The Alarm Has Sounded
More and more Americans are
struggling to make ends meet as we experience a severe economic crisis
manifesting indicators that it may get much worse. During the great
depression, despite the tremendous disruption to the economy, the nation
still had a vast industrial base as a foundation to allow recovery.
Today we are no longer an industrial society. The millions of blue collar
jobs that were the backbone of the nation no longer exist. In the 1930's,
when government initiatives developed public works projects, this was
a temporary fix until the economy rebounded and once again long term
jobs were available. This facilitated the climb back to prosperity.
The current situation requires
urgent attention, since people are losing their jobs, homes, savings
and any hope of security in the future. Individuals are not losing their
jobs because of the failure to be productive. They are victims of a
negative element of our system that has abandoned its hard working citizens,
who relied on their government to protect them from failed or failing
rapacious corporations, whose obligation is to stockholders, not the
well-being of the people.
The dismal performance of the
banks is due to rampant greed, fiscal mismanagement, or diminutive intelligence.
Totally irresponsible lending practices, made to borrowers with insufficient
collateral were a major cause of the current recession, which is threatening
to become a depression. After incurring enormous financial losses because
of unsound practices, the banks, exercising the power of special interests
that influences congress, persuaded the government to bail out the failing
enterprises. Congress allocated billions of dollars of taxpayer's
money to save the banks from their own mistakes. Yet despite receiving
public funds, the banks continued to foreclose on homeowners who could
no longer make mortgage payments. To add further abuse besides the injury
done to those evicted, the banks used bailout money to reward management
with substantial bonuses and other expensive perks.
There is a Kafkaesque scenario
in banks taking money from the people to reward those who failed, while
the very same failures are evicting people from their homes, instead
of bailing them out. Accusations of this abuse of the public trust as
being 'shameful" is an ineffectual excuse not to take action
against the violators of the public trust. Our system should not allow
the exploitation through either malice or greed aforethought by the
banks. In the least we are entitled to a legal investigation into what
is moral turpitude and may well be criminality. White-collar crime may
not arouse the same horror and repugnance as rape and murder, but a
violent assault has been committed on the vulnerable by exploiters who
took public money, evaded accountability, conspicuously consumed the
money, then punished the very people who provided the money.
Our leaders seem to overlook
both the cause and effect of these reprehensible actions. There is no
demand for restitution of misspent funds, nor insistence for a freeze
on foreclosures. The banks are not providing credit to the small businesses
that are dismissing workers and losing income. Large corporations are
cutting thousands of jobs, an event that will disable the diminished
blue-collar class and remove a skilled pool of workers from any hope
of labor participation in industry. The middle-class is being disassembled,
since large segments are no longer able to earn a sufficient income
in the dissolving economy. Arbitrary corporate enactments are dissolving
the futures of millions of Americans.
Our citizens aren't ignorant
peasants to be brutalized at the will of feudal lords. They are vital
contributors to the fate of a nation and are entitled to protection
from the lords of capital by the duly elected representatives of the
people. The complexity and demands in this life mandate reliance on
officials, elected and appointed, for guidance and solutions to the
vast scope of problems confronting the nation. The custodians of the
public trust are obligated to special interests in order to attain and
retain their offices. There is a fundamental conflict between the oath
of office and actions that contradict it. The rights of the people do
not correspond to corporate profit-making. The people are entitled to
special protection against special interests.
The concept of spending on public works to create jobs to stimulate the economy is only viable as a transitional program that will lead to long term employment. Our diminished industrial capacity will not provide opportunities and growth, consequently the current plans for economic recovery are at best a temporary alleviation, not a solution. We need a major commitment of funds and effort to explore new industries that will provide long-term development to stabilize the nation and offer rewarding employment to our citizens. We urgently need to invest in new technologies that will replace moribund industries with innovative enterprises that will contribute to the well-being of the nation.
Recent essays by Gary Beck about foreign affairs, political issues, literary topics and homelessness have appeared in AIM Magazine, Elimae, Outcry, Purple Dream, CC & D Magazine, Bergen Street Review, and Fullosia Press. Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and worked as an art dealer when he couldn't earn a living in the theater. He has also been a tennis pro, a ditch digger and a salvage diver. His chapbook Remembrance was published by Origami Condom Press and The Conquest of Somalia was published by Cervena Barva Press. A collection of his poetry Days of Destruction has been published in 2009 by Skive Press. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway and toured colleges and outdoor performance venues. He currently lives in New York City, where he's busy writing. His poetry and short stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines