Did American Workers “Get What They Deserved?”

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
What did people expect would happen when they voted for Reagan, Bush and other conservatives, or supported their policies? In the Holland (Michigan) Sentinel community columnist Ray Buursma writes, American workers got what they deserved. Some of the things he says might resonate with many of us,

Remember the Reagan standard? Are you better off today than you were a decade ago? Two decades? Three? Unless you make more than $380,000 a year, the answer is no. In fact, your standard of living over the last quarter century has actually decreased while millionaires have added 30 percent to their net wealth. Why? Two reasons.
First, hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs went overseas while the politicians you elected did nothing to stop them. Yet you continue to elect leaders who offer nothing but tax cuts, as if that would stem the flow of disappearing jobs.
Did you demand your leaders address America’s trade imbalance or continuous outsourcing of jobs? Did you demand your leaders require foreign countries to buy a dollar’s worth of American goods for every dollar of goods they sell here?
No and no. You didn’t bother.

Buursma writes that instead of resenting people who make more because they are in a union, people should join a union and fight for your job, wages and benefits. He continues,

Maybe you’re thinking, “I’m not a union worker, so this doesn’t affect me.”
Stop being stupid. Union benefits provide a standard other companies have to match, or at least come close to. When those benefits are cut, yours are, too. Or do you think you operate in your own little employment vacuum?

Agree or disagree, please click through and read his entire piece.
Whose Fault?
There is no question that things are not going the way they should be going. We see decline all around us — all pointing back to the changes made after the election of Ronald Reagan. Tax cuts led to massive debt. Deregulation led to mine, oil and financial disasters that cost us more than deregulation ever saved. The infrastructure is crumbling. It seems like we are entering third-world status.
So is it the fault of American workers that their wages and benefits have declined as jobs are shipped overseas?
I don’t blame working people. After all, they’re working! So they’re busy, and stressed, and focused on work. They can’t be expected to keep up with the little details and facts and nuances — especially when they are attacked daily with a barrage of well-funded and professionally crafted corporate/conservative propaganda!
This assault on information and truth has been going on for decades. Under Reagan there was a dramatic shift toward “market” — one-dollar-one-vote — sources of information and away from objective, citizen-oriented democratic — one-person-one-vote — sources. This market-sourced information necessarily reflects a conservative/corporate view because it is driven by money and profit instead of humanity and humanity’s needs.
Information for Democracy!
How do we counter the corporate/conservative assault on truth? One answer to the problem of getting accurate, objective information is to use (and support) alternative sources that are not offered by the conservative/corporate machine. Here is a list of a few links to alternative news sources. Please send these to relatives, friends, and even post them to conservative forums.

PLEASE suggest more progressive information and news sources in the comments! And forward this to others.
Added suggestions, not necessarily just news:
AFL-CIO Now Blog
Manufacture This
Scholars & Rogues
Crooks And Liars
Firedoglake
Black Agenda Report
Washington Monthly
Eschaton
AMERICAblog
The Raw Story
Agonist
Today’s Workplace
Republic of T
Democrats.com
Hullabaloo
Jack and Jill Politics
Liberal Oasis
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How Tax Cuts For The Rich Made Corporations Predatory

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of the Making It In America project. I am a Fellow with CAF.

America used to have a top tax rate of around 90%. This meant that after a person earned a lot of money in a year, additional income beyond that amount was taxed at the higher rate. Back then government worked a lot better. We didn’t have deficits, the schools and public universities were better, there were enough police and firefighters, the courts were not overwhelmed, even the IRS was better. Most important, our country’s infrastructure — the soil in which business thrives — was kept in good shape so the country was more competitive and livable. And all of this meant that the very people who were paying those top rates benefited because their businesses did better.

Government and the services it provides aren’t all that has changed for the worse since we cut tax rates for the very, very rich. It caused the relationship between big businesses and the rest of us to deteriorate, too. Here is why.

When top tax rates were high it took time to build up a fortune. So businesses had to depend on the health of the communities around them to help keep them growing over a long period. They had to plan and act long-term. Businesspeople had to carefully build up solid businesses that served their customers and kept them coming back. And they had to train and hold on to employees because their experience was needed.

After the top tax rates were lowered people could reap huge fortunes in a hurry. This changed everything. It created incentives for people to do things that we can now see have harmed our country. Quick-buck schemes for short-term profit became the business model. It made more sense to run up high debt, cut for very high short-term profit or just sell off businesses rather than invest and build build carefully for the long term. Cost-cutting was the name of the game. So cutting R&D and training and quality and support, closing factories and outsourcing jobs made more sense than investing in new equipment and training & retaining a good workforce. Managers who held to the old-fashioned serve-the-customer and support-the-community model faced the private equity buyout — where companies become buy-and-sell commodities with workers, customers and the country as costs.

So big corporations became predatory, caring little for customers, communities and country because executives planned to get rich quick and leave soon. Businesses’ interdependence with the community went out the window. It made more sense to fleece the community with quick-buck schemes than to rely on its well-being over a long period of time. Short-thinking business models that cut employees to the bone and took advantage of customers began to make sense. Then, as communities fell apart, those few who benefited from such business practices could just fly away in their private jets or sail away in their yachts. The greater community was no longer of any use to them except as a crop to be harvested.

Bring Back The 90% Top Tax Rate

So it is time to change the formula. It’s time to bring back the 90% top tax rates. We can use the money to start paying off our debt. It is time to rein in our businesses and make them part of our communities again. The way to do this is to continue to help people become wealthy – just a bit more slowly, please, and bring us all along.

Bring back the top tax rates of America’s golden years so we can all enjoy the benefits of our economy again.
A top rate of 90%, phased in as income gets higher and higher, wouldn’t raise taxes at all for most of the people in the country but it would mean that the top 15 hedge fund managers would only take home an average of about $100 million a year. While bringing in only $100 million a year might be a terrible hardship for them, it brings up an important question for the rest of us: how much is enough? Especially when a few having so much means that the rest of us have much, much less and live in communities that are much, much worse off than they used to be.

See also Tax Cuts Are Theft.
And see Tax Cuts Are Theft: An Amplification by Sara Robinson.
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Third World America: Reagan Revolution Drags Us Down

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
The recession ended in June, 2009? What? Seriously? No one told the millions of unemployed. And last week we got more bad news: 44 million of us living in poverty, and that was last year, before unemployment and COBRA subsidies started running out for the unemployed,

… four million additional Americans found themselves in poverty in 2009, with the total reaching 44 million, or one in seven residents. Millions more were surviving only because of expanded unemployment insurance and other assistance.

We are living in the Reagan Revolution every day. Conservative policies are making us poor and poorer,

Who counts and who doesn’t count? We hear so much about the “middle class” but rarely about the plight of the poor. And of course we hear again and again that the wealthy are “successful” and the “job-creators” who shouldn’t be “punished” by being asked to give something back to the country that enabled their wealth. Conservative “market” thinking and Ayn Randian “the poor are losers” dehumanizing ideology has become pervasive and dominant as we transition from one-person-one-vote democracy to one-dollar-one-vote plutocracy. In this plutocratic environment the national discussion of tax cuts for the wealthy saturates the corporate media, while the 44 million of us in poverty now are barely mentioned and count for little.

Arianna Huffington’s new book, Third World America, documents what is happening to us. RJ Eskow explains,

Third World America is direct and clear in its message: Decades of aggressive corporate lobbying, driven by bankers and other large corporations, have led to a series of policy decisions that are eroding the American standard of living. The details are all there: The financial industry’s gone from 2.5% of our GDP in 1947 to 8.3% right before the meltdown. Financial profits went from a maximum of 16% between 1973 and 1985 to 41% right before the crisis hit. And rather than being chastened by their failure, or disciplined by taxpayers in return for being bailed out, bankers have embraced their old ways with enthusiasm. Meanwhile the American households that rescued them lost $13 trillion in wealth between mid-2007 and March 2009.

Last week more than 300 economists issued a dire warning that the current conservative “austerity” approach to the economy is dangerous. Focus on jobs now they say,

More than 300 economists, policy experts and civic leaders have signed a statement warning political leaders of “a grave danger” that the still-fragile economic recovery will be undercut by austerity economics of the kind being pushed by conservative politicians and by the White House deficit commission. Read the statement and more at dontkilljobs.org.

Meanwhile, all over the blogs this weekend was the story of the whiny rich, complaining that they “only” make a few hundred thousand a year. Why are they whining?

The reason is that the income inequality has become so extreme that even the really rich see people above them who make VASTLY more than they do, so they feel like they aren’t making hardly anything at all. They don’t look down, they look up, and they see people making millions, hundreds of millions, even billions in a single year.
One more nasty outcome of the Reagan Revolution: even the really rich feel poor compared to the really, really rich who are the primary beneficiaries from conservative policies.

What can you do? There is a One Nation Working Together rally in DC on October 2. PLEASE click this link and find out what you can do to help, even if yo can’t make it to DC. There are local events across the country.
And remember, the election is coming up. We need to remind people that it was conservative policies that got us into this mess. It was conservatives who bailed out the banks. It was conservatives who ran up the massive debt. It was conservatives who killed the jobs.

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m4s0n501

Drill Baby Drill Judge Pits Mega-Corporations Against The Rest Of Us

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
American deregulated corporatism: Short-term profits for a very few at the expense of the rest of us. The Gulf oil spill is driving home the “expense of the rest of us” part of this equation. And the corporatist/conservative reaction to government’s efforts to reign in an industry that provides so much of their funding highlights for us the battle lines of the equation.
Conservatives say that getting a company to set up a fund to compensate its victims is “Chicago-style thuggery” and a “shakedown” and apologize to the company! Instead we demand they apologize to democracy for this.
But this is not really about “corporatism” it is about raw bigness translating into raw power. This is big industries and companies and a few extremely wealthy people that “have” vs not-as-big industries, companies and the rest of us that “have not.” Big, centralized oil is a “have.” Fishing, tourism, alternative “green” energy – these are industries and corporations too — and democratic decision-making are “have nots.” This is not corporations vs democracy, this is big corporations (really, the wealthy few people who control their resources) against smaller corporations and the rest of us.
Yesterday a Reagan-appointed, oil-stock-owning judge set aside the Obama administration’s moratorium on exploratory offshore oil drilling, citing “potential economic harm to businesses and workers” in the oil industry while ignoring the not-potential threat of harm to the fishing, tourism and other industries now being destroyed by that industry. Big oil’s wishes, a judge appointed by the guy who took Carter’s solar panels down from the White House roof and dismantled mass-transit and alternative energy programs, and an anti-government conservative movement out to dismantle democracy combine to push back against the “thuggery” of a public daring to attempt to assert that safety is assured. The battle is over who is in charge.
The administration placed the moratorium while they develop new safety standards and procedures. This followed the revelations of near-complete regulatory capture of the Minerals Management Service by the oil industry, resulting in the chain of safety-ignoring, cost-saving diversions from standard procedure. They filed a xeroxed spill plan citing dead phone numbers and dead consultants, and the dead regulatory agency never bothered to read it before approving it. The blowout preventer wasn’t working and they knew it but didn’t want to take the time or expense to fix it. Etc, and etc.
Since so much was wrong on this rig the government wants to take a look at the other rigs drilling offshore and make sure they are operating safely, and get procedures that work in place. The industry is infuriated that government is “interfering’ in their profit-making enterprise. Their oil is under our water and they want it now.
The industry threatens to just move oil rigs out of the Gulf to other areas, taking the jobs with them. Democratic oversight of corporate behavior is again held hostage to the threat of moving jobs across a border. The judge lets them get away with it.
This is the fight. The big and wealthy industries, corporations and people against the smaller industries, corporations and the rest of us. This is the same fight as that unleashed by the recent Citizens United case. It is not corporations vs democracy, it is the the wealthy few people who control the resources of the biggest corporations against everyone else.
And it is in no way clear who will come out on top.
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“Government Doesn’t Have The Resources To Stop It”

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
People want the President to exert leadership to turn things around.
The oil leak. Unemployment. Credit card scams. Foreclosures. Predatory corporations. Environmental destruction. Global warming. Roads and bridges crumbling. Incomes stagnant. Schools getting worse. Companies moving overseas. Problem after problem.
People want to know, “Why doesn’t the government push BP aside and take over?” The answer is, “Government doesn’t have the resources to stop it.”
People want to know why the government can’t do more to help unemployed people, help with health care, help provide good educations, help with college, maintain the infrastructure, and all the other things that government does.
The answer, these days, is always, “Government doesn’t have the resources.” And that, in a nutshell, was exactly the plan.
We, the People no longer have the resources to solve our problems. We now must depend on and defer to the corporations and the wealthy few to make the important decisions and get things done instead of being able to decide and do on our own.
This is the legacy of 30 years of conservatism. They called it “starving the beast.” Reagan called it “cutting their allowance.” President Bush, told that his policies had turned the country back to massive deficits, said this was, “Incredibly positive news” because it will create “a fiscal straitjacket for Congress.” He came into office with a $236 billion surplus. His last budget left us with a $1.4 trillion deficit. “Incredibly positive news.”
They disemboweled the regulatory agencies. They “privatized” government functions and resources, letting a well-connected few profit at the expense of the rest of us.
The Reagan deficit plan was right there for everyone to see:

    Step 1: Cut taxes to “cut the allowance” of government so that it can’t function on the side of We, the People. Intentionally force the government into greater and greater debt.
    Step 2: Use the debt as a reason to cut the things government does for We, the People. When the resulting deficits pile up scare people that the government is “going bankrupt” so they’ll let you sell off the people’s assets and “privatize” the functions of government. Of course, insist that putting taxes back where they were will “harm the economy.”
    Step 3: Blame liberals for the disastrous effects of spending cutbacks.

And here we are. Every time you hear someone say that we have to fight the deficit instead of getting things done that We, the People need done you are witnessing The Plan in action.
And now, government doesn’t have the resources to stop it.
NOTE: Part of the America’s Future Now conference in Washington D.C. from June 7-9 will be devoted to strategy on how the progressive movement can fight the deficit cutters. Speakers such as Van Jones, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, AFL CIO President Richard Trumka, Arianna Huffington will offer a build vision for how the progressive movement can rebuild America’s economy and put people back to work. Click here to attend.

Reagan Revolution Home To Roost – America Drowning In Debt

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
“Watch what we do, not what we say.” (Famous Republican advice.)
The Reagan Revolution was first and foremost about cutting the taxes paid by the rich and corporations. Now, almost 30 years later, the United States of America is drowning in debt. And that is exactly what they wanted to happen.
The Plan
There were the reasons for the tax cuts Reagan said, and there was the plan Reagan had. Reagan SAID that there was this thing called the “Laugher Curve” that he said proved cutting taxes would actually increase government revenue. But what they were saying was a smokescreen, something to tell the rubes. Increasing government revenue was the last thing Reagan and his cohorts wanted. They knew (and have since said so) cutting taxes would lead to terrible deficits. They called this a “strategic deficit.” This was the plan.
Bankrupting our government (We, the People) was the plan and today we can see that it was what they did. They didn’t want revenue to increase because the idea was to “starve the beast.” Reagan called itcutting their allowance.”
The plan was that by cutting the funding for government, government would have to cut back on what it does: regulating business, protecting regular people against powerful interests, building infrastructure, educating kids, taking care of the poor and elderly. With government (We, the People) out of the way businesses could be unleashed and really start to make money. And for those who could afford to pay, private companies would take over those other functions. That was called “privatization.”
Infrastructure? We had plenty of infrastructure back then – grab the cash now and worry about that later. (It’s later now.)
So taxes were cut. And immediately the budget went into deficit and the government started borrowing. The debt started to grow. That was the plan. They said so.
Conservatives well understood that the public was not behind their plan. This was why it was explained as a way to increase government revenue. “Watch what we do, not what we say” is about tricking the public – deceive people by telling them you are doing one thing while really doing another. They knew that if the public came to understand their plan they would all be voted out of office. The idea was to force the other party to make the cuts.
Every time someone did try to cut the public outcry was enormous. So they just kept borrowing, intentionally trying to make the debt get so bad that eventually the government would be faced with bankruptcy.
Clinton, for a time, foiled their plans. In 1993 there was a hard-fought battle to raise taxes at the top by just a small amount. Every Republican voted against it. The public was saturated with lie after lie about how this would destroy the economy. Of course, the economy boomed in the 1990s following the Clinton tax increases and by the end of Clinton’s term the government was paying off debt so quickly that Alan Greenspan called for Bush II to again cut taxes on the rich, saying it was dangerous to pay off the government debt – yes, the same Alan Greenspan who now says we have to get rid of Social Security to pay off debt. The plan.
Bush called restoration of deficits “incredibly positive news”
Seven months after taking office, George W. Bush learned that his budgets had already erased the previous administration’s huge surplus — that was paying off our country’s debt at a rapid rate — and had instead forced the country to start borrowing heavily again. Bush said the huge deficit was “Incredibly positive news” because it will create “a fiscal straitjacket for Congress.” That’s right, massive deficits were “incredibly positive news.” The plan.
Deficit hawks today
Now we’re experiencing part two of The Plan: use the debt as a reason to cut the things government does for We, the People. The deficit cutters insist that the government should cease investment in infrastructure, educating kids, taking care of the poor and elderly and protecting regular people against powerful interests. First and foremost they want to cut Social Security. They blocked a reasonable health care plan in the name of “less spending.” They fight every effort to stimulate the economy and create jobs so that We, the People can get out of this unemployment emergency. (High unemployment puts tremendous wage pressure on the remaining workers.)
Are we going to fall for it? Are we going to walk right into part two of The Plan? Or are we going to restore the tax base, which is the lifeblood of democracy. Taxes on the wealthy and big corporations are what brings the ability of We, the People to control our own destiny instead of yielding always to the powerful interests.
This is the choice we are faced with. The “deficit hawks” are offering only The Plan. So far restoring the tax base back to where it was is off the table, not even to be discussed. Are we going to allow that? Or are We, the People going to fight back and demand that democracy be restored?
Previously: Reagan Revolution Home To Roost: America Is Crumbling and Finance, Mine, Oil & Debt Disasters: THIS Is Deregulation
NOTE: Part of the America’s Future Now conference in Washington D.C. from June 7-9 will be devoted to strategy on how the progressive movement can fight the deficit cutters. Speakers such as Van Jones, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, AFL CIO President Richard Trumka, Arianna Huffington will offer a build vision for how the progressive movement can rebuild America’s economy and put people back to work. Click here to attend.

Who Else is Against American Manufacturing?

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of the Making It In America project. I am a Fellow with CAF.
A country’s economic power comes from manufacturing. But while other countries have industrial policies, America has a de-inustrialization policy. We have handed our country’s manufacturing capacity over to other countries, and as a result we have to borrow more and more to be able to buy the things that we used to make. How did this come to be? Who would be against American manufacturing?”
In Who Would Be Against American Manufacturing? I wrote about,

“representatives of foreign interests lobbying in the US for trade policies that benefit companies in other countries at the expense of America’s factories, workers, companies, communities and economic power. It is to be expected that a country will work to increase manufacturing within its borders – even if we don’t – and these firms helping the efforts of other countries are required to register with the Department of Justice as “foreign agents.” I traced an anonymous comment left at my own blog back to one of these …”

Of course other countries have an interest in taking the business away from us to have for themselves.
In Part II, Who Opposes American Manufacturing? II I wrote about Cato Institute, a conservative “ideological” think tank that opposes manufacturing in America. But they receive funding from interests outside of America – the very interests who do the very kind of fighting for trade policies that the Cato Institute opposes for us.

WHY would Cato Institute advocate this? Is it just weird libertarian cult ideology? Perhaps a look at who is paying for this advocacy will provide a clue. While mostly funded by individuals, Cato’s funders include many of the usual right-wing funding suspects: Koch, Scaife, tobacco companies, Exxon and other oil companies, Wall Street… But one sponsor jumped out at me: the Korea International Trade Association. (Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volkswagon are sponsors as well.) Dots connected: Cato is receiving funding from the Korea International Trade Association, and then turning around and advocating that American hand over its manufacturing capacity to other countries!
So I checked, and did not find that Cato Institute registered as a “Registered Foreign Agent.” Why not?”

Beyond explicitly foreign interests and possible foreign-interest-funded lobbying, are there other reasons that Americans would advocate that we just hand over our manufacturing capacity and instead just borrow to get by? There are domestic interests that benefit from America giving up our manufacturing capacity because there are domestic interests that benefit when the rest of us borrow.
Part III – Americans Opposing American Manufacturing
Our beloved-and-bailed-out financial sector has done very well for itself in the decades since we embarked on the great “free market” and “free trade” experiment. Wall Street has greatly increased its share of our economy. While finance expanded the manufacturing sector shrank until just before the crash the financial sector had risen to 40% of all corporate profits.
Kevin Philips wrote in 2008’s post, The Destructive Rise of Big Finance,

Over the last five years, financial services has reached a swollen 20-21% of U.S. GDP — the largest sector of the private economy.
Manufacturing led financial services by 2:1 back in the 1970s, but by 2006 beaten goods production had shrunk to just 12% of GDP.

As Wall Street doubled, manufacturing declined.
Profits incentivize corporate behavior and these giant Wall Street corporations profit from our ever-increasing levels of debt. They profit from the transactions that occur when companies move their operations out of the United States. They profit from convincing communities to privatize infrastructure. They profits when companies externalize costs onto the larger community. They profit from the transaction involved when the country borrows to fund our government and trade deficits.
Wall Street profits from debt. So they have an incentive to encourage debt. Who do you think it was that convinced Americans it is normal and even preferable to carry debt and to use credit cards? Marketing works, and the following is based on marketing we have all been exposed to:

    Making minimum payments on credit card debt? $250 a month.
    Making car payments for five or six years? $400 a month.
    Being in debt for the rest of your life, forever making interest payments and being forced to work at corporate jobs? Priceless!

Phillips again,

During Greenspan’s 1987-2005 tenure, the sum of public and private debt in the United States quadrupled from just over $10 trillion to $43 trillion. Finance became the industry that was not allowed to fail but was permitted to enlarge and metastasize its behavior almost at will.

In the movie Wall Street, based on actual events and people in the news at the time, the greedy corporate raider Gordon Gecko buys companies, chops them up, steals the workers’ pensions, destroys people’s lives and their communities, etc. and pockets the profits. Gecko claims that because he can profit from doing these things, “the market” wants it done, demands it in fact, and therefore he plays an important economic role of making things more “efficient.”
To Gordon Gecko and market fundamentalists the fact that they can profit from something is proof that it should be done. “The Market” is for them a God that takes responsibility and ethics and morality and humanity out of their hands. “The Market – God – says it must be this way and who are you to question?” (Convenient for them.)
Of course, a large part of why Gordon Gecko could pocket such a profit so fast was because un President Reagan the country had just changed the tax laws. Before Reagan there was a very high top tax rate that prevented people from amassing a vast fortune in a short time (usually at the expense of the rest of us). This tax policy encouraged long-term thinking and planning instead of short-term greed, and encouraged business to maintain interdependency with the larger community and its interests. If it takes ten or twenty years to amass a huge fortune you and your business rely on other businesses and on the community’s infrastructure to be maintained and modernized so it will support your business activities. And you want a thriving, educated community surrounding you
But in a quick-buck scenario you are incentivized to feed off of rather than rely on the greater community. If you can defer infrastructure maintenance and pocket the savings then that is what you will demand. If you can chop up the supply chain and pock the proceeds that is what you will demand. If you can profit from exploiting and abusing skilled workers who would otherwise be needed in coming years, that is what you will demand. and if the community around you deteriorates it doesn’t matter because you’ll be cashing in big soon, and flying away in your private jet to your tax-haven privatized island. It is no coincidence that pensions started being stolen, companies started outsourcing, communities started privatizing, etc. right after top tax rates and regulations were cut.
Wall Street has an interest in helping dismantle manufacturing in America. (pun intended)

Ford’s Mistake

Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, which prevented a full criminal investigation and trial. He felt it would help to heal the country, which had been through assassinations, riots and the divisive Vietnam war. But the pardon had the unintended consequence of creating an impression that those in the highest office really aren’t accountable to the public if their actions violate the law.
Four years later the Reagan administration picked up right where Nixon’s had left off, and got caught. Other select insiders made the decision not to pursue Reagan.

As chair of the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, Hamilton chose not to investigate President Ronald Reagan or President George H. W. Bush, stating that he did not think it would be “good for the country” to put the public through another impeachment trial.

At a time when thousands were being sent away for years for smoking a joint or doing a line, the country was learning that things really are different for those at the very top.
Bush1 then pardoned everyone involved, especially those being pressured by Lawrence Walsh to testify against him for his own possibly criminal part in it. The public got the message clearly that time.

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