Thursday, October 27, 2011

1980 - A Pivotal Time In Our History

Here is a little something I picked up over at What IS Working.


I wonder what happened around 1980 that changes us from all growing together, to the top 1% growing at the expense of everyone else?

Any guesses?


  1. Video Games..Cell Phones.. made us (the next generation of adults) all too busy ( hypnotized ) with gadgets to keep apprise and be better watch dogs to all going on???

    Or so many divorces; single people just so busy with their every day 'doings' they just did not worry about wanting to stay a top of political things; and push our politicians to do right?

    (at least the latter is where I fall into it).

  2. Robert Reich makes a strong case that that's when the social contract really started coming undone. Industies' flight to the Sun Belt was being felt, in weakened/abandoned unions and declining support for poor people schools, infrastructure, etc., in northern industrial places that Southern states had exported their poor to for many decades. And, of course, many businesses and politicians were making calculations and adjustments based on the political realignment known as the Southern Strategy, which by 1980 was paying off big time.

    The obvious answer is that 1980 is when Reagan was elected. That's true, but it took some time for the effect of his policies to make themselves felt in a big way.

  3. What SW said... the election of Reagan was a huge catalyst.

    I would submit also that Focus on the Family started in 1977, and the Moral Majority emerged in 1979... and when the Republican party began to embrace those groups and court their votes, it allowed dominionism into our political system. One result of that is that we now see dominionists such as Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry gaining a certain degree of respect and popularity. People such as Jerry Falwell and James Dobson have perhaps played as large a role as Ronald Reagan's politics have in destroying our national debate and causing a deterioration in our system, at least in my opinion.

  4. Two recent news accounts capture a sense of why citizens are angry at their leadership: First, Protestors against Wall Street:

    At this point, protest is the message: income inequality is grinding down that middle class, increasing the ranks of the poor, and threatening to create a permanent underclass of able, willing but jobless people … Research shows that such extreme inequality correlates to a host of ills, including lower levels of educational attainment, poorer health and less public investment. It also skews political power …

    Followed by this account, Sarkozy Warns France of New Economic Reality:

    We will have to revise and adapt our budget plan to the new reality,” Mr. Sarkozy told an estimated 12 million viewers as he revealed that his government had lowered its forecast for next year’s gross domestic product growth to 1 percent from 1.75 percent … “It’s because of this debt crisis that we find ourselves in a situation of having to defend France’s triple-A credit rating,” Mr. Sarkozy said, noting that a rating downgrade would only increase the interest burden on the country’s public debt …”

    The bogeyman is not just Wall Street but the entire global financial system, which is holding the citizens hostage through their elected officials.

    To put this into perspective, consider the relative positions of debt to percentage of GDP for Greece versus Italy (as of July 2011): Greece – 126%; Italy 116%. Very ratios and yet Greece is in crisis but Italy is not. Why? Because Italy’s debt is held by private bond holders inside Italy whereas Greece’s debt is held by international bond and hedge fund traders. The key word is “exposure.” Citizens of Italy will not drive up the interest rate on their own country, whereas global traders and speculators are holding Greece in thrall. Last summer, the interest rate on Greece’s debt was roughly 3.65%. This year it is over 26%. Italy’s interest rate has remained relatively unchanged from last year. The difference here: Citizens with a stake in their country vs. outside carpetbaggers and robber barons.

  5. "Citizens with a stake in their country vs. outside carpetbaggers and robber barons."

    Very true, Octo. Carpetbaggers and robber barons is what you get with multinational corporations, as well.

  6. Octo,
    Nicely phrased. NIMBY, fits but it's a case of theft. But, on a global scale, that's what the financial markets, IMF and the developed world have always engaged in. It used to be run by Nobles and Kings, became the province of Nation-States and now is run by Multi-National Conglomerates who hold no country sacred and no currency above debasing and no peoples above being fleeced and driven into debt slavery.