Broken social contract needs to be put back together

 By Chuck Denny, Business Forum, October 25, 2015

In the U.S., we have chosen democracy and free market capitalism as our political and economic systems, a conjunction we call democratic capitalism. In this union, government is the dominant partner, using, orchestrating and regulating the economic sector to achieve the public good.

Democratic capitalism has propelled our nation to a pre-eminent world role and to unparalleled levels of national prosperity. The success of democratic capitalism is based on a balance of entrepreneurial drive and its rewards with a democratic sharing of the fruits of our collective efforts; that is, a sharing of the immense wealth created by our economic system. The public’s perception of the fairness of the distribution acts upon the social cohesion vital to the workings of democratic capitalism.

I fear that this social contract is broken. Consider the following:

• Income of the top 1 percent of Americans is twice that of the bottom 50 percent.

• The wealth of the top 160,000 families is greater than that of the poorest 145 million families.

• The average income of the top 1 percent in 2012 was $717,000.

• The income in 2014 of the average American was $51,939.

• The average wealth in 2012 of the top 1 percent was $8.4 million.

• The wealth of the median American family in 2012 was $121,000.

• The wealth of one family, the Waltons of Wal-Mart fame, is equal to that of the bottom 40 percent of Americans.

• Between 1979 and 2007, the income of the top 1 percent has grown five times that of the average American.

• The average income in 2012 of the Fortune 500 Companies’ CEOs was $10.5 million.

It is futile, in my opinion, to expect that Wall Street, the hedge fund managers, the top paid professionals in medicine and law and the nation’s CEOs will restrict their excessive compensation. As the private sector cannot redress the inequities in income and wealth, the government must act to redistribute the nation’s bounty through the tax code; that is, through taxes on income and on the transfer of wealth from one generation to another….

According to a survey by the Economist of the livability of nations, the U.S. ranks 16th. As the most powerful and wealthy of all nations, we should aim to do better. We need fewer gated communities and more public housing. No American should be without access to first-rate health care. All Americans should have access to the highest level of education of which they are capable. And no American child should ever go hungry.

We have the collective wealth to do all the above, but only if we more fairly distribute our nation’s income and its assets.

There is enough for all.

About the author Chuck Denny is the retired chairman and CEO of ADC Telecommunications and has been active in many community groups.

 

 

 

About the author Chuck Denny is the retired chairman and CEO of ADC Telecommunications and has been active in many community groups.

In the U.S., we have chosen democracy and free market capitalism as our political and economic systems, a conjunction we call democratic capitalism. In this union, government is the dominant partner, using, orchestrating and regulating the economic sector to achieve the public good.

Democratic capitalism has propelled our nation to a pre-eminent world role and to unparalleled levels of national prosperity. The success of democratic capitalism is based on a balance of entrepreneurial drive and its rewards with a democratic sharing of the fruits of our collective efforts; that is, a sharing of the immense wealth created by our economic system. The public’s perception of the fairness of the distribution acts upon the social cohesion vital to the workings of democratic capitalism.

I fear that this social contract is broken. Consider the following:

• Income of the top 1 percent of Americans is twice that of the bottom 50 percent.

• The wealth of the top 160,000 families is greater than that of the poorest 145 million families.

• The average income of the top 1 percent in 2012 was $717,000.

• The income in 2014 of the average American was $51,939.

• The average wealth in 2012 of the top 1 percent was $8.4 million.

• The wealth of the median American family in 2012 was $121,000.

• The wealth of one family, the Waltons of Wal-Mart fame, is equal to that of the bottom 40 percent of Americans.

• Between 1979 and 2007, the income of the top 1 percent has grown five times that of the average American.

• The average income in 2012 of the Fortune 500 Companies’ CEOs was $10.5 million.

It is futile, in my opinion, to expect that Wall Street, the hedge fund managers, the top paid professionals in medicine and law and the nation’s CEOs will restrict their excessive compensation. As the private sector cannot redress the inequities in income and wealth, the government must act to redistribute the nation’s bounty through the tax code; that is, through taxes on income and on the transfer of wealth from one generation to another.

Tax reform proposals are now being brought forth by candidates of both parties that are worthy of consideration. The attraction of radical figures on both the left and the right reflect, in my opinion, a rising discontent, even anger, that our vaunted system isn’t working for all.

According to a survey by the Economist of the livability of nations, the U.S. ranks 16th. As the most powerful and wealthy of all nations, we should aim to do better. We need fewer gated communities and more public housing. No American should be without access to first-rate health care. All Americans should have access to the highest level of education of which they are capable. And no American child should ever go hungry.

We have the collective wealth to do all the above, but only if we more fairly distribute our nation’s income and its assets.

There is enough for all.

 

Bill Moyers: ‘We Are This Close to Losing Our Democracy to the Mercenary Class’

NOTE – here’s a short video – Bill Moyers: ‘We Are This Close to Losing Our Democracy to the Mercenary Class’ – video http://www.upworthy.com/if-more-people-knew-the-secrets-those-in-power-keep-from-us-all-we-would-toss-them-out-on-their-ear?c=ufb1

By Bill Moyers, TomDispatch, posted on Alternet,org,  December 12, 2013  

I met Supreme Court Justice William Brennan in 1987 when I was creating a series for public television called In Search of the Constitution, celebrating the bicentennial of our founding document.  By then, he had served on the court longer than any of his colleagues and had written close to 500 majority opinions, many of them addressing fundamental questions of equality, voting rights, school segregation, and — in New York Times v. Sullivan in particular — the defense of a free press.

Those decisions brought a storm of protest from across the country.  He claimed that he never took personally the resentment and anger directed at him.  He did, however, subsequently reveal that his own mother told him she had always liked his opinions when he was on the New Jersey court, but wondered now that he was on the Supreme Court, “Why can’t you do it the same way?” His answer: “We have to discharge our responsibility to enforce the rights in favor of minorities, whatever the majority reaction may be.”

Although a liberal, he worried about the looming size of government. When he mentioned that modern science might be creating “a Frankenstein,” I asked, “How so?”  He looked around his chambers and replied, “The very conversation we’re now having can be overheard. Science has done things that, as I understand it, makes it possible through these drapes and those windows to get something in here that takes down what we’re talking about.”

That was long before the era of cyberspace and the maximum surveillance state that grows topsy-turvy with every administration.  How I wish he were here now — and still on the Court!

My interview with him was one of 12 episodes in that series on the Constitution.  Another concerned a case he had heard back in 1967.  It involved a teacher named Harry Keyishian who had been fired because he would not sign a New York State loyalty oath.  Justice Brennan ruled that the loyalty oath and other anti-subversive state statutes of that era violated First Amendment protections of academic freedom.

I tracked Keyishian down and interviewed him.  Justice Brennan watched that program and was fascinated to see the actual person behind the name on his decision.  The journalist Nat Hentoff, who followed Brennan’s work closely, wrote, “He may have seen hardly any of the litigants before him, but he searched for a sense of them in the cases that reached him.”  Watching the interview with Keyishian, he said, “It was the first time I had seen him.  Until then, I had no idea that he and the other teachers would have lost everything if the case had gone the other way.”

Toward the end of his tenure, when he was writing an increasing number of dissents on the Rehnquist Court, Brennan was asked if he was getting discouraged. He smiled and said, “Look, pal, we’ve always known — the Framers knew — that liberty is a fragile thing.  You can’t give up.”  And he didn’t.

The Donor Class and Streams of Dark Money

The historian Plutarch warned us long ago of what happens when there is no brake on the power of great wealth to subvert the electorate.  “The abuse of buying and selling votes,” he wrote of Rome, “crept in and money began to play an important part in determining elections.  Later on, this process of corruption spread in the law courts and to the army, and finally, when even the sword became enslaved by the power of gold, the republic was subjected to the rule of emperors.”

We don’t have emperors yet, but we do have the Roberts Court that consistently privileges the donor class.

We don’t have emperors yet, but we do have a Senate in which, as a study by the political scientist Larry Bartels reveals, “Senators appear to be considerably more responsive to the opinions of affluent constituents than to the opinions of middle-class constituents, while the opinions of constituents in the bottom third of the income distribution have no apparent statistical effect on their senators’ roll call votes.”

We don’t have emperors yet, but we have a House of Representatives controlled by the far right that is now nourished by streams of “dark money” unleashed thanks to the gift bestowed on the rich by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case.

We don’t have emperors yet, but one of our two major parties is now dominated by radicals engaged in a crusade of voter suppression aimed at the elderly, the young, minorities, and the poor; while the other party, once the champion of everyday working people, has been so enfeebled by its own collaboration with the donor class that it offers only token resistance to the forces that have demoralized everyday Americans.

Writing in the Guardian recently, the social critic George Monbiot commented,

“So I don’t blame people for giving up on politics… When a state-corporate nexus of power has bypassed democracy and made a mockery of the voting process, when an unreformed political system ensures that parties can be bought and sold, when politicians [of the main parties] stand and watch as public services are divvied up by a grubby cabal of privateers, what is left of this system that inspires us to participate?”

Why are record numbers of Americans on food stamps? Because record numbers of Americans are in poverty. Why are people falling through the cracks? Because there are cracks to fall through. It is simply astonishing that in this rich nation more than 21 million Americans are still in need of full-time work, many of them running out of jobless benefits, while our financial class pockets record profits, spends lavishly on campaigns to secure a political order that serves its own interests, and demands that our political class push for further austerity. Meanwhile, roughly 46 million Americans live at or below the poverty line and, with the exception of Romania, no developed country has a higher percent of kids in poverty than we do.  Yet a study by scholars at Northwestern University and Vanderbilt finds little support among the wealthiest Americans for policy reforms to reduce income inequality.

Class Prerogatives

Listen!  That sound you hear is the shredding of the social contract.

Ten years ago the Economist magazine — no friend of Marxism — warned: “The United States risks calcifying into a European-style class-based society.”  And as a recent headline in the Columbia Journalism Review put it: “The line between democracy and a darker social order is thinner than you think.”

We are this close – this close! – to losing our democracy to the mercenary class. So close it’s as if we’re leaning way over the rim of the Grand Canyon waiting for a swift kick in the pants.

When Justice Brennan and I talked privately in his chambers before that interview almost 20 years ago, I asked him how he had come to his liberal sentiments.  “It was my neighborhood,” he said.  Born to Irish immigrants in 1906, as the harsh indignities of the Gilded Age brought hardship and deprivation to his kinfolk and neighbors, he saw “all kinds of suffering — people had to struggle.”  He never forgot those people or their struggles, and he believed it to be our collective responsibility to create a country where they would have a fair chance to a decent life.  “If you doubt it,” he said, “read the Preamble [to the Constitution].”

He then asked me how I had come to my philosophy about government (knowing that I had been in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations).  I don’t remember my exact words, but I reminded him that I had been born in the midst of the Great Depression to parents, one of whom had to drop out of school in the fourth grade, the other in the eighth, because they were needed in the fields to pick cotton to help support their families.

Franklin Roosevelt, I recalled, had been president during the first 11 years of my life.  My father had listened to his radio “fireside chats” as if they were gospel; my brother went to college on the G.I. Bill; and I had been the beneficiary of public schools, public libraries, public parks, public roads, and two public universities.  How could I not think that what had been so good for me would be good for others, too?

That was the essence of what I told Justice Brennan.  Now, I wish that I could talk to him again, because I failed to mention perhaps the most important lesson about democracy I ever learned.

On my 16th birthday in 1950, I went to work for the daily newspaper in the small East Texas town where I grew up.  It was a racially divided town — about 20,000 people, half of them white, half of them black — a place where you could grow up well-loved, well-taught, and well-churched, and still be unaware of the lives of others merely blocks away.  It was nonetheless a good place to be a cub reporter: small enough to navigate but big enough to keep me busy and learning something new every day.  I soon had a stroke of luck.  Some of the old-timers in the newsroom were on vacation or out sick, and I got assigned to report on what came to be known as the “Housewives’ Rebellion.”  Fifteen women in town (all white) decided not to pay the Social Security withholding tax for their domestic workers (all black).

They argued that Social Security was unconstitutional, that imposing it was taxation without representation, and that — here’s my favorite part — “requiring us to collect [the tax] is no different from requiring us to collect the garbage.”  They hired themselves a lawyer — none other than Martin Dies, Jr., the former congressman best known, or worst known, for his work as head of the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the witch-hunting days of the 1930s and 1940s.  They went to court — and lost.  Social Security was constitutional, after all.  They held their noses and paid the tax.

The stories I helped report were picked up by the Associated Press and circulated nationwide.  One day, the managing editor, Spencer Jones, called me over and pointed to the AP ticker beside his desk.  Moving across the wire was a notice citing the reporters on our paper for the reporting we had done on the “rebellion.”  I spotted my name and was hooked.  In one way or another, after a detour through seminary and then into politics and government, I’ve been covering the class war ever since.

Those women in Marshall, Texas, were among its advance guard.  Not bad people, they were regulars at church, their children were my classmates, many of them were active in community affairs, and their husbands were pillars of the business and professional class in town.  They were respectable and upstanding citizens all, so it took me a while to figure out what had brought on that spasm of reactionary defiance.  It came to me one day, much later: they simply couldn’t see beyond their own prerogatives.

Fiercely loyal to their families, to their clubs, charities, and congregations — fiercely loyal, in other words, to their own kind — they narrowly defined membership in democracy to include only people like themselves.  The black women who washed and ironed their laundry, cooked their families’ meals,  cleaned their bathrooms, wiped their children’s bottoms, and made their husbands’ beds, these women, too, would grow old and frail, sick and decrepit, lose their husbands and face the ravages of time alone, with nothing to show for their years of labor but the creases on their brows and the knots on their knuckles.  There would be nothing for them to live on but the modest return on their toil secured by the collaborative guarantee of a safety net.

The Unfinished Work of America

In one way or another, this is the oldest story in America: the struggle to determine whether “we, the people” is a moral compact embedded in a political contract or merely a charade masquerading as piety and manipulated by the powerful and privileged to sustain their own way of life at the expense of others.

I should make it clear that I don’t harbor any idealized notion of politics and democracy.  Remember, I worked for Lyndon Johnson.  Nor do I romanticize “the people.” You should read my mail and posts on right-wing websites.  I understand the politician in Texas who said of the state legislature, “If you think these guys are bad, you should see their constituents.”

But there is nothing idealized or romantic about the difference between a society whose arrangements roughly serve all its citizens (something otherwise known as social justice) and one whose institutions have been converted into a stupendous fraud.  That can be the difference between democracy and plutocracy.

Toward the end of Justice Brennan’s tenure on the Supreme Court, he made a speech that went to the heart of the matter.  He said:

“We do not yet have justice, equal and practical, for the poor, for the members of minority groups, for the criminally accused, for the displaced persons of the technological revolution, for alienated youth, for the urban masses… Ugly inequities continue to mar the face of the nation. We are surely nearer the beginning than the end of the struggle.”

And so we are. One hundred and fifty years ago, Abraham Lincoln stood on the blood-soaked battlefield of Gettysburg and called Americans to “the great task remaining.”  That “unfinished work,” as he named it, remained the same then as it was when America’s founding generation began it. And it remains the same today: to breathe new life into the promise of the Declaration of Independence and to assure that the Union so many have sacrificed to save is a union worth saving.

 

See more stories tagged with:

bill moyers [4],

Justice William Brennan [5],

class warfare [6],

roberts court [7],

plutocracy [8],

dark money [9]


Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/bill-moyers-we-are-close-losing-our-democracy-mercenary-class

Links:
[1] http://www.tomdispatch.com/
[2] http://www.alternet.org/authors/bill-moyers-1
[3] http://tomdispatch.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=6cb39ff0b1f670c349f828c73&id=1e41682ade
[4] http://www.alternet.org/tags/bill-moyers
[5] http://www.alternet.org/tags/justice-william-brennan
[6] http://www.alternet.org/tags/class-warfare-0
[7] http://www.alternet.org/tags/roberts-court
[8] http://www.alternet.org/tags/plutocracy
[9] http://www.alternet.org/tags/dark-money
[10] http://www.alternet.org/%2Bnew_src%2B

9 Ways the Right’s Ayn Randian Experiment Screws Over the Young

Blog for Our Future, By RJ Eskow, June 17, 2013

Conservatives keep claiming liberals want a “cradle-to-grave nanny state.” That rhetoric has distracted us from the real social re-engineering taking place all around us. The right, along with its “centrist” collaborators, is transforming our nation into a bloodless and soulless Randian State.

Their decades-long assault on our core social values is on the verge of consuming its first complete generation of Americans. Born at the dawn of the Reagan era, Millennials were the first to be fully subjected to this all-out attack on the idea that we take care of each other in this country, and they’ll pay for it from the cradle to the grave.

Some of us are the parents of Millennials. Who’ll fight with them, and for them?

The Psychosis

The Simpsons made a running joke out of Springfield’s “Ayn Rand School for Tots [3],” where toddlers fend for themselves in playrooms whose signs say things like “Helping is Futile.” That’s very funny. What is happening to our country isn’t.

A successful social contract has bound us together since the FDR era. The Randian State is an effort to dismantle it, replacing our nation’s web of mutual trust and support with a lifelong helplessness and dependence on the whims and generosity of corporations and ultra-wealthy individuals.

The Randian State is built in the morally depraved mold of right-wing über-heroine Rand, who reviled the less fortunate – and even those who tried to help them – as “parasites [4],” while at the same time idolizing sociopathic killers.

That last statement isn’t rhetoric. It’s reporting. “He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman,” Rand wrote admiringly of child murderer and dismemberer William Edward Hickman. “He can never realize and feel ‘other people.’”

As Mark Ames [5] points out, this echoes Rand’s description of her hero in The Fountainhead:  “He was born without the ability to consider others.”

Hickman’s actions were certainly not those of a “nanny.” But, while most conservatives undoubtedly disapprove of his deeds, the glorification of sociopathic selfishness represents the mentality with which the Administration is perpetually seeking “compromise.” It has infected everything from the Beltway’s “bipartisan” consensus to the content of our national media.

Where’s Julia?

Conservatives went into rhetorical overdrive last year after the Obama campaign released an “infographic” ad called “The Life of Julia,” depicting ways Obama’s policies help women throughout their lives.

A typical reaction came from self-declared moralizer, former Reagan official, and chronic excessive gambler [6] William Bennett. Bennett intoned [7] that “Julia’s entire life is defined by her interactions with the state … Notably absent in her story is any relationship with a husband, family, church or community … Instead, the state has taken their place and is her primary relationship.”

That’s deceptive, of course. The presentation focused on government because it wasabout government.  The Obama campaign wasn’t proposing to marry her or drive her to church. But reason rarely intrudes on such arguments. The Romney campaign quickly prepared a counter-slide show and the “socialist” debate was on.

Obama won.

Curiously, “Julia’s” story seems to have disappeared from the BarackObama.Com [8] and Organizing For Action websites now that victory’s been achieved. Old links to it are dead, and attempts to click on this introduction [9] only lead back to the site’s main page.

Anti-Social.

Bennett’s phrasing was drawn from conservative avatar Margaret Thatcher [10]. Thatcher represented a radically un-American vision of life which lacks either our sense of community or our bonds of mutual trust, and which denies even the existence of society itself.

“Who is society?” demanded Thatcher. “There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families …”

Conservatives went searching for evidence that centrist Obama was really pushing cradle-to-grave socialism. The only target they could find for their faux outrage was Michelle Obama’s campaign [11] to encourage breastfeeding, an embarrassing right-wing misfire which suggests there may be Freudian overtones to their “nanny” outrage.

Instead of pushing “cradle to grave” statism, the Administration pivoted immediately after the election to government-shrinking Grand Bargains. A “sequester” agreed to by both parties began slashing services on both ends of life. And the Administration’s attempting to end the sequester, not by calling for its straight repeal (as it should), but by offering cuts to Social Security at the later end of that “cradle to grave” span.

Come to think of it, maybe that’s why “Julia” has disappeared from the Obama website.

The Manifesto

The Randian State’s first manifesto may have been the startling document produced by Ronald Reagan’s “blue ribbon” education commission in 1983, which proposed to use schools as factories for more effectively turning Millennials – and every generation that follows – into usable raw material for corporate production.

The commission approached American education in a self-declared state of crisis, saying it was asked to address “the widespread public perception” – held by whom, exactly? – “that something is seriously remiss in our educational system.”

The sternly ideological report which resulted was called “A Nation At Risk [12].” Though right-wing in content, it reads like a Soviet proclamation on industrial production. Students are redefined as inputs in a system to maximize American corporate competitiveness, productivity and profits.

“History is not kind to idlers,” says the report. “We live among determined, well-educated, and strongly motivated competitors. We compete with them for international standing and markets …”

The rhetoric is hectoring and fierce:

“(T)he educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.”

The “problem” was stated in terms that were both militaristic – “We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament” – and moralistic: “Our Nation’s schools and Colleges … are routinely called on to provide solutions to personal, social, and political problems that the home and other institutions either will not or cannot resolve.”

That was an assault on an idea that had been uncontroversial among Americans of all political persuasions for generations: that education can and should help children learn to participate more effectively in society. The authors had more concrete objectives in mind.  Like Communist commissars plumping next year’s wheat harvest, their goal was productivity, productivity, productivity.

“Knowledge, learning, information, and skilled intelligence are the new raw materials of international commerce,” wrote the Commission.  And by “raw materials,” Millennials, they meant you.

The rest of the Commission’s report is largely taken up by a) platitudes, and b) statistical studies which soon challenged aggressively [13].  But the Randian State moved on, Millennials firmly in its maw. And while A Nation At Risk only targeted students, it soon had Americans of all ages in its sights.

Birth School Work Death

During the Thatcher years a British punk group called The Godfathers put out a song called “Birth School Work Death.” Here are nine ways the Cradle to Grave Randian State is harming Millennials in those four stages of life.

1. Prenatal Nutrition

For some the new regime began even before they were born. The Reagan Administration moved to cut nutrition funding [14] for 600,000 pregnant women, a particularly hypocritical act for a movement which claims to be concerned about the rights of unborn children.

2. Early Childhood Nutrition

The same cuts also lowered food budgets for children in 4.6 million households, eighty-seven percent of which lived below the poverty line.

3. School lunches

The National School Lunch Act of 1946 and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 both promoted healthy meals for America’s schoolchildren.  Seems benign and even wise – unless you’re a Randian, of course. The Reagan Administration added to cuts in 1980 budget, then passed into infamy when it stated that ketchup and pickle relish [15] could be considered “vegetables” when designing a balanced diet.

Few, if any, parents adopted this approach at the family dinner table. “Kids, finish your vegetables!” never became “Kids, finish sucking the factory produced, sugar-drenched condiments out of those little folding packets!”

4. Cutting education funds.

The Reagan Administration’s cuts to the Department of Education, some occurring under Education Secretary William Bennett, eventually totaled $19 billion.

The right has continued to mount an assault on school funding at every level ever since, from local school boards up to the state and Federal level. They’ve been joined by “centrist” Democrats like Rahm Emanuel in their efforts to demonize teachers and privatize schools.

5. Making college unaffordable.

The University of Virginia’s Miller Center conducted a study for the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and found that “Since the mid-1980s” – roughly the start of the Millennial Generation -”the costs of higher education in America have steadily shifted from the taxpayer to the student and family.”

Median family income have risen by 147% since then, while college tuition and fees rose 439%, a tripling of education costs in real dollar terms. The impact has been greatest on lower-income families, sounding a potential death knell for social mobility.

From the New York Times: “Among the poorest families … the net cost of a year at a public university was 55 percent of median income, up from 39 percent in 1999-2000.”

6. Leaving graduates drowning in debt.

The misguided ‘privatization’ of Sallie Mae, the government’s student loan enterprise, led to a series of political and financial scandals. (See “Sallie Mae’s Jets [16].”) It also contributed to an explosion of student loans, many of which went to highly dubious ‘colleges’ which issued high-cost, worthless degrees. Many other students went to more legitimate institutions, but found themselves drowning in debt.

Now 7.4 million students [17] are about to see a doubling of their interest rates unless something is done.  Elizabeth Warren [18] has proposed given them access to the Fed’s ultra-low rates for banks, while more modest proposals would keep current rates in place.

The student debt situation for Millennials would be morally unconscionable even if rates remain at current levels.  Anything else is shocking to contemplate.  The UPI reports today [19] that Sen. Lamar Alexander said the President and Republicans “agree” on what should be done.

That’s not reassuring.

7. Massive unemployment.

There are 10 million unemployed young people [20] in the United States. The official youth unemployment rate is 16.2 percent, the adjusted rate (including discouraged workers) is22.9 percent [21] – not much better than the Eurozone’s – and the anemic ‘jobs recovery’ is even weaker for Millennials.

The crisis covers everything from high-school-age summer and after-school jobs to employment after graduation.

Studies show that youth unemployment lowers income for the rest of a person’s life. That means this crisis is urgent as well as massive. Every passing month harms the future of an entire generation. What immediate, major measures are being proposed to address this emergency?

None.

8. An increasingly inequitable, wage-stagnating economy.

When Millennials do find jobs – hopefully – they’ll enter a marketplace and economy plagued by historic levels of wage inequality and stagnation.

That’s not an accident: It’s policy.Tax rates favor inequality [22].  Right-wing Republicans and “centrist” Democrats have savaged unions, an effective counterweight against growing inequality. And both parties have served the growing financialization of our economy (although the GOP does it with more gusto), making things worse for everybody except Wall Street.

9. Greater fear and insecurity in old age.

Now the President has proposed cutting Social Security benefits through the cynical “chained CPI.” The “Chain” is also a tax increase, but only on income below the highest level, which means it will aggravate the inequalities that are hurting the vast majority of Americans.

Every generation will suffer if it passes, including those who have already retired. But for Millennials it will be a final late-life kick from the Randian State.

A Letter to Millennials

The year was 1984. Wham! and Cyndi Lauper were topping the charts.  The top movie of the year was, appropriately enough, The Terminator.  And the nation was re-electing Ronald Reagan. Americans are now suffering from birth to death as a result of this triumphal year for Randians, which plunged us deeper into a red-in-tooth-and-claw world and left millions struggling with its social consequences.

As they used to say back then: Have a nice day!

Dear Millennials:  We tried to stop them. We failed. We’re sorry.  Now we need a party – and more importantly, a movement – that will refuse to allow the continued destruction of government’s vital role in our social fabric.

Until we do, every generation will suffer. But you, the Millennials, will continue to carry the dubious distinction of being the first generation of Americans to have been assaulted from the cradle to the grave. For your sake and everyone’s else, you must fight back.

This Father’s Day, here’s a promise: Some of us will be right there beside you.

(This piece has been edited slightly since first published, mostly to replace the awkward phrase ‘Rand-y’ with ‘Randian.’)

 

See more stories tagged with:

rand [23],

ayn rand [24]


Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/ayn-rand-0

Links:
[1] http://www.ourfuture.org
[2] http://www.alternet.org/authors/rj-eskow
[3] http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Ayn_Rand_School_for_Tots
[4] http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/129091-the-man-who-attempts-to-live-for-others-is-a
[5] http://exiledonline.com/paul-ryans-guru-ayn-rand-worshipped-a-serial-killer-who-kidnapped-and-dismembered-little-girls/
[6] http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/474.html
[7] http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/09/opinion/bennett-obama-campaign
[8] http://barackobama.com/
[9] http://www.barackobama.com/truth-team/entry/the-life-of-julia/
[10] http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandingheights/shared/minitextlo/prof_margaretthatcher.html
[11] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/15/michele-bachmann-michelle-obama_n_823604.html
[12] http://datacenter.spps.org/uploads/sotw_a_nation_at_risk_1983.pdf
[13] http://www.edutopia.org/landmark-education-report-nation-risk
[14] http://www.csmonitor.com/1983/1108/110814.html/(page)/3
[15] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketchup_as_a_vegetable
[16] http://www.ourfuture.org/node/44840
[17] http://blog.ourfuture.org/20130531/99593
[18] http://blog.ourfuture.org/20130508/congress-should-pass-elizabeth-warrens-bill-lowering-student-loan-rates
[19] http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/06/15/Alexander-GOP-Obama-agree-on-fixing-student-loan-rates/UPI-83531371323368/
[20] http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/report/2013/06/05/65373/americas-10-million-unemployed-youth-spell-danger-for-future-economic-growth/
[21] http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/04/06/number-of-the-week-youth-unemployment-at-22-9/
[22] http://www.nationalmemo.com/inequality-rising-all-thanks-to-government-policies/
[23] http://www.alternet.org/tags/rand-0
[24] http://www.alternet.org/tags/ayn-rand-0
[25] http://www.alternet.org/%2Bnew_src%2B

 

Restore the Basic Bargain

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog, November 29, 2011

Excerpt

For most of the last century, the basic bargain at the heart of the American economy was that employers paid their workers enough to buy what American employers were selling.

That basic bargain created a virtuous cycle of higher living standards, more jobs, and better wages…

The basic bargain is over…

New data from the Commerce Department shows employee pay is now down to the smallest share of the economy since the government began collecting wage and salary data in 1929.

Meanwhile, corporate profits now constitute the largest share of the economy since 1929.

The latest data on corporate profits and wages show we haven’t learned the essential lesson of the two big economic crashes of the last seventy-five years: When the economy becomes too lopsided – disproportionately benefitting corporate owners and top executives rather than average workers – it tips over…

In other words, we’re in trouble because the basic bargain has been broken.

Corporations don’t need more money. They have so much money right now they don’t even know what to do with all of it…

Nor do the wealthiest Americans need more money. The top 1 percent is already taking in more than 20 percent of total income – the highest since the 1920s…

We’re in a vicious cycle. The only way out of it is to put more money into the pockets of average Americans. That means extending the payroll tax cut. And extending unemployment benefits…

A basic bargain was once at the heart of the American economy. It recognized that average workers are also consumers and that their paychecks keep the economy going.

We can’t have a healthy economy until that bargain is restored.

Full text

For most of the last century, the basic bargain at the heart of the American economy was that employers paid their workers enough to buy what American employers were selling.

That basic bargain created a virtuous cycle of higher living standards, more jobs, and better wages.

Back in 1914, Henry Ford announced he was paying workers on his Model T assembly line $5 a day – three times what the typical factory employee earned at the time. The Wall Street Journal termed his action “an economic crime.”

But Ford knew it was a cunning business move. The higher wage turned Ford’s auto workers into customers who could afford to buy Model Ts. In two years Ford’s profits more than doubled.

That was then. Now, Ford Motor Company is paying its new hires half what it paid new employees a few years ago.

The basic bargain is over – not only at Ford, but all over the American economy.

New data from the Commerce Department shows employee pay is now down to the smallest share of the economy since the government began collecting wage and salary data in 1929.

Meanwhile, corporate profits now constitute the largest share of the economy since 1929.

1929, by the way, was the year of the Great Crash that ushered in the Great Depression.

In the years leading up to the Great Crash, most employers forgot Henry Ford’s example. The wages of most American workers remained stagnant. The gains of economic growth went mainly into corporate profits and into the pockets of the very rich. American families maintained their standard of living by going deeper into debt. In 1929 the debt bubble popped.

Sound familiar? It should. The same thing happened in the years leading up to the crash of 2008.

The latest data on corporate profits and wages show we haven’t learned the essential lesson of the two big economic crashes of the last seventy-five years: When the economy becomes too lopsided – disproportionately benefitting corporate owners and top executives rather than average workers – it tips over.

In other words, we’re in trouble because the basic bargain has been broken.

Yet incredibly, some politicians think the best way to restart the nation’s job engine is to make corporations even more profitable and the rich even richer – reducing corporate taxes; cutting back on regulations protecting public health, worker safety, the environment, and small investors; and slashing taxes on the very rich.

These same politicians think average workers should have even less money in their pockets. They don’t want to extend the payroll tax cut or unemployment benefits. And they want to make it harder for workers to form unions.

These politicians have reality upside down.

Corporations don’t need more money. They have so much money right now they don’t even know what to do with all of it. They’re even buying back their own shares of stock. This is a bonanza for CEOs whose pay is tied to stock prices and it increases the wealth of other shareholders. But it doesn’t create a single new job and it doesn’t raise the wages of a single employee.

Nor do the wealthiest Americans need more money. The top 1 percent is already taking in more than 20 percent of total income – the highest since the 1920s.

American businesses, including small-business owners, have no incentive to create new jobs because consumers (whose spending accounts for about 70 percent of the American economy) aren’t spending enough. Consumers’ after-tax incomes dropped in the second and third quarters of the year, the first back-to-back drops since 2009.

The recent small pickup in consumer spending has come out of their savings. Obviously this can’t continue, and corporations know it. Consumer savings are already at their lowest level in four years.

Get it? Corporate profits are up right now largely because pay is down and companies aren’t hiring. But this is a losing game even for corporations over the long term. Without enough American consumers, their profitable days are numbered.

After all, there’s a limit to how much profit they can get out of cutting American payrolls or even selling abroad. European consumers are in no mood to buy. And most Asian economies, including China, are slowing.

We’re in a vicious cycle. The only way out of it is to put more money into the pockets of average Americans. That means extending the payroll tax cut. And extending unemployment benefits.

Don’t stop there. Create a WPA to get the long-term unemployed back to work. And a Civilian Conservation Corp to create jobs for young people.

Hire teachers for classrooms now overcrowded, and pay them enough to attract people who are talented as well as dedicated. Rebuild our pot-holed highways. Create a world-class infrastructure.

Pay for this by hiking taxes on millionaires.

A basic bargain was once at the heart of the American economy. It recognized that average workers are also consumers and that their paychecks keep the economy going.

We can’t have a healthy economy until that bargain is restored.

——————————————————————————–

Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including “The Work of Nations,” “Locked in the Cabinet,” “Supercapitalism” and his latest book, “AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America’s Future.” His ‘Marketplace’ commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/279-82/8644-restore-the-basic-bargain

The conservative learning curve

By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: December 5

Over the long run, the most important impact of an election is not on the winning party but on the loser. Winners feel confirmed in staying the course they’re on. Losing parties — or, at least, the ones intent on winning again someday — are moved to figure out what they did wrong and how they must change.

After losing throughout the 1930s and ’40s, Republicans finally came to terms with the New Deal and elected Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. Democrats lost three elections in the 1980s and did a lot of rethinking inspired by Bill Clinton, who won the White House in 1992. In Britain, the Labor Party learned a great deal during its exile from power in the Margaret Thatcher years. The same thing happened to the Conservatives during Tony Blair’s long run.

The American conservative movement and the Republican Party it controls were stunned by President Obama’s victory last month. The depth of their astonishment was itself a sign of how much they misunderstood the country they proposed to lead. Yet the shock has pushed many conservatives to think at least mildly heretical thoughts.

In particular, some are realizing that the tea party surge of 2010 was akin to an amphetamine rush — it produced instant gratification but left the conservative brand tarnished by extremism on both social and economic issues. Within two years, the tea party high gave way to a crash.

It’s true that the early signs of conservative evolution are superficial and largely rhetorical. The right wing’s supporters are already threatening primaries against House and Senate Republicans who offer even a hint of apostasy when it comes to raising taxes in any budget deal. Many Republicans still fear challenges from their right far more than defeat in an election by a Democrat.

Nonetheless, rhetorical shifts often presage substantive changes because they are the first and easiest steps along the revisionist path. And on Tuesday, three prominent Republicans took the plunge.

At a dinner in honor of the late Jack Kemp — a big tax-cutter who also had a big heart — Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Marco Rubio both worked hard to back the party away from the damage done by Mitt Romney’s comments on the supposedly dependent 47 percent and the broader hostility shown toward government by a conservatism transfigured by tea-party thinking.

Ryan spoke gracious words about Romney, the man who made him his running mate on the GOP ticket. But the implicit criticism of Romney’s theory was unmistakable. Kemp, Ryan said, “hated the idea that any part of America could be written off.” Republicans, Ryan said, must “carry on and keep fighting for the American Idea — the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to rise, to escape from poverty.” He also said: “Government must act for the common good, while leaving private groups free to do the work that only they can do.”

Rubio dubbed his speech a discourse on “middle-class opportunity” and distanced himself from the GOP’s obsession with giving succor to the very wealthy.

“Every country in the world has rich people,” Rubio said. “But only a few places have achieved a vibrant and stable middle class. And in the history of the world, none has been more vibrant and more stable than the great American middle class.”

Rubio also walked a new and more careful line on government. “Government has a role to play,” he said, “and we must make sure that it does its part.” Then, making sure he stayed inside the conservative tent, Rubio added: “But it’s a supporting role, to help create the conditions that enable prosperity in our private economy.”

For good measure, former president George W. Bush tried to push his party back toward moderation on immigration, using a speech in Texas to urge that the issue be approached with “a benevolent spirit” mindful of “the contribution of immigrants.”

There’s ample reason to remain skeptical about how far conservatives will go in challenging themselves. Substantively, neither Ryan nor Rubio threw much conservative orthodoxy overboard.

And actions matter more than words. It’s not encouraging that a large group of Republican senators blocked ratification of the international treaty on the rights of the disabled. Then there’s the budget. If Republicans can’t accept even a modest increase in tax rates on the best-off Americans, it’s hard to take their proclamations of a new day seriously.

Still, elections are 2-by-4s, and many conservatives seem to realize the need to understand what just hit them.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ej-dionne-jr-conservatives-start-talking-about-a-change/2012/12/05/ad3dbcaa-3f12-11e2-ae43-cf491b837f7b_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines

Social Contract

Reweaving the Fabric of our Societyby Joan Blades, Living Room Conversations, posted on HuffingtonPost.com, 05/22/2012 …Most of us agree that D.C. dynamics have got to change for the U.S. to solve the real challenges we confront and to retain our leadership role in the world. Political leaders and the media are failing us on so many levels…all Americans have a great deal in common. But our understanding of politics, economics, science and even basic facts is increasingly disparate. We cannot afford to continue on this path. A healthy democracy requires an educated electorate that shares basic truths and values — or at least is willing to sit down and listen to one another with an open mind, with mutual respect and civility…While the traditional media loves fights, the new and emerging social media loves connections. We can leverage the wisdom and creativity of crowds to find win-win solutions to our common problems. We can scale our efforts to tens of thousands of conversations, giving individuals the power to begin to reweave the social fabric of our communities…

The Social Contract by Paul Krugman, New York Times, September 22, 2011 …people…who want to exempt the very rich from bearing any of the burden of making our finances sustainable, are waging class war.  As background, it helps to know what has been happening to incomes over the past three decades…between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted income of families in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent…the income of the very rich, the top 100th of 1 percent of the income distribution, rose by 480 percent…policy has consistently tilted to the advantage of the wealthy as opposed to the middle class… Some of the most important aspects of that tilt involved such things as the sustained attack on organized labor and financial deregulation, which created huge fortunes even as it paved the way for economic disaster. For today, however, let’s focus just on taxes. The budget office’s numbers show that the federal tax burden has fallen for all income classes, which itself runs counter to the rhetoric you hear from the usual suspects. But that burden has fallen much more, as a percentage of income, for the wealthy. Partly this reflects big cuts in top income tax rates, but, beyond that, there has been a major shift of taxation away from wealth and toward work: tax rates on corporate profits, capital gains and dividends have all fallen, while the payroll tax — the main tax paid by most workers — has gone up…According to new estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, one-fourth of those with incomes of more than $1 million a year pay income and payroll tax of 12.6 percent of their income or less, putting their tax burden below that of many in the middle class…Elizabeth Warren, the financial reformer who is now running for the United States Senate in Massachusetts…“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody,” she declared, pointing out that the rich can only get rich thanks to the “social contract” that provides a decent, functioning society in which they can prosper. Which brings us back to those cries of “class warfare.” Republicans…are insisting that the wealthy — who presumably have as much of a stake as everyone else in the nation’s future — should not be called upon to play any role in warding off that existential threat. Well, that amounts to a demand that a small number of very lucky people be exempted from the social contract that applies to everyone else. And that, in case you’re wondering, is what real class warfare looks like.

Dark Ages Redux: American Politics and the End of the Enlightenment by John Atcheson, Com­mon Dreams, June 18, 2012 — We are wit­ness­ing an epochal shift in our socio-political world.  We are de-evolving, hurtling head­long into a past that was defined by serfs and lords; by necro­mancy and super­sti­tion; by poli­cies based on fiat, not facts.Much of what has made the mod­ern world in gen­eral, and the United States in par­tic­u­lar, a free and pros­per­ous soci­ety comes directly from insights that arose dur­ing the Enlightenment. Too bad we’re chuck­ing it all out and return­ing to the Dark Ages. …Now, we seek to oper­ate by revealed truths, not real­ity.  Decrees from on high – often issued by an unholy alliance of reli­gious fun­da­men­tal­ists, self-interested cor­po­ra­tions, and greedy fat cats – are offered up as real­ity by rightwing politicians…Sec­ond, the Enlight­en­ment laid the ground­work for our form of gov­ern­ment. The Social Con­tract is the intel­lec­tual basis of all mod­ern demo­c­ra­tic republics, includ­ing ours.  John Locke and oth­ers argued that gov­ern­ments derived their author­ity from the gov­erned, not from divine right.  Gov­ern­ments could be legit­i­mate, then, only with the con­sent of the governed. Jef­fer­son acknowl­edged Locke’s influ­ence on the Dec­la­ra­tion of Inde­pen­dence and his ideas are evi­dent in the Constitution. Here again, our founders used rea­son, empiri­cism and aca­d­e­mic schol­ar­ship to cob­ble together one of the most endur­ing and influ­en­tial doc­u­ments in human his­tory.  For all its flaws, it has steered us steadily toward a more per­fect union. Until recently…We are, indeed, at an epochal thresh­old.  We can con­tinue to dis­card the Enlight­en­ment val­ues which enabled both an untold increase in mate­r­ial wealth and a sys­tem of gov­ern­ment which turned serfs into cit­i­zens.  A sys­tem which – for all its flaws – often man­aged to pro­tect the rights of the many, against the preda­tory power of the few. Or we can con­tinue our abject sur­ren­der to myths, mag­i­cal think­ing, and self-delusion and the Medieval nation-state those forces are resurrecting. Repub­li­cans and Tea Partiers may be lead­ing this retreat from rea­son, but they are unop­posed by Democ­rats or the Press. And in the end, there is a spe­cial place in Hell for those who allow evil to pros­per by doing nothing.

Democracy in America Is a Series of Narrow Escapes, and We May Be Running Out of Luck by Bill Moyers, May 17, 2008 , CommonDreams.orgThe reigning presumption about the American experience…is grounded in the idea of progress, the conviction that the present is “better” than the past and the future will bring even more improvement. For all of its shortcomings, we keep telling ourselves, “The system works.” Now all bets are off. We have fallen under the spell of money, faction, and fear, and the great American experience in creating a different future together has been subjugated to individual cunning in the pursuit of wealth and power –and to the claims of empire, with its ravenous demands and stuporous distractions. …there is a class war and ordinary people are losing it…The conclusion that we are in trouble is unavoidable…statistics that show real wages lagging behind prices, the compensation of corporate barons soaring to heights unequaled anywhere among industrialized democracies...extremes of wealth and poverty cannot be reconciled with a genuinely democratic politics. When the state becomes the guardian of power and privilege to the neglect of justice for the people as a whole, it mocks the very concept of government as proclaimed in the preamble to our Constitution…Our democracy has prospered most when it was firmly anchored in the idea that “We the People” — not just a favored few — would identify and remedy common distempers and dilemmas and win the gamble our forebears undertook when they espoused the radical idea that people could govern themselves wisely.

Restore the Basic Bargain By Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog, November 29, 2011

 

Culture

A Different Kind of Division (race) By ROSS DOUTHATAugust 24, 2013

Why Life in America Can Literally Drive You Insane By Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet, July 30 2013

10 U.S. to Grow Grayer, More Diverse, Minorities Will Be Majority by 2042, Census Bureau, WashingtonPost, August 14, 2008 The nation’s population will look dramatically different by mid-century, becoming more racially and ethnically diverse and a good deal older as it increases from about 302 million to 439 million by 2050, according to projections released today by the U.S. Census Bureau…Minorities, about one-third of the U.S. population, are expected to become a majority by 2042 and be 54 percent of U.S. residents by 2050.

How American Society Unravelled After Greedy Elites Robbed the Country Blind by George Packer, The Guardian, June 20, 2013  — posted on Alternet.org – In or around 1978, America’s character changed…Americans were no less greedy, ignorant, selfish and violent then than they are today, and no more generous, fair-minded and idealistic. But the institutions of American democracy, stronger than the excesses of individuals, were usually able to contain and channel them to more useful ends. Human nature does not change, but social structures can, and they did… In Washington, corporations organised themselves into a powerful lobby that spent millions of dollars to defeat the kind of labour and consumer bills they had once accepted as part of the social contract. Newt Gingrich came to Congress as a conservative Republican with the singular ambition to tear it down and build his own and his party’s power on the rubble…The large currents of the past generation – deindustrialisation, the flattening of average wages, the financialisation of the economy, income inequality, the growth of information technology, the flood of money into Washington, the rise of the political right – all had their origins in the late 70s.…American elites took the vast transformation of the economy as a signal to rewrite the rules that used to govern their behavior…There will always be isolated lawbreakers in high places; what destroys morale below is the systematic corner-cutting, the rule-bending, the self-dealing…It is no wonder that more and more Americans believe the game is rigged. It is no wonder that they buy houses they cannot afford and then walk away from the mortgage when they can no longer pay. Once the social contract is shredded, once the deal is off, only suckers still play by the rules.  full text

Us vs Them: A Simple Recipe to Prevent Strong Society from Forming By James Rohrer, AlterNet.org, July 27, 2012

Conservative Southern Values Revived  bySarah Robinson, Alternet.org, 2012

DC Beltway Is America’s Wealthiest, Brainiest, Most Insular Region By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet, November 13, 2013 …whole sections of the Washington suburbs are a unique wealthy enclave…those who are fortunate enough to live in this rarified paradise almost never have to interact with the rest of dreadful (or less privileged) humanity… Washington is an example of how the country is compartmentalizing itself into clusters of people with different backgrounds and world views…The Capitol has always been an old-fashioned company town, the company being the federal government…when it comes to generosity, the richest Americans are not known for their selfless examples. Philanthropy.com reports [13] that the wealthiest Americans give the least to charity…it is another dismal sign of our times when the epicenter of American democracy is also a capital of concentrated wealth and insularity. And the hometown paper brags about it.

Corporate America, meet ‘Generation C’ by Brian Solis, Washington Post, June 28 2012

America Without a Middle Class by Elizabeth Warren, Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel created to oversee the banking bailouts, posted December 3, 2009 on Huffington Post“Can you imagine an America without a strong middle class? If you can, would it still be America as we know it?…The crisis facing the middle class started more than a generation ago. Even as productivity rose, the wages of the average fully-employed male have been flat since the 1970s. But core expenses kept going up…The contrast with the big banks could not be sharper. While the middle class has been caught in an economic vise, the financial industry that was supposed to serve them has prospered at their expense…And when various forms of this creative banking triggered economic crisis, the banks went to Washington for a handout…Even though the tax dollars that supported the bailout came largely from middle class families — from people already working hard to make ends meet — the beneficiaries of those tax dollars are now lobbying Congress to preserve the rules that had let those huge banks feast off the middle class…America without a strong middle class? Unthinkable, but the once-solid foundation is shaking.”

Seeking a Cultural Revolution: From Consumerism to Sustainability by Matthew Berger, 2010 State of the World, Transforming Cultures, The Worldwatch Institute, Inter Press Service, January 13, 2010

Calling Radicalism by Its Name — Editorial,  New York Times, April 3, 2012

How the Right Has Turned Everything Into a Culture War — And Why That’s Terrible for Our Democracy By Joshua Holland, AlterNet, February 28, 2012

Jonathan Haidt Explains Our Contentious Culture, Moyers & Company, February 3, 2012

The Social Contract by Paul Krugman, New York Times, September 22, 2011

Restore the Basic Bargain By Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog, November 29, 2011

Reweaving the Fabric of our Society by Joan Blades, Living Room Conversations, posted on HuffingtonPost.com, 05/22/2012