Tuesday August 20, 2019 was a huge day in the Business Section of the Los Angeles Times. No, the United Nations did not declare world peace nor a new universal declaration of human rights. However, it was still monumental.
David Lazarus wrote that day of the broken premise of the “trickle-down theory” which was the centerpiece of the Reagan administration’s economic policy.
“For decades, working families have been told not to worry about the growing wealth gap between the nations haves and have nots. A rising tide lifts all boats. The magnitude of the deception borders on monstrous”, he wrote. “The reality is that as the rich get richer, the rich get richer, full stop”.
It has taken a near criminal lack of national management of a deadly pandemic to make us realize the depth of our folly. Trickle down? More like trickle up.
On that same day, Michael Hiltzik reported on the end of the shareholder value myth. Have you wondered why for the last fifty years it has seemed that corporations didn’t care about Americans and our neighborhoods and cities?
It’s because they didn’t. They believed that their only loyalty was to their stockholders. Well guess what, that was wrong too.
“Since the 1970’s, the prevailing ethos of corporate management has been that a company’s only responsibility is to serve its shareholders.
…one of America’s leading business lobbying groups just buried the myth. “We share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders”, reads a statement by the Business Roundtable and signed by 181 CEOs. The statement mentions, in order, customers, employees, suppliers, communities and dead last, shareholders.”
In his new book, It Was All A Lie, Stuart Stevens, a successful Republican political operative for decades, writes that, “…journalism…operated under a shared code of standards and professionalism. The 1987 FCC decision to stop the enforcement of the fairness doctrine supercharged conservative media into a billion-dollar industry. Now there was no need to be concerned with offering equal time or performing a news function. It was true for liberals and conservatives”.
These three things, the trickle-down theory, the shareholder value myth and end of enforcement of the fairness doctrine are tied together in poverty for older adults, retirees and many others. What we have in common is more defined by our lack of economic abilities and not our race, creed or color.
The wealthy keep their money and don’t care about you. The corporations keep their money with their shareholders and don’t care about you. The media doesn’t have to do fair and balanced reporting and who owns the media? Wealthy people and corporations! So, you don’t know what’s going on. And why should they care? Look how little we have objected.
Social security was supposed to “solve senior poverty” for those 65 and older. It didn’t and now 85 years after social security began, we are in desperate trouble.
Voter registration is important. Please vote on election day or do early voting and vote by mail in November and don’t let any election officials or poll worker stop you. Help persons with disabilities get to the polls. The voting rights of older people are important matter, especially as it pertains to decisions on health care, elder abuse, and the human rights of older Americans.
No matter who your vote for, don’t believe that money trickles down, that corporations have cared about you or that the government has kept reporting fair and unbiased and that older persons are the only ones who get COVID19, no matter what the white house says. But do believe that we can do something about it. We must have fair taxing of the wealthy and corporations without loopholes so that the middle class can flourish and retirees can survive. We must insist that corporations be answerable first to customers and employees. And older adults must insist that the new congress and the next president instruct the FCC to enforce the Fairness Doctrine so that we can all discuss these issues using the same facts. We are all Americans. We deserve to be given the same facts, not propaganda, so we can work together to solve our problems.
Marc has 36 years in financial services and 6 years in teaching.
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