dinner on Sunday and enjoy a small boat for recreational purposes.

There are countries that establish traffic fines on parity; a person’s ability to pay. In Finland the heir to a wealthy meat packing fortune was fined $250,000 for going 50 miles per hour in a 35 mile zone. To apply the same reasoning in our country under the same circumstances; who bears the greater burden for a $100.00 fine, Donald Trump or the working poor? No, its not at all likely that Capitalism will be replaced; we can only hope its excesses will be restrained.

Despite the shortcomings of our Federal Government we would all be better off with our fate in the hands of Barney Frank than Smith Barney.


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