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WHAT’S IN AN ISM?

October 18, 2019

WHAT’S IN AN ISM?

Professor Kennedy in her blog today bemoans our timeline in obtaining Trump’s tax returns, noting that he answers every loss in court with an appeal devoted to stalling, but also noting that we are beginning to see some light on this issue since we now have his New York state tax records that show his properties there (as Cohen told us) are valued highly for loan purposes and valued poorly for tax purposes. This is probably a case of tax fraud punishable both civilly and criminally. Commentators to her blog went off this well traveled topic and instead commented on systems of government that allow such wrongdoing and I joined them as follows, slightly edited.

I have been suggesting for years that “capitalism as currently practiced” is headed for the dustbin of history unless reformed and publicly and stringently regulated and, unfortunately, it appears I may be right. Thus we have millennials who are not now susceptible to fears of “socialism,” libertarian politicians who tell us in essence that the Constitution is unconstitutional and/or inapplicable to their greedy pursuits etc.

The libertarians (formerly known as Republicans) are getting by with such nihilistic pursuits due to Wall Street and chamber of commerce pretense, propaganda and invisible hand worship, (manipulated) supply and demand, etc., and all the while with big Wall Street banks telling us they can be trusted to be self-regulating (“Leave it to the market to sift out etc.”). We have been to that show before, like 1929 (The Great Depression) and 2008 (Bush’s Great Recession involving massive mortgage fraud by (but bailouts for) the big banks. Terminal greed and its public regulation are oil and water – never to mix – and something has to give – and soon.

I think the fundamental issue comes down to just whose economy it is, and I hope we have gone beyond English kings and East India Tea, predecessors of big banks and corporate America, in determining such ownership. I believe the economy belongs to all of us and that big banks and corporate America are mere (if big) participants in our economy – as we all are; that it is our economy, not theirs; that we are all stakeholders in how we are to run this enterprise, a system not to be run only by corporate boards and chambers of commerce. Thus lately at a conclave of the elite 195 CEOs have agreed or pretended to have agreed that there are more stakeholders in our economy to be considered than the corporate shareholders they serve (see contra: Milton Friedman); that the interests of workers, buyers, communities in which corporate enterprises are sited etc. are to be considered in their boardrooms, and not just “shareholder value.”

Color me suspicious. I sense that the elite are seeing the gleam of pitchforks and millennial resistance and that when the crowds in the street disperse we will be back in the land of deju vu, though like some, and in the face of historic wage and wealth inequality, I still hold on to the fleeting hope that capitalism as currently practiced can be reformed and fairly serve the interests all of the stakeholders in our economy. Vain hope? Perhaps. Time will tell.       GERALD         E 

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