Patricia A. O'Malley
Social Policy & Programs Consulting ~ Community Matters
P.O. Box 97803 ~ Pittsburgh, PA 15227 ~ 412-310-4886 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright Patricia A. O'Malley ~ All rights reserved
Social Policy & Programs Consulting
Training and Services for agencies working toward social and economic justice
The Common Culprit in America’s Multiple Massive Crises
May 27, 2010
Laws and regulations are the rules by which society operates. If we don’t have rules, we don’t have a society. We have mayhem. America’s founding philosophy is that rules are essential and that no one is above the law.
Yet we are inundated with reports of those in all walks of life who think the rules don’t apply to them.
A quick stroll through the recent headlines reveals a remarkable connection.
• Eleven men are dead and a relentless explosion of oil is assaulting the Gulf of Mexico. The economic and environmental dominoes will eventually topple around the world. The corporate and bureaucratic culprits don’t give a damn.
• Corporate executives rake in $billions$ while countless Americans lose their homes, jobs, health insurance, and pensions.
• Forty thousand Americans die and millions more suffer because insurance corporations play god. We fought for health insurance reform for nearly a year. Yet the new law won’t do much to help them.
• Twenty-nine men died at Massey Energy Corporation’s Upper Big Branch Mine. Hundreds more will die in workplace incidents in the US this year because Don Blankenship and the rest of the corporate executives and bureaucrats think that the rules don’t apply to them.
• Our elected officials bring us the scandal of the week because they think the rules don’t apply to them.
• Pittsburgh Police and their deputies violated the civil rights of hundreds of people during the G-20 summit last fall, and do so routinely when the cameras aren’t watching, because they think that the rules don’t apply to them.
• Many elementary and high schools don’t even bother to teach civics any more.
• Many college business and political schools don’t teach ethics, but they do teach ways to evade regulations.
• Professional athletes put themselves into legal trouble at an alarming rate because they think that the rules don’t apply to them.
• Burmese refugees fight for their human rights at a local plant owned by W & K Steel Corporation.
• Thousands of Pittsburghers endanger the safety of their neighbors by refusing to clean their sidewalks of ice and snow, while the mayor endorses their negligence.
• Pittsburgh’s Mayor Ravenstahl tries to push through illegal taxes while refusing to enforce the city’s laws.
• Too many of our elected officials have no problem violating the Constitution that they swore to uphold while trying to strip us of our citizenship, our civil rights, and our civil liberties.
• Pennsylvania legislators and staff members face trial, and probably prison, in the Bonusgate scandal because they think that the rules don’t apply to them.
• Thirty United States Senators voted to protect rapists and the government-paid companies that employ them.
• Countless Americans lost jobs – and subsequently their homes, health insurance, and pensions – because Congress rewarded corporations for shipping jobs overseas.
• Federal, state, and local governments regulators/watchdogs/managers consistently ignore violations of our rules.
• Our government seeks to punish illegal immigrants – as it should – but offers barely a slap on the hand to the employers who hire them.
• A major executive at the United States Postal Service told me that it is not the post office’s job to deliver the mail.
Meanwhile, Congress wastes its time and our money debating college football playoffs.
Alan Greenspan told our public officials, for more than 30 years, that our economy would flourish if only we abolished all regulations. Greenspan, who holds a Ph.D. in Economics from New York University, served as Chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (1974 to 1977), a director of the Council on Foreign Relations (1982 to 1988) and as Chair of the Federal Reserve Board (1987 to 2006), as well as on the boards of directors of several major corporations.
Since most of our government officials don’t understand the technical aspects of economic policy, they took his word for it. Then, Congress couldn’t move fast enough. They tripped over themselves to de-regulate throughout the Ford, Carter, Reagan, first Bush, Clinton, and second Bush administrations.
So. If Congress doesn’t need rules. And corporations don’t need rules. And bureaucrats don’t need rules. Then why do athletes, and the police, and the rest of us need them? People are personally responsible for their own actions. But Greenspan’s influence that tells those on this list that we don’t need regulations. We don’t need laws. We don’t need to operate by a set of rules. Greenspan tells them that mayhem will be fine.
To be fair, Greenspan did say, during Congressional testimony in October 2008, that “Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder's equity — myself especially — are in a state of shocked disbelief. . . . I have found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact. . . . I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”
A flaw? Gee, from the cheap seats it looks more like deliberate, rampant, contempt for civilization. Greenspan doesn’t know what he’s talking about because he spent his entire life in government and academia. It’s all theoretical to him. He has never lived in the real world. I don’t know whether Greenspan is evil or not, but I do think he’s dangerously out of touch with reality. It’s a good thing that he no longer has an official position in our government.
Nevertheless, here we are.
And it’s time to ignore Alan Greenspan and start doing what’s right.
April 6, 2016
Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was sentenced in federal court to one year in prison for his part in the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster.
April 22, 2017
Alan Greenspan has announced that he favors repealing all regulations on business and financial institutions.
Yeah. Because we need another economic meltdown right now.
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