Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Better Than This

Who gets hit hardest by the recession? Banks? Homeowners? Small business? No, not as much as the people who work the hardest regardless of the state of the stock market. Bob Herbert nails it.

Working people were not just abandoned by big business and their ideological henchmen in government, they were exploited and humiliated. They were denied the productivity gains that should have rightfully accrued to them. They were treated ruthlessly whenever they tried to organize. They were never reasonably protected against the savage dislocations caused by revolutions in technology and global trade.

Working people were told that all of this was good for them, and whether out of ignorance or fear or prejudice or, as my grandfather might have said, damned foolishness, many bought into it. They signed onto tax policies that worked like a three-card monte game. And they were sold a snake oil concoction called “trickle down” that so addled their brains that they thought it was a wonderful idea to hand over their share of the nation’s wealth to those who were already fabulously rich.

America used to be better than this.

Yes, we were. As Mr. Herbert points out, after World War II the idea of the American Dream — that a rising tide lifts all boats — worked until some people decided they wanted a bigger boat.