Real economic problems driving downtown woes

OlympiaJanuary 2, 2014 

The Olympian continually publishes articles, editorials and letters complaining about homeless people downtown. These people are symptoms of underlying nationwide economic problems.

Real wages (adjusting for inflation) peaked in about 1976. Businesses prevent the minimum wage from keeping up with inflation. They have pushed wages downward, moved jobs overseas and opposed employees’ right to organize unions.

Both political parties have deregulated the economy (e.g., Bill Clinton’s repeal of Glass-Steagall), promoted “free trade” schemes (e.g., Clinton’s NAFTA and the George W. Bush-Barack Obama Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP), and allowed the richest capitalists to determine the government’s economic policies.

In 2008 Obama’s biggest contributor was Goldman-Sachs. Obama repaid the favor by appointing many Goldman-Sachs officials to his administration, and he shaped his economic policies to suit them. He has refused to hold big banks and Wall Street accountable for their many crimes and abuses.

In 1981, Ronald Reagan started tilting the economy even more toward the rich and against everyone else. Then all presidents and Congresses in both political parties made things even worse.

Now the U.S. now has a horribly wide gap between the rich and everyone else, and the U.S. ranks very low on many indicators of quality of life when compared with other countries.

Nationwide economic policies have caused many millions of Americans to become poor, psychologically depressed and alienated from society. Some of us hide our symptoms. Others are visible downtown.

To fix downtown’s problems, we must reverse decades of corrupt, dysfunctional economic policies that have rebuffed and alienated millions of Americans.

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