Friday, March 27, 2009

The things worth saving

Financial Times:

Ordinary citizens do not comprehend obvious elite truths such as the financial crisis was a systemic failure, not a personal one, that Wall Street wizards need to be paid as much to unwind the mess as they earned creating it, and that saving the system as a whole is a more worthy and urgent task than punishing individual miscreants.

I suspect what ordinary citizens comprehend is that the system does not work for them.

When times are "good," the ordinary citizen is placed on a treadmill and asked to run faster and faster, making little if any progress personally, while the owning classes absorb the gains. Profits are skewed towards owners, and "obligations" -- for one's welfare, health, and retirement -- are hung on the average American, who lives indebted just to scrape by.

When times are "bad," the ordinary citizen is taxed in order to preserve this relationship.

I have a feeling the ordinary citizen would be open to ending this relationship altogether if a more equitable arrangement was proposed. There is scarcely anything left to lose in working towards it -- and quite a lot to be gained for our grandchildren in succeeding.

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