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Who really are the economic bad guys?

by Jim Wallace
| December 4, 2010 8:00 PM

This is in response to the two My Turn "who done it; blame game" columns by Ms. Gressler and Mr. Ciruso. First, I am not a fan of either party's message framing techniques. Over the past 54 years, as a voter, I have tried not to succumb to becoming a fanatical party liner of either the Democrat or Republican persuasion. I am completely repulsed by the cheap, shallow, shady, unintelligent name calling hype promoted by both party campaign's enthusiasts who blindly support their party's causes. They have forgotten about considering truth, reason and common-sense values in determining who should lead this country.

I believe that when it comes time to vote, the choice should be based upon who will best serve the needs of all citizens, not whether the candidate is a Democrat or Republican. This "us vs. them" mentality ... as if it were a sporting event ... degrades and demoralizes what it really means to cherish and protect the values of a true democratic society. It never ceases to amaze me how the vast majority of the U.S. populace uses the term "the government" as if it were some nebulous body ... forgetting that in fact, we, the people, are the government. We are the ones who vote in representatives to accomplish what we want accomplished. As Mr. Ciruso said, " ... vote accordingly."

Having said that, I applaud the two authors on their presentations as they see it. It was refreshing to read intelligent dialogues presenting both Democratic and Republican points of view regarding how/why this country's economy is/went down the drain. But It was basically for naught because the bad guys are still at it, getting away with it, and feeling no shame.

All the finger pointing, yelling, and stomping of feet about the political parties' governing ineptness as the cause our economic quagmire is, I believe, way off base. I suggest that we stop and consider a broader view regarding why this nation is in such a financial shambles.

Let's consider a list of "bad guys" which are not necessarily in any order. Consider that these pirates, driven by greed, are really the ones dictating how our government and the general public operates on a day to day basis. Ask any lobbyist ... it is not the hard working, blue collar American workers they represent!

* The pharmaceutical/health industry has a choke hold on pricing their drug products and health care offerings. Profit is the name of the game ... forgetting side effects and possible fatal results.

* The almighty banking industry leads us down the path of financial self-destruction with their propaganda urging us to "buy now, pay later" ... and that paying later means money in their pockets with high interest rates, fees, and other charges.

* The auto industry's continuous "bigger is better" mantra while begrudgingly, slowly acknowledging the environmental concerns. They and the oil companies resist programs to reduce dependency on oil/gas products which fund Middle East conflicts.

* The "Wall Street gang" focused on how much money they can accumulate while joining the banks in declaring that they can regulate themselves! Pure as the driven snow? I think not! Ask Madoff. But don't forget the hedge fund managers who manipulate international trading that weakens the dollar and keep the world economies in a tail spin.

* Other "blood sucking" entities are the entertainment and sporting folks who siphon millions of dollars out of the public's wallet and become rich doing it. It makes no sense to me that baseball, basketball, and football players receive millions of dollars to perform to certain expectations and then when they don't, they still receive their salaries for failing ... and the fans keep paying for those high priced seats that go up every year. When is enough, enough!

* Top that off with the mega sports arena owners such as Jerry Johnson and their investors who construct gigantic stadiums and super max theater complexes when these dollars could be directed towards helping fund a better educational system or a finding a cure for a devastating disease. Instead we get what reminds me of the coliseums of the Roman Gladiators.

* And ... then there is the news media who seem to have forgotten that their primary purpose is to inform and education but instead try to influence and sway by emphasizing the negative and featuring headlines that keep the "spin doctors" in business.

* Last but not least are the corporate CEOs who receive huge sums of money for failing while experiencing no serious penalties for their crimes. Say "hi" to Enron and all that followed.

I would wager that most people do not realize this cast of greedy business opportunists are the ones wagging our tail. Blame them for keeping the U.S. economy off balance simply in order to line their own pockets. I say we should consider Ms. Gressler's opening thought in our daily lives ... "I want it and I want it now" and replace it with "Do I need this or do I simply want it?" Consider the financial consequences to ourselves and to our nation.

Jim Wallace is a resident of Hauser.

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