Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The long memory is the most revolutionary idea in America

Does anyone remember 2008?

I remember the summer of 2008 vividly. I was working at a small bike shop in Northern Utah. Gas prices had gone through the roof and for the first time in all my years in the cycling industry, I saw middle class folk buying bikes to ride to work. There was a lot of talk about the economy being in trouble and how gas prices were effecting the average person. Seeing that food prices had dramatically increased due to the cost of transportation, etc.

And then the gas prices dropped.

And the economy came to a complete stand still. There were rumors. There were lies. And then there was the bailout.

Our sales at the bike shop went from record breaking to non-existent. I watched as the many people in the community who frequented the shop told the stories of the lost money, lost jobs. The lost houses were yet to come.

We were all told that the bailout was absolutely necessary to save the economy. Then we watched as people were paraded in front of Congress to beg for money. We watched as the corporations who had made poor financial decisions were, one by one, saved by the U.S. people.

And ever since we have watched as jobs have not grown but continue to be unavailable to the American people.

They told us that this was all due to a failure in the regulatory process to keep up with the advancements in financial products. So they gave us the Dodd-Frank Act. This huge act of legislation was supposed to guarantee that what had happened would never happen again. It was written in the hopes of giving us a safety net.

Now we get those same politicians toting the idea that the Dodd-Frank Act is impeding businesses from hiring employees because the regulation has impeded them from being able to grow.

Does anyone remember?

It's infuriating to watch people get excited about reverting back to early 20th century conditions. We had a time when the Dodd-Frank Act did not exist, what did we get? economic depression. We have had a time when the minimum wage didn't exist, when child labor laws, the eight hour day, safety regulations, environmental regulations have all not existed. We can look back and see what we will get if these safety nets are not in place.

If we were to really look back and study the rise and fall in economy, we would learn what every economics student learns in the first semester. The capitalist system always grows and retracts, aka crashes. It is unstable and the only people who are insulated from these booms/crashes are the wealthy, the rest of us are screwed.

If only we could remember... Maybe we would vote for us, instead of them.

"The long memory is the most radical idea in the country." - U. Utah Philips

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