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July 21, 2018


I frequently write that I am trying to save capitalism, if the capitalists will let me, but the Trump-Ryan tax bill hurriedly passed last December without a single committee hearing for public discussion of its flaws has nearly caused me to abandon all hope. I now think that capitalism as presently practiced is in mortal danger of collapse due to political overreach in our tax system where we borrow money from our future to give away to the already rich today and saddle ourselves and our progeny (speaking of “taxation without representation”) with the resulting enhanced debt (with interest).

I can see deficit financing for wars or other existential emergencies, but I cannot see deficit financing to provide for gifts to the already superrich, and arguments by the Trump-Ryan apologists that economic growth resulting from the trickledown application of such monies enjoys no parallel in economic history and has in any event been shot down by the CBO. The result will not be economic growth after the first froth we are now experiencing, puny as it is; it will rather be (as I have predicted in earlier essays) recession this year or next at the latest. (Trump’s tariff games may hasten the day of reckoning since the economy may not be able to withstand both giveaway and tariff hits simultaneously.)

The excesses of the capitalists (aka Republicans) with their “carried interest,” “pass through” corporate  and speedy depreciation schedule provisions in the last Trump-Ryan tax law have made Trump and the one percent ever richer while as a salesman he was telling American workers they would be four thousand dollars richer per annum, a gross misrepresentation illustrative of how the rich and corporate class and their congressional lackeys are making my job in trying to save the system difficult if not impossible. He even told working Americans that he would personally take a big loss if the tax bill he and Ryan were championing passed. Such gross misrepresentation does not make my task easier.

In truth and fact he and his fellow capitalists are far richer as a result of the bill and American workers are not only poorer but are saddled with an increase in the national debt of some two trillion dollars (not to mention a CBO estimate of a trillion dollar annual budgetary deficit this fiscal year) which they and their children’s children will be paying (at interest – which is increasing), eighty three percent of such current day largess resulting from the tax bill atrocity today going to plutocrats such as Trump. Millions of American workers have suffered a loss in wages since then as measured by buying power since inflation has erased the token increase in wages set forth in that bill, a predictable result, and one about to worsen with yet higher prices due to Trump’s tariff stunts.

In Newtonian physics we have a law that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. I think that principle has application to the social sciences as well, and may explain the reaction of millennials these days with their embrace of socialism. Four million new millennial votes are coming to the polls every election, and this does not bode well for capitalism as we oldsters go our way and the millennials take over the political apparatus of America. I am not a socialist and think, if fleetingly, that capitalism can still be rescued if the capitalists can be made to understand that they are not the only players in this economy, that there are workers, producers, consumers, small businesses et al., and that reasonable rules and regulations of capitalists’ activities are the key to survival of the system. Currently their propaganda considers such abhorrent and have enlisted Citizens United and Kochs and Mercers to maintain or even expand the status quo (a libertarian economy). Big mistake – they are feeding the pent-up rage of young Americans who aren’t having it. A tree that won’t bend – breaks.

I am still trying to save the system, but those in the system seem oblivious to consequence and my “opposite and equal reaction” may be to throw in the towel because capitalism as presently practiced where the one percent rules the ninety nine percent in an alleged democracy is not worth saving. Without reform, bet your money on an economy in the future that resembles the European model of social democracy as millennials assume political power and react to the capitalistic excesses of today.  Greed has consequences, as today’s capitalists will discover.     GERALD         E





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One Comment
  1. Niel Johnson permalink

    Jerry – Not surprisingly, your blog on whether capitalism as now practiced is worth saving, hits the nail on the head. Now, we have to hit the big money robber barons on the head to warn them of something that should be obvious–except that we know how easy it is to be blinded by greed. Financing current job growth with borrowing from future generations, when we are not currently in recession or depression, is not only faulty economics, it is plainly immoral. And when the reckoning comes, it will hurt not only the guilty, but many of the innocent–as we already experienced in 2008-09. To make America “great again,” we will need a new Democrat Congress and either impeachment or a defeat of Trump and his ilk in the 2020 election. Niel

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