Dollar Democracy excerpts:
|From Chapter 7 (p.158):
The Great Recession: Wall Street Gets the Goldmine, Main Street Gets the Shaft
The bottom 99% of Americans are still staggering from the blows we took from the Great Recession of 2008-2009. This was the Greatest Recession since the Great Depression in terms of intensity, scope, and duration of effects. However the top 1% (the super wealthy) have done extremely well in the so called “Recovery” beginning in 2009.
Although other actors such as the insurance and real estate industries could share some of the blame, the Great Recession was caused primarily by the reckless and greedy behavior of the biggest investment banks and credit rating agencies on Wall Street. Practicing Dollar Democracy, these huge financial corporations had bought influence with much of Congress, and even with U.S. Presidents, through billions of dollars of campaign contributions for decades. From 1990 to 2014 the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (FIRE) industry made $3.85 billion in campaign contributions to federal candidates and political parties. According to the Center for Public Integrity, “The financial sector is far and away the largest source of campaign contributions to federal candidates and parties, with insurance companies, securities and investment firms, real estate interests and commercial banks providing the bulk of that money.” …
Thousands of Americans Lose Their Homes and Jobs In the Great Recession
With the 2008 crash of some of the biggest financial houses on Wall Street and the resulting Great Recession, millions of Americans lost trillions of dollars worth of equity in their homes. Thousands actually lost their homes. The country is still reeling and struggling to dig out of the ditch of this Great Recession. As I mentioned earlier, the so-called recovery has primarily benefitted the super wealthy owners and investors of Big Business. The real unemployment rate which includes the officially unemployed, the underemployed, temporarily employed, part-time workers who want to work full-time, and the long-term unemployed who have given up looking for work because of years of being rejected, all adds up to at least 17% unemployment. The American full-time workforce has shrunk by several percent. Many small businesses cut back or were driven out of business. This didn’t help matters any because small business hires two thirds of American workers. As more and more workers were laid off, there was less money for them to spend, and consumer demand went down, dampening the economic recovery. Two thirds of the jobs created since the so-called recovery began, have been low-paying jobs, forcing a downward spiral in median income. The American median household income of $51,000 today is 8.3% less than it was seven years ago just before the start of the Great Recession. The number of families, who had to take in unemployed relatives and children, has skyrocketed. …
The Government Bailout Gave Wall Street the Goldmine and Main Street the Shaft
The Wall Street Bailout, based on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 has been a great benefit the the big Wall Street banks. It is the reason that those Big Banks are sitting on $2 trillion. The plan was for the U.S. Treasury to “buy $700 billion of troubled mortgages from the banks, and then modify them to help struggling homeowners. Section 109 of the Act, if fact, specifically empowered the Treasury Secretary to ‘facilitate loan modifications to prevent avoidable foreclosures.’ (Matt Taibbi, “Secrets and Lies of the Bailout”, January 24, 2013, Rolling Stone). However, the Fed and the Treasury Department almost immediately decided to directly inject billions of dollars in cash into Wall Street banks such as Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. As Matt Taibbi points out, that what was sold as a ‘bailout of both banks and homeowners’ instantly became a bank-only operation ….” As a result, working middle class Americans such as Rossanna and Arturo Cambron lost their home because they could not obtain a loan modification. The irony is that Arturo was a real estate agent whose income dropped when the housing market was devastated by the Great Recession. …
by Michael Douglas Carlin | American News Service | Book Review
Many questions torment America in the dark night of its soul, but its seems Corporate CEO pay emerges as one of this year’s hottest trending issues. At the midway point to the next election, this and other hotly contested issues are shackled and tackled in Professor Peter Mathews’ must-read new bookDollar Democracy: with Liberty and Justice for Some; How to Reclaim the American Dream for All.
“Despite the country’s dire state of affairs, Mathews remains optimistic, and closes the opus with some viable plan for the people to reclaim the American Dream. The literary equivalent of a one-man million-man march for equality and justice for every U.S. citizen.” Review by Kam Williams, Syndicated columnist
Read this book about Corporations and their pampered and panderingpolitical offspring. Act Accordingly. Our country is in the midst of an uncivil war between the alarmingly powerful, determined to destroy the middle class and the intentionally left behind.
Professor Peter Mathews’ book serves as a counterpoint to those who luxuriate in denying the reality of America’s rapidly changing social landscape. We are dangerously close to cementing a permanent American catastrophe. Mathews boldly and unapologetically asks questions and gives solutions that the media/propaganda machine purposefully ignore. He closes the tome with a checklist of high crimes and misdemeanors and an urgent call to conscience and about what needs to be done next.
Determining our actions today can move us towards either a stronger, more positive future, or a future shrouded in fear, poverty, war. This book is written as a primer for people of all ages and all classes who want answers.
Professor Mathews speaks in a voice that resounds with clarity and conviction as he examines the direct and intentional outcome of separate policies that were advocated, starting with the Reagan administration, to intentionally deceive and destroy the middle class. In a full frontal attack by the corporate manipulators Mathews details how the middle class has become superfluous to the very rich and why various policies were deliberately created to eliminate them. Their defining characteristic is dirty, scorched-earth partisanship carried out regardless of cost. Conservatives are anxious again to finish first – with the big prize-monopoly control of the American government, and the power to turn their ideology into the law of the land. Quite a bargain at any price. People want answers, but our compromised leaders can’t provide them because bold actions carry too much political risk. Meanwhile the corporations are booming and running roughshod over us. They are operating in their own time and space continuum that is increasingly supranational – disconnected from local concerns and their home markets.
Mathews reveals that there are fat corporate balance sheets ready to create jobs and prosperity – just not in America. While corporations feign heartfelt pledges of allegiance to the U.S., they still must depend on the government to protect intellectual property and keep waterways safe so they can deliver their made-in-China supplies to us. This formidable book brings to light of day important new information regarding how the Corporate manipulators are destroying our country.
Dollar Democracy is a riveting read, the text, defiantly disturbing. Mathews’ writing style passionately grounded in integrity and reality. The conclusions of his detective work fit together like sword and scabbard. He gives his reader so much juicy information, a veritable tsunami of corporate skullduggery. He doesn’t mince words and he doesn’t hold back when identifying the cauldrons of chaos they have created. He exposes these and others among the secret corporate power elite as the coolly vicious orchestrators of wars and grand-scale theft. Mathews also details the mind-boggling sums of money their CEO’s reap from the proceeds of their crony capitalism. And what’s interesting is that the fortunes of corporations are totally delinked from the fortunes of the rest of the world. The 2008 financial crisis devastated hundreds of millions of people, but the following year Wall Street revenue hit US$60 billion, a historic high, thanks in large part to the massive injection of public money they received. Average wages in developed countries have dropped since the crisis, but the median pay for CEOs in the US now exceeds $10 million. A CEO now makes about 357 times more than the average worker’s salary in the U.S., up from 181 times in 2009 and 40 times in 1980. The divide between the have-nots and have-yachts is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent capture about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.
But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.
Crony politicians have made decisions that led to outsourcing good middle class jobs, dismantling our public education system kindergarten through college and university; deteriorating health care that leaves Americans in danger, sick and broke; the destroying of our environment and lives; the polluting of our food through deregulation of big agribusiness, pesticide use and the proliferation of Genetically Modified (GMO) foods; the crash of Wall Street and the Great Recession from which the bottom 99% of Americans have not yet recovered; while the super wealthy are doing better than ever.
Mind-blowing from the beginning, Mathews’ book takes an even more astounding contemporary turn when he declares their efforts over the past thirty years have succeeded. The middle class democracy that made America great is in seemingly irreversible decline. Mathews clearly shows how the Corporations and their crony politicians have hoodwinked America by separating speech and thought.
But wait, Mathew is a political pugilist, ready to lob a whole arsenal of answers on how we can reverse these trends and return middle-class democracy. He proposes comprehensive, bold, visionary solutions to restore America’s formidable democracy and make this country great again.
Can the truth change the course of history? If the truth can heal, then this book is a prescription for accountability. It is a must-read for anyone who believes that following our constitution must be mandatory for the pursuit of good government and that our once vibrant and powerful democracy is not for sale to the highest bidder and the too-clever-for-word machinations of the Corporate Pollution Politics.
Dollar Democracy is really a blueprint for Americans that have had enough. And that means 99% of us.