(continued from the previous post)
Businesses who refused to invest in their people, despite the lowest interest rates in 50 years [acted out of fear]. For all the talk of loyalty and the new employment contract and the value of knowledge, we let our people fall.
Government was no help. It panicked, shedding itself of responsibilities it no longer wanted anyway, for ideological reasons. It passed costs of programs down to state levels. The states, with no federal money and their own regional economies in a shambles, pared programs down to the bone to cut budgets an average of 12% per state.
Who won in these brutal budget battles? Those who rely least on government aid, but benefit hugely from government preference – the wealthiest 5% of the population.
Who did not cut and run was consumers. For 18 months after the attack, consumers kept buying stuff, even as layoffs and uncertainty abounded. Home-buying and building were especially stellar during this period. They kept the economy from vanishing entirely. The little folks held.
The people who cut and run may have saved themselves. But only those who stayed and fought for everyone can call themselves Americans.
There's much ammunition here for the Democrats. While I haven't chosen a candidate yet, I believe the Democratic Party needs to return to its populist roots -- temperately, to be sure, but definitely reassert that they, and certainly not the GOP, is the party of the people.
*Yes, I said government. Republicans may love to run on an anti-government platform, but it's Bush who created the biggest -- and potentially most intrusive -- bureaucracy oin history. I might also add that despite controlling the White House and Congress, the GOP isn't doing much to reduce the size of government. A few cranks like Grover Norquist might pine for a weak, Articles of the Confederation-style Fed, but when push comes to shove most people and politicians, Republicans included, don't really want that.