Recession and Recovery

I am so sick of conservatives lying to my face and trying to gaslight me about some of the most difficult years of my life. They act like they can declare something to be true, when all the evidence says they are completely wrong, and then call me closed-minded for not believing their lies about things I’ve observed myself.

I was shaped and scarred by the recession; I know why it happened and what has happened since. When I turned 18 in 2009 there were no jobs for me. I applied for hundreds, and I never got an interview. I didn’t get a full time job until the economy picked up in 2011 thanks to the actions of the Obama administration.

Having worked at the same small-ish manufacturing company since then, I’ve watched the economy recover and business grow. We’ve added tens of thousands of square feet, including a new 20,000 square foot building in our main location. In my home state of Washington, with the highest minimum wage in the nation and other progressive policies, job growth for small businesses has, in some recent years, been better than in any other state. Wages have been growing here as well in the past year or two.

Still, as I predicted would happen, many conservatives insist that everything is awful and Obama made it worse, which is as wrong as wrong can possibly be. Crime is down. Unemployment is down. Poverty is down. Liberal states are feeding the nation with their economic success. Almost everything has improved, aside from wealth inequality and the abusive attitudes of these extremists for whom truth is whatever they feel like believing at the moment. If they want us to stop ridiculing them, they should stop being ridiculous.

Continue reading

Why Pure Capitalism Doesn’t Work

capitalismI know a lot of people who are so enamored with free market capitalism and individualism that they oppose any social programs to reduce poverty and fix wealth inequality. In previous articles about government I mentioned why extreme inequality is a problem. Some capitalists disagree that it’s even a problem, or if they do they blame the poor for not earning more money. But others think government interference is what causes economic problems, and an unregulated capitalist free market would fix wealth inequality. I believe this view is inconsistent with what we’ve actually observed in the past, and social programs are necessary to offset the inherent problems created by capitalism.

The main problem with capitalism is that it’s specifically designed to make use of greed. It’s actually not a bad concept, to direct our more negative human traits into producing goods. However, capitalism assumes this is the best way of running an economy, and therefore tends to promote and reward greed.

Perhaps it was the best at some point in the past, when humanity was more spread out and individuals were more dependent on themselves and their families. But over the last couple centuries, the exponential growth of technology has led to a much more populous world and very different ways of life. You could see this as analogous to a single cell joining with others to form a multi-cellular organism. We started as small tribes, then cities, then nations. Now almost all of humanity has been brought into a single tribe, if you base your criteria for tribal membership on the length of time it would take to communicate with any other member. Instantaneous communication and faster methods of travel have brought almost everyone in the world as close together as the population of a city, whether we remain divided into separate countries or not.

Continue reading

The Case for Democratic Socialism

workers-659885_960_720The word socialism elicits negative reactions from a lot of Americans. I think the widespread misunderstanding of the term is a relic of the Cold War era, as well as historical tension between right-wing capitalists and the far left. When one type of government ends up going bad, people are quick to blame the overall method and move to the opposite extreme, rather than considering the real cause of the problems. This results in an endless cycle of reactionaries who, in their zealous drive to fix what everyone else messed up, go too far and make another mess.

That’s the current situation in America. During the Cold War, in response to the threat from an authoritarian socialist country, America turned hard to the right and ended up handing over government power to large corporations. The solution to our problems is not more of the same crony capitalism that has shifted massive amounts of wealth, as well as most economic growth, into the hands of the rich. When a government has gone too far to the right, it needs to shift back toward the left.

Continue reading