By Stephen Lendman
So-called budget/debt ceiling squabbles mask Washington's longstanding class war. It's been ongoing for decades.
Post-9/11 it intensified. Neoliberal harshness explains it. Bipartisan complicity force feeds it.
Doing so transfers unprecedented amounts of wealth from ordinary Americans to bankers, other corporate favorites, rich investors, and high net worth households.
What began in the late 1970s continues out-of-control. America's top 1% has more wealth than the bottom 95%.
Social inequality defines today's America. It's unprecedented or close to it. Poverty, unemployment, homelessness and hunger reflect Depression era levels.
Tens of millions of working age Americans are unemployed. Most others are underemployed. Families struggle to get by.
Income inequality is greater than in all other developed countries. Over three-fourths of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck.
Neoliberal harshness explains why. It bears repeating. Bipartisan complicity demands it. It's institutionalized. Wall Street wants more.
Shutdown squabbles mask political Washington's willingness to comply. Social America is on the chopping block for elimination.
Ordinary people have no say. Popular needs don't matter. Democracy is a convenient illusion. Monied interests run things. Whatever they want they get.
Ordinary people are exploited. Freedom and social justice are disappearing in plain sight. New World Order harshness reflects today's reality.
Its holy trinity is eliminating public services, unrestrained predatory capitalism, and cracking down hard on nonbelievers.
Power and privilege are institutionalized. Beneficial social change is verboten. Police state harshness prevents it.
Younger generations are worse off than older ones. Deplorable social inequality exists. A race to the bottom continues. Future prospects are grim.
Greater dystopian harshness is planned. Obama demands it. He's Wall Street's tool. Toing and froing debates mask what's ongoing.
Both parties are fundamentally in lockstep. Destroying social America is planned. It's on the chopping block for elimination. Vital safety net protections don't matter.
Venal politicians don't care. Predatory finance is policy. It's a new form of warfare. It's more destructive than standing armies.
It's wrecking millions of lives. It's turning America into a dystopian backwater. It reflects a declining empire's waning throes. America's ship of state is sinking.
Austerity fails ethically and morally. It's bad economics. Cutting back when stimulus is needed is madness. Doing so assures decline.
Workers need good-paying jobs. Social programs improve millions of lives. They lift all boats.
Prosperity produces jobs. When people have money they spend it. Economic growth follows. Hard times forces belt-tightening. It's a slippery slope to decline.
It's simple economics. US policies are reckless. They're self-destructive. They're out-of-control. They wreck millions of lives.
High-paying/good benefit jobs are disappearing. They're offshored to low wage countries. Deregulation lets bankers and corporate crooks rape and pillage.
They do so unrestrained for profits. They want as much money as they can get. It's manipulated to make more of it. Endless wars explain. So does predatory finance.
Kleptocracy defines today's America. Gangsterism reflects it. Personal freedoms, democratic values and general welfare don't matter. They're disappearing in plain sight.
Expect much worse ahead. Back room dealmaking assures it. Privileged elites want everything for themselves. They're stealing it from ordinary people to get it.
Democrats and Republicans are in league with corporate bosses. Shared sacrifice is code language. Ordinary people sacrifice to let business, political bosses, and rich elites share.
The American dream is more illusion than reality. George Carlin once said you have to be asleep to believe it.
Class war is official policy. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other vital protections are targeted for elimination.
Doing so frees up more money for imperial adventurism and corporate enrichment.
America is the world's richest country. It isn't broke. It misuses its resources. It hands them to Wall Street, war profiteers, and other corporate favorites.
Reverse Robin Hoodism is policy. Grand theft America reflects it. Milton Friedman's over-the-top ideology explained. It's US ruling class dogma.
He said markets work best unfettered of rules, regulations, onerous taxes, trade barriers, "entrenched interests" and human interference.
The best government is practically none at all, he believed. Whatever it does business does better so let it.
Government of, by and for everyone equitably is blasphemy. Unrestrained profiteering is good policy, he claimed.
Public wealth should be in private hands, he said. Abolish corporate taxes. Slash social services. Economic freedom is a be all and end all. It's "indispensable" to achieving "political freedom."
Friedman and his acolytes opposed Medicare, a living wage, most other social protections and public education.
He called unions "of little importance (in advancing US) worker" rights. He cited supply and demand fundamentalism. "The higher the price of anything, the less people buy."
"Make labor of any kind more expensive and the number of jobs of that kind will be fewer. Make carpenters more expensive, and fewer houses will be built."
"Raise wages of airline pilots (and) there will be fewer jobs for them (because) air travel will (cost more and) fewer people will fly."
High wages and good social benefits harm everyone, he believed. They raise prices. They lower demand. They destroy jobs. Prosperity depends on cheap labor, he claimed.
He said Social Security is "the biggest Ponzi scheme on earth."
He called it "an unholy combination of two items: a flat-rate tax on earnings up to a maximum with no exemption and a benefit program that awards subsidies that have no relation to need."
He ignored America's most successful poverty-reducing program. It's the most fundamental of social protections. It's on the chopping block for elimination. Handing it to Wall Street profiteers is planned.
Friedman wanted it privatized, saying:
It's "hard to justify requiring 100% of the people to adopt a government-prescribed straitjacket to avoid encouraging a few lower-income individuals to make no provision for their old age."
Millions of poor and low income Americans benefit. Their numbers grow exponentially. Friedman ignored them.
His "free to choose" manifesto advocated:
"To each according to what he and the instruments he owns produces."
In other words, everyone should be on their own sink or swim. Human wreckage doesn't matter. Poor people are responsible for their own impoverishment, he claimed.
Friedmanism reflects today's policies. He opposed market-interfering democracy, egalitarianism, and most government provided social services.
He advocated unfettered economic freedom, limited government, and unrestrained profit-making. Friedman helped establish Chicago School fundamentalism.
Pinochet's Chile became his first cutthroat capitalist laboratory. Hardline shock therapy was instituted. South America's most vibrant democracy was transformed into laissez faire hell.
Technocrats ran economic policy. "Caravan of death" justice followed. So did dystopian harshness. Inflation exploded.
In the first year, it hit 375%. Mass layoffs cost thousands of jobs. Social safety net protections disappeared. Economic contraction caused mass suffering. Cheap imports flooded the country. Local businesses died.
Free market paradise meant unemployment, poverty, hunger, homelessness, and brutal crackdowns on resisters. By the late 1980s, nearly half of Chilean households were impoverished.
Massive amounts of wealth were transferred to elite private hands. Unions were targeted for destruction. Dissenters disappeared. They were detained, tortured and killed.
Inside the bubble was paradise. Outside was dystopian hell. Chile remains one of Latin America's the most unequal societies. Longstanding policies shifted wealth upward.
One percent of the population benefitted hugely. It has over one-third of Chile's wealth. Inflation adjusted pay for 90% of society declined. It rose 150% for its 1% and 300% for its 0.1%.
Chicago School fundamentalism creates wastelands. Chile remains a model of economic unfairness. Crony capitalism reflects out-of-control corruption, inequality and injustice.
Neoliberal harshness robs millions of futures. It's suffocating Americans. Bipartisan complicity intends much worse.
Shifting virtually all public wealth to elite private hands is planned. Shutdown squabbles mask what's going on.
Details alone remain to be finalized. Heart of darkness viciousness explains them. Millions more will face impoverishment.
More good jobs will disappear. People needs increasingly will go begging. Institutionalized inequality will be worse than ever.
Human misery will increase. America already is unfit to live in. Expect the worst of all possible worlds ahead. The fullness of time will explain.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
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