Democracy and capitalism

This article is written in response to the April 7 letter to the editor "U.S. is a great country because of capitalism." Lest I be painted as a bleeding heart liberal socialist, let me give you a little information about my background. My college major was business administration. In the '60s I served in the Marine Corps. My professional career has been spent as a sales representative for Xerox Corporation, a commercial construction project manager and a business owner with a dozen employees. Yes, I created jobs, met a payroll and have been a longtime advocate of capitalism.

The economic situation in which we now find ourselves is the direct result of nearly 30 years of corporate deregulation, greed, corruption and total government support of big business at the expense of labor unions and the middle class. During this period, CEO salaries have gone from 30 times the average worker's income to 300 times that income. Multi-million dollar executive salaries are decided upon by board members who are CEOs of other corporations. Almost nothing is manufactured in the United States now. Rather than making their livings and stimulating the economy through the creation of jobs and the manufacture of products, Wall Street people make their money by moving other people's money around in overly risky and illegal ways that even they do not understand. Their greed has led to the near total collapse of their way of making a living and of capitalism.

Over this 30-year period, unfettered capitalism has led to the shrinking of the middle class and the near destruction of the earth's ecosystem. Global warming is not some wacko left-wing concoction — it is a scientifically proven fact. It was first discovered shortly after the beginning of the industrial revolution and has been getting exponentially worse since that time. Corporate America has been fighting environmental protection every step of the way.

This is the second time we have gone through this drill in 80 years, and it took us a decade and a half to get through that first one. Let's not pretend that this is a normal and acceptable part of the economic cycle. This economic bubble and burst has to be ended by reasonable regulation. These regulations then have to be enforced. If that doesn't work, maybe it is time to look into a new economic approach — perhaps something along the lines of the European approach, which, in spite of universal health care (which Europeans love and I favor), is not socialism.

During the course of my lifetime, the country and the world has changed in ways that my grandparents wouldn't have believed possible. Somehow we have survived these changes. I am sure that we can adjust to and survive a change in our economic system.

Capitalism did not make America a great country. American's greatness started long before we embraced capitalism. Democracy and equal rights for all people made America a great country! We are still working on the equal right parts and are not yet a "perfect union." I feel very confident that if we work together, we can make democracy withstand economic change. Heck, it survived George W. Bush!

Ed Dillon has lived in Ashland since 2001. He has always enjoyed writing and expressing political opinions.

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