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The economy is doing well for those who are already wealthy, but the average worker sees very little of it. Salary increases, when they happen, don’t keep up with inflation. President Obama refers to this as an economic problem. Others call it the new economic norm.
Many on Wall Street say greed is good, or at least necessary. Apparently they watched the Oliver Stone movie Wall Street (1987) and interpreted it as a training tool for how to get rich instead of its intended purpose of revealing what’s wrong with the financial system.
I think it’s safe to say that all but the most extreme (and potentially selfish) anti-government libertarians would be for regulations when it comes to aviation including the safety of the airplane that takes you to see Aunt Betty in St. Louis. I think most would be hesitant to trust a for-profit company to regulate itself when it comes to the flight-worthiness of an aircraft. Sure, a company that neglects maintenance and has many fatal accidents is likely to go out of business quickly but nobody is willing to allow that market to work itself out because it means putting your life on the line when you board an airplane.
Today Chris Hayes made a great point about the difference between cheating and performance, or that there isn’t really a difference at all, at least not anymore. The problem is that we assume people who have made a lot of money did the right things in life to earn that money, but we know that isn’t always the case. We know there are people who get into positions where they are able to rig the system. We know there are people who once they taste success are not satisfied and then begin to cheat their way to the top. At this moment, a serious problem in our society is that we look up to people who have earned a lot of money. We want to emulate them because we believe they have done well in life because they made all the right and morally correct decisions. This is very dangerous if enough people buy into it. It’s what allows the 2008 financial disaster to go on 4 years without anyone being held accountable.
Venture capitalist Nick Hanauer explains why people create the demand which then creates the jobs. He says he makes 1000 times more than the average worker but that doesn’t translate to 1000 times the consumerism of the average worker. He can’t makeup the difference. So with more wealth accumulating within a small pool of wealthy people, that means less wealth spread across the rest of the country. It means less purchasing power and less demand for products and services from tens and hundreds of millions of Americans. This is why supply side (trickle down) economics doesn’t work. We’ve tried it for 30 years. How many more years do we need to continue failed economic policy before we wake up and realize it will never work?