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ECONOMIC & POLITICAL MAKEOVER

It's clear to all of us: our economic system is broken; our political system is broken.

Over the last several years we have watched and experienced the extensive, painful loss of jobs, homes, savings, opportunities, thriving communities. We have watched how a very few have reaped enormous benefits from these losses. We have watched how our natural world has been destroyed and deteriorated at an alarming rate.

Crowd Capital
We watch in disgust and anger how dysfunctional our Congress is to act on behalf of the common good of people and the environment. The two parties are so concerned about winning against the opposing party that the welfare of the country is obscured. In this system, no one wins (unless you're a corporation or one of the 1% who values money more than the well being of all people and the health of the planet) and we all lose (including those mentioned above.)

When corporations give millions of dollars to elect representatives to Congress, when some corporations spend more money lobbying congressional representative than they pay in taxes, and when those very same members of Congress give corporations exemptions, subsidies, taxpayer money, no-bid contracts and massive loans, do we still hold onto the dream that we are a democracy?! Let's face it: voting makes us feel we have a choice and some power, but it is really a charade. The power of money trumps the power of the vote. We elect people who become corporate employees or hostages.

The dictionary defines a plutocracy as:
1. The rule or power of wealth or of the wealthy.
2. A government or state in which the wealthy class rules.
3. A class or group ruling, or exercising power or influence, by virtue of its wealth.

"The power and privilege of the few depends absolutely and inherently on the oppression of the many." (David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World.) A few of today's weapons for keeping the status quo include NAFTA, the World Trade Organization, union-busting, cutting worker benefits while increasing CEO pay, elimination of worker benefits, security and pensions, rapacious credit card interest, and outsourcing of jobs--not to mention the largest prison system in the world and the National Defense Authorization Act which allows our government to detain, torture, incarcerate and even assassinate American citizens in the name of protecting our country from terrorists.

Henry Ford Occupy sign
It is sobering and scary how far our country has slipped to resemble political systems way less democratic than ours. It is startling to see how the gap between the very privileged and the very marginalized has become so very extreme.

We are losing our true wealth as a nation: the creativity, enthusiasm and engagement of our people because they are barely making ends meet; the values and ideals that have made us stand out in the eyes of the world; the health of our environment.

It's a matter of changing our values from competition to cooperation, and from profits to people and planet. Then we would have a win / win.

Articles and a film that expand on this hot topic:
"Land of the Free?"
"Nation of Change"
A disturbing article from the Council of Secular Humanism
"Capitalism and Its Discontents" This is a long, but insightful interview with a well-known economist about how our economic system no longer serves us. Well worth the time.
The 1%, the 99% and the Economy. A compelling, disturbing, entertaining and informative 40 minute slide presentation by veteran economic/political analyst and teacher, Steve Max, that explains how we got to our present broken economic and political system. The film concludes with 8 concrete steps to restore economic and environmental health in this country.