The degree to which the American mainstream media distorts economic reality is truly staggering, a fact well-illustrated in the recent writing of Jeffery D. Sachs at Time. In his article “Why America Must Revive Its Middle Class,” Mr. Sachs identifies a whole host of symptoms without even once identifying the syndrome. Mr. Sachs, like most people in this country, recognizes that the middle class is being squeezed but, unlike the majority of Americans, he believes more government involvement in the economy is the path to prosperity. Like the protestors of “Occupy Wall Street,” Mr. Sachs seems to believe that corporations and CEOs are responsible for the current economic inequality that’s gripping America.
Liberals and conservatives tend to agree that the companies deemed “to big to fail” seem to get ahead while everyone else is in economic stagnation. The difference, however, is where we lay the blame for this economic disaster. Liberals wrongly accuse corporations in general, and corporate executives in particular, for the economic challenges that face America.
Conservatives, by contrast, rightly lay the blame at the feet of an out-of-bounds government in Washington, DC. This big-government leviathan is suffocating small business growth and private-sector economic development in this country. It isn’t successful people that are responsible for America’s current economic failings, it is the crony capitalism so deeply rooted in government.
An example of this culture of crony capitalism is the fact that green energy giant Solyndra got over $500 billion in stimulus funds from the Obama Administration through a green jobs fund set-up at the Treasury Department. What’s more, the Obama Energy Department guaranteed the loan issued by the Treasury, insuring that taxpayers were on the hook whether the company succeeded or failed. Another example of DC’s culture of crony capitalism was then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s exemption of American Samoa from the hike in the minimum wage her chamber passed in 2007. Why was American Samoa exempt from having a minimum wage increase? Because Mrs. Pelosi’s husband had a business interest on the island and didn’t want to pay his employees the new minimum wage the Speaker demanded of other American companies.
So, Mr. Sachs from Time was correct in stating that there is a growing gap between rich and poor Americans, and that the middle class is shrinking. He is out-and-out wrong to state that it’s the fault of the Reagan Administration in the 1980s and the Republicans that set America up to fail. He is blatantly and almost negligently wrong in stating that the government was responsible for a growing middle class in the 1950s (perhaps he has forgotten that a conservative Republican, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was president in the 50s?).
Conservatives, liberals and independents can agree that the middle class is shrinking, but the answer certainly isn’t more government. Ronald Reagan was right when he boldly declared in his 1981 Inaugural Address that “government is not the solution to our problems – government is the problem.” Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama had virtually the same economic policy prescription: big government bailing out big business, while hampering free market capitalism. The results now are the same as the results in the late 1970’s and early 80s. It took a Reagan to reverse the economic curse Carter brought on. I’m now just wondering who will be our Reagan to rescue us from the reincarnation of Carter?