Monday, October 22, 2018

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Thom Hartmann writes about the billionaire-funded push toward outright fascism in the U.S. as a response to the growth of the middle class in the 20th century:
(U)nregulated markets—particularly markets not regulated by significant taxation on predatory incomes—invariably lead to the opposite of a healthy middle class: they produce extremes of inequality, which are as dangerous to democracy as cancer is to a living being.

With so-called “unregulated free markets,” the rich become super-rich, while grinding poverty spreads among working people like a heroin epidemic. This further polarizes the nation, both economically and politically, which, perversely, further cements the power of the oligarchs.

While there’s a clear moral dimension to this—pointed out by Adam Smith in his classic Theory of Moral Sentiments—there’s also a vital political dimension.
The Republican candidates’ and their billionaire donors’ behavior today eerily parallels that day in 1936 when Roosevelt said, “In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for.” President Roosevelt and Vice President Wallace’s warnings are more urgent now than ever before.

If Trump and the billionaire fascists who bankroll the Republicans succeed in destroying the last supports for America’s enfeebled middle class, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—and succeed in blocking any possibility of Medicare for All or free college and trade school—not only will the bottom 90 percent of Americans suffer, but what little democracy we have left in this republic will evaporate. History, from Greek and Roman times through Europe in the first half of the 20th century, suggests it will probably be replaced by a violent, kleptocratic oligarchy that no longer shrinks from words like “fascist.”
- And Toni Hassan discusses the need to reduce inequality in order to allow for individual security and well-being.

- Bloomberg's editorial board offers a few (if less-than-ambitious) suggestions to rebalance employment relationships which have become increasingly distorted in favour of giant corporations. And Claire Tran reports on Generation Progress' mapping of the U.S.' student debt, including the observation that unmanageable debts are most common for students who need to pursue degrees in order to overcome other structural disadvantages.

- CBC reports on Apple's extreme measures to try to avoid any affordable or consumer-based repairs to its products.

- Finally, the New York Times' editorial board laments the disenfranchisement of voters for nothing but bare political gain.

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