As we know, the barons of Wall Street haven’t hesitated to raid our public treasury and haul off trillions of dollars worth of government bailouts and special tax breaks to subsidize their “free market” ventures.

So guess who’s the major force pushing policymakers to slash federal spending and kill programs that improve opportunities for regular people?

Main Street takes a back seat


Bingo! The barons. Through their lobbyists, front groups, and the politicians they’ve purchased, these high-finance royals have gained a stranglehold on policy, choking off the public investment that lifts up the poor and middle class.

As a result, these millionaires and billionaires are shortchanging America itself, reducing our can-do spirit to their won’t-do minginess.

Think of the progress we could be making. The United States would have the best public education system, not one of the worst among wealthy nations. We’d be upgrading the Affordable Care Act to Medicare-for-all from the best option we could squeeze through Congress. We could re-establish our technological supremacy and build the green economy of the future.

Rather than succumbing to a bleak future of low-wage, part-time, temporary, no-security jobs, let’s invest in full employment, world-class skills, and technology that works for workers.

While we’re at it, we can restore democratic power with public financing of all election campaigns, strengthen labor laws so workers themselves can democratize the workplace, and encourage the development of co-ops as an alternative to corporate control of the economy.

That’s an America that is worthy of us, an America we can build.

But to do it, we must first create a new political movement that directly confronts the narcissistic nabobs who are knocking down our people and our country. With such a movement, we can rally the increasingly-restive workaday majority to come together in a populist effort to cut off Wall Street and re-fund America.

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Jim Hightower

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.

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