When we were a young country capitalism was a strong and appreciated system. With government on the side, private entrepreneurs started businesses, hired and paid labor, sold products and made profits.
What’s wrong with this? Nothing.
As time has passed and all economies have gone global, much has changed. Now large and successful companies such as Apple Inc. outsource labor and production to countries with cheaper (often poorly treated) labor while making outstanding profits for the officers and stockholders. Wealth lands in their pockets and dust lands in our American laborers’ pockets.
We now have a very large financial industry where big bets are made, companies are bought, laborers fired, companies merged, companies sold and big profits go to the leaders, often accompanied by disaster for the workers. Other successful capitalists make billions gambling with investors’ and savers’ money in the global casino. Some bets go bad and we citizens then bail them out with tax dollars.
We must pay attention to this tale of the maturation of capitalism. The leaders in this sector are now very self-absorbed and show no familiarity or interest in the rest of the citizens and their problems. Unfortunately, securing great wealth has blinded these capitalists to the great variations in the lives of the rest of us and the travails of the poor and needy.
From 2000 to 2007, years of slow economic growth, there were increased corporate profits that came from reductions in workers’ wages and benefits. This is today’s capitalism at work.
The GOP would like to foist off on us one of these narrowly focused capitalists to lead the country, just when we need a president who sees the entire population and will develop broad-based policies to reduce the income gap and put the country back to full employment.
This November’s election will have tremendous impact on the economics of working America. Pay attention, voters, this directly affects you.
With the federal government now adding 50 types of cancer to be covered for the 9/11 first responders, it should be remembered that it was President George W. Bush who appointed former New Jersey governor Christine Whitman as EPA administrator, and whose proficiency and ability to do this job was only due to the fact that she was both a Republican and friend of the Bush family. As EPA administrator, she assured the nation that the air around the Twin Towers site was perfectly safe to breathe.
The failure of Ms. Whitman in informing both the public and the 9/11 first responders of the deadly nature of the site is surpassed only by the failure of another presidential appointee, Michael Brown, head of FEMA, in both notifying the people of New Orleans to be prepared for Hurricane Katrina and the complete failure of FEMA in reacting after the hurricane caused such widespread destruction.
Along with these facts, which are now conveniently being forgotten by the Republican party, we must also remember that between 2000 and 2008, under the watchful eye of President Bush, the U.S. national debt doubled in size!
Thomas W. Smith
A perfect afternoon
Saturday afternoon we went to the movies in Mattituck.
Somehow or other I got the times wrong, and we wound up with a big bag of popcorn and an hour and a half to kill. My ever-patient wife said, “Let’s go to Clovis Point.”
We walked into the Clovis Point winery in Jamesport with the big bag of popcorn and the guy in the tasting room said, “I haven’t heard that one before. But why don’t you try the 2008 Syrah?”
We sat there, listening to a guy with a guitar playing 1970s Cat Stevens songs and almost skipped the movie.
To make a long story short, it turned out to be a perfect afternoon.
Offensive to the eye
The advertising recently slathered over the behemoth vehicles of the Hampton Jitney is gaudy and ugly. These huge, extra-loud billboards parading our streets are offensive to the eye and to the atmosphere.
Stepping aboard you see the sunlight is dimmed by the advertising slather to a depressing gray. When you look out the windows the little dots of the advertising put everything out of focus.
The recorded announcement on the bus asks passengers for suggestions about the service. Mine is a question.
Why did Hampton Jitney do this to its customers?