The Triumph of Monopoly Capitalism is Hurting American Workers’ Life Expectancy

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    • #351503
      eridani
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      • Total Posts: 8,630

      https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/08/24/triumph-monopoly-capitalism-hurting-american-workers-life-expectancy

      Miller concludes, “The best way to get astronomically rich in America is to acquire monopoly power to extract wealth from workers, consumers, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and, through tax breaks, subsidies, and contracts, our government itself. Monopolies are powerful generators of the inequality that progressives decry.”

      During the pandemic, as during the world finance crisis, power has been both the means and the end of domestic and international economic policy. During the early stages of the global economic crisis, government responded by creating a 700 billion dollar facility to purchase troubled assets from banks, but only about ten percent of these expenditures went to lowering mortgage interest rates. Federal Reserve treatment of the big finance center banks was much more generous. It lowered the interest rate charged member banks to near zero, a figure it held for almost a decade. The effects of this policy were not neutral. Lower rates in the financial sector were supposed to encourage new investment in the real economy but instead did little more than stimulate a bull market in stocks and cheap money to finance stock buybacks and leveraged mergers and acquisitions. ( Yves Smith , founder of the blog Naked Capitalism, points out that the only industry for which cheap money is a resource that might encourage further investment is finance. So much for restoring the productivity of main street.)

      Monopoly power and concentrated wealth do immense harm to the bottom third of the wealth spectrum. We have returned to Franklin Roosevelt’s one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished. Late last year the LA Times reported: “New research establishes that after decades of living longer and longer lives, Americans are dying earlier, cut down increasingly in the prime of life by drug overdoses, suicides, and diseases such as cirrhosis, liver cancer, and obesity… the authors of the new study suggest that the nation’s lifespan reversal is being driven by diseases linked to social and economic privation, a healthcare system with glaring gaps and blind spots, and profound psychological distress.”

      The moral case for egalitarian reforms is overwhelming. Obscene wealth disparities are a product of political and economic power, not virtue or extraordinary talent. On the center Left the most popular proposals are various versions of a wealth tax. Such proposals should surely be part of any reform package. A wealth tax would begin to redress the damage inflicted by four decades of socialism for the rich. And it should be framed that way in order to counter in advance the inevitable carping that tax reformers are motivated by envy. Nonetheless more needs to be promoted in order to address the causes as well as consequences of this inordinate wealth concentration. Miller correctly argues: “Trying to address wealth inequality without addressing monopoly power is like trying to stop a boat with a hole in the bottom from sinking by bailing out the water, but not plugging up the hole.” She emphasizes the role that a reinvigorated antitrust policy that attacked the anti-democratic and anti-competitive aspects of economic concentration. I would advocate, in addition, policies that give working-class citizens more voice in designing the economic instruments that will produce future wealth for us all. Antitrust law, cooperatives, labor rights to organize, and democratization of the Fed would all be parts of such reform packages.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

    • #351527
      ThouArtThat
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      • Total Posts: 4,543

      @eridani

      Hi eridani,

      Who will stop the madness?

      The Ds and Rs are in bed with each other and their donors.

      The body politic is frozen in fear.

      It all boils down to a simple political equation.

      One Party – Two Fictions (Ds and Rs) – One Master – The 1%.

      Until the 99% have had enough, nothing changes.

      TAT

      “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
      - John F. Kennedy

      "The further a society drifts from the truth the more it will hate those who speak it."
      - George Orwell

      "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
      - Jiddu Krishnamurti

      "Sometimes a pessimist is only an optimist with extra information."
      - Idries Shah

      "A riot is the language of the unheard."
      - Martin Luther King

    • #351867
      eridani
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 8,630

      What’s the strategy?

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

    • #351914
      GZeusH
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 3,755

      The strategy is to offer the super-rich a clear choice:  keep your money or keep your head, but not both.

      Corporate America consists of totalitarian entities laser-focused on short-term greed.

    • #351967
      Hamlet
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 53
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