Whenever I meet someone who identifies himself as a “liberal” or left-winger, I immediately ask them, “What caused the banks to crash?” The answer: “lack of regulation.” When I ask them to elaborate, they say, parroting Tim Geithner, that the problem is “very complex,” implying “you aren’t smart enough to understand.”
But the ultimate implication is that free market principles killed the banks.
But the free market has an alibi. It left the country years ago. Some say it started to decline with the creation of the Fed and income tax in 1913. Others trace the decline to the 30s and FDR’s Keynesian policies.
At any rate, the Western economy has long been an unsavory mixture of government and business, which some call corporatism and others call fascism. Indeed, it is essentially the economic system introduced by Mussolini, with the difference that Mussolini did not use it to harm banks or businesses.
Big business certainly fits this description of a public-private partnership. In the financial service industry, toxic government policies force banks to make bad loans but tacitly guarantee these loans under the aegis of Fanny and Freddy. Gone are the days of mortgages guaranteed by sound financial practices such as credit checks and 20 percent down payments. Common sense and self preservation have been left out of the equation.
Manufacturers like the auto industry have always been manipulated by big government using the levers of labor unions (and, more recently, green policies), to the extent that labor prices average in the $70s per hour per (unskilled) worker. Obviously, the industry is no longer viable, but never fear, the government will prop it up at all costs – to you.
Green policies force manufacturers to hold to unrealistic clean air and water standards that drive prices even higher. Cap and trade will be a new tax more onerous than any government interference heretofore, making CO2 emitters pay fines for emissions that easily pass muster, for example, in China.
And when we buy from the heavily polluting, labor-exploiting Chinese, at prices that make our over-regulated industries incapable of competition, government cynically calls this “free trade.”
Imagine sending an American boxer into the ring with pillows tied to his hands and with hands and feet bound, to fight an unfettered foreign opponent armed with brass knuckles, and calling this a fair fight!
Most would say that labor unions represent the intrusive government side since without government support, in a truly free economy, the law of supply and demand would not tolerate such overpriced labor even for a day. Likewise, most would say that executives represent the "private" side of industry. Yet, in a truly free economy, these high-ranking leeches would also not be tolerated for a day.
The problem is that if big government intervenes on behalf of labor to grant them exorbitant salaries, then, out of "fairness," it is obliged, in any democratic system, to allow management to gouge likewise. We get two evils for the price of one.
Now conservatives have traditionally defended management's right to excessive remuneration, perceiving themselves as defenders of the “private sector” and the CEOs as their protégés, while the left sees itself as the defender of labor.
But both sides are wrong, in two ways – neither side fully understands that big business has long been a State-private partnership, heavy on State, with the free market being shackled. And neither side understands that the malaise is largely cultural, not political, nor economic.
In a healthy culture of honorable people with common sense (like the Japanese, for example), no labor union would be capable of negotiating terms that would make their business unprofitable to the point of destroying their jobs. Yet union after union has done just that in America, with workers blithely accepting the demise of their jobs, dutifully blaming management and now, in the Obama Age the free market itself, ignoring that free market capitalism has been extinct for years.
No decent CEO would demand an exorbitant salary knowing that in so doing he or she was destroying the business that sustains himself, his family and his workers. They would see the danger to themselves if nothing else. But seeing themselves as defenders of the illusory “free market,” they guiltlessly accept the exorbitant unearned fruits of others' labor and watch passively as their unprofitable industries fail – as though they had no say in the matter.
Nor, in a hypothetical sound and honorable culture based on common sense, would the media neglect to warn the public of the imminent loss of thousands of jobs as a result of reckless labor negotiations. But the media, staffed by far too many eager left-leaning polemicists, would not think of double crossing their comrades in the labor unions.
Further, education and academe would cultivate common sense and honor in workers, journalists, business managers, politicians and future educators, all of whom would join forces to keep America sound. But no such thing has happened in the United States for many, many years.
Japan comes closest to an honor-based, less egocentric culture, with workers at Toyota, for example, all showing up for work in their new Toyotas and management politely declining excessive raises. Accordingly, unemployment there has been running at half (a little over 4 percent) the Western rate (over 8 percent in the United States and EU both).
A half-century of relentless globalist-leftist activism in education, journalism, labor, management, media, education, religion and government has brainwashed Americans into accepting as inevitable – and moral – that more and more jobs go to the Third World and illegal immigrants, knowing that it is a death blow to the economy of their own nation and people, who grimly march unaware of their own destruction, fueled by political slogans disconnected from reality or science. Millions of Americans have succumbed to the spiritual and psychological onslaught.
If there is a unifying idea in the West, it is materialism, with both left and right shot through with its common threads — Engels’ notion on the left and materialist consumerism on the right.
The unifying philosophy of our forefathers has been almost completely surrendered to this self-destructive ideology.
Donald Hank is a former language teacher, currently operating a technical translation agency in Wrightsville, PA. A former language teacher, he holds an undergraduate degree in French and German from Millersville State University (PA), a Master’s degree in Russian language and literature from Kutztown State College (also in PA), has studied Chinese for 3 years in Taiwan at the Mandarin Training Center, and is self-taught in other languages, having logged a total of 8 years abroad in total immersion situations. He is also the founder of Lancaster-York Non-Custodial Parents, a volunteer organization that provides Christian counseling for non-custodial parents.