The rich win against ‘we the people’

Monday, November 10, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:53 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 4, 2008

"When you stop to think about it, it is really sad that money has become the primary consideration in every aspect of life."

Some of us who matured in another age (BD: before deregulation) seem to have stronger feelings about stealing than people who have matured AD (after deregulation). It’s true that there have always been people in business stealing from their customers or their investors. But it was harder to get away with when you had federal agencies breathing down your throats. This latest mutual-fund scandal ought to make investors realize that something is going have to be done to make people keep their hands off other folks’ money. Of course, the free-market advocates won’t allow that to happen, but at least the victims should understand that there are individuals who must have their hands shackled for their own protection and the protection of others.

I have come to accept that there is a supergroup among us who interprets the financial news and tells us what condition our economy is in. Most of us who have an elementary understanding of economics cannot even begin to understand how the economy can be in such great shape with the unemployment rate so high and more people losing their jobs every day.

As one friend keeps asking, if all the jobs are moving to other countries, how are people in America going to be able to afford to purchase the goods these companies produce? This person can’t get it through his head that the Big Financial Poohbas have all this stuff figured out and we just have to wait for them to inform us of how this is going to work. I doubt that there is any other segment in our population that seems to have as much fun as these financial wizards talking about things like the gross national product. The fact that so many people are having to file bankruptcy in order to survive financially doesn’t seem to bother these people at all.

When you stop to think about it, it is really sad that money has become the primary consideration in every aspect of life.Some people don’t seem to mind doing a few years in prison as long as they will have enough money to live luxuriously for the rest of their lives.

When you consider that we call ourselves a civilized society, such anomalies should stop serious people dead in their tracks. A rational question might be, “Where are we going with this ethically?” Lately, I keep hearing people say that we are the greatest civilization since the Roman Empire, a statement that ought to raise certain questions.

But as it is, many, many people have to spend their entire lives just keeping the wolf away from their doors. I hear people every day remarking on the possibility that the winter-heating bills alone are likely to take the food from their table. But unless the upper-middle class is greatly affected, we are told by media that the recession is a thing of the past.

I have always been troubled by the number of multitalented people I have met who work at jobs at the bottom of the economic ladder. It’s almost criminal the way talent in this country is wasted because people don’t have certain credentials, don’t know the right people or are in the wrong place at the wrong time. I fear This strange determination to keep people working at starvation wages while others of lesser talents earn millions is going to have a tragic effect on this nation.

There are probably very few people who expect these white-collar criminals involved in defrauding mutual funds to do a lot of hard jail time. This is all a part of the AD lifestyle. Stealing is just another part of the financial gain. A Tyco executive holding a $2 million party for his wife, some of it paid for by the company’s investors, is just a way to rub our noses in it. If we tolerate a system that permits this kind of criminality, then so what? And with deregulation, all the people with money have taken control, and there is very little “we the people” can do.

In any case, I’m glad I enjoyed life BD. Sure, there were a lot of wealthy people, but there were laws which prevented them from using their wealth to take control of all areas affecting their businesses. But, mostly what I enjoyed was the ability to have a good life, even when you had very little money. No one in any of the neighborhoods in which I grew up had much money, but they all had the necessities of life. Somehow, sick people were able to have medicine and old people always had warm fires. Not many people had automobiles, but they all managed to have bus fare.

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see the glass as half-full when it’s half-empty. What it takes is a mind open to suggestions — you might be persuaded to do something about it. By the way, have you checked your retirement fund lately?

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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