The Roman philosopher and statesman, Marcus Tullius Cicero said “Freedom is participation in power.” By that standard Americans are not free. We do not participate in power. We do not even have power over our own economic lives, our elected “representatives” ignore us and listen to the moneyed interests sending the United States in the wrong direction on issue after issue. The American people know better, would govern better and need to participate in power.
When you dispassionately review the reality of the U.S. economy, it is a depressing state of affairs that screams out for Americans to get up, stand up and shout: “we can do better than the political and economic elites.” The opportunity to stand up is here: October2011.org.
This article focuses on the domestic policies that are destroying the most powerful economy in history, but war spending, which makes up more than half of discretionary federal spending, is one of the root causes of the economic collapse. Nobel Prize winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz writes: “Today, America is focused on unemployment and the deficit. Both threats to America’s future can, in no small measure, be traced to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.” He and Linda Bilmes calculated America’s war costs three years ago conservative at $3 trillion to $5 trillion – these costs have escalated since then.
Domestically the brutal failure of government is evident in the way working Americans are treated. The high levels of unemployment are not the only story; four decades of stagnant incomes and decreasing share of the gross domestic product going to workers are long term trends; the fragility of peoples’ personal finances, record foreclosure, high student debt and the lack of control over our economic lives all show the need for an economic transformation to a new, democratized economy.