Monday, November 14, 2016

Understanding the Heartland

First a note of housekeeping. I do not tolerate trolls. My views are not up for debate. I have changed my setting so I moderate comments because if I don't like it, I get rid of it. My blog, my thoughts, my rules. I like readers, but the writing is for me.

Back to writing....

When things happen that I don't understand, my "go to" to research. Guess that makes me an elitist. And the best way for me to assimilate information is to act like I'm in school writing "reflection papers". So here we go.

I grew up in the "armpit" of the midwest. Rice fields, mosquitos the size of a grape, and poverty. I didn't know it then, but we were privileged. I didn't know that my skin color and a three bedroom home, two cars and a job and a half in the house meant privilege because all the white people in my neighborhood, school, and church appeared to have the same. Except the country club set, but they didn't talk to me. It took living in a 30 year old mobile home and a sixteen year old car for me to understand I will never be as upwardly mobile as my parents, guaranteed by the student loan that gave me a career, but whose interest payments are more than $2400 a month, if I could make them.

So with the loss of this election, I really needed to understand. I'm not saying I do, but that I am beginning to get glimpses of what has happened to my country while I was sidelined with getting out of Arkansas, getting away from a psychopath, and loosing my children. Yeah, I was a little distracted before I turned 40. Then I went to grad school and got distracted for another decade. But here I am. And I apologize to those in the midwest who were struggling and didn't get the help they needed.

So let's have a history lesson. I'm looking to wickipedia for some basic background info. This is a blog, not a term paper ; )

1929-1932 banks didn't have depositor's insurance, there was no unemployment insurance, social security or medicaid. Income fell by over 50%. A quarter of the nation was out of work or underemployed. Eventually 5 million mortgages were foreclosed. According to Wicki: "Political and business leaders feared revolution or anarchy."

FDR was elected, and promised a New Deal: "The New Deal represented a significant shift in politics and domestic policy. It especially led to greatly increased federal regulation of the economy. It also marked the beginning of complex social programs and growing power of labor unions. The effects of the New Deal remain a source of controversy and debate among economists and historians." Nevertheless, the New Deal put people to work, resulted in FDIC insurance for deposits, established the US Securities and Exchange commission to prevent another Wall Street crash and corporate abuses, and provided for farms and rural programs.

Not everything he tried worked, but the economy shot up over the next ten years. The point is that the government, with many mistakes and side trips, became a last resort of protection for the people. Now I was raised in Indiana and then Arkansas, and have spent the last thirty years in Georgia and South Carolina. My family are conservative republicans. And I was raised to believe that all government interference is bad and competitive markets are always best. I was wrong.

The purpose of "government interference" was to provide a safety net. I've drawn unemployment insurance. My current paycheck depends on children's medicaid payments. One day I hope to draw social security (downsides are a different discussion). The banking reform "offered unprecedented stability". Farmers benefited as the government paid for reduced output which raised prices. They could afford to be farmers again. Now we've turned that into something bad. We've pitted little farms against monopolized corporations (thank you Regan) and made it possible for the corporations to put most farms out of business. We've busted the labor unions who got fair wages for people and reasonable working conditions (I love you, Mother Jones). We've destroyed our own safety net. We sold our souls to companies like Tyson and Boeing, who then pitted us against each other, and sold it to us as free enterprise, bankrupting our people and our small towns.

Worse, most people don't realize that's what we did. Thanks to the Christian right's involvement, it's become moral issues. We've forgotten the principal of separation of church and state.

FDR's advisers "believed that excessive competition and technical progress had led to overproduction and lowered wages and prices, which they believed lowered demand and employment". What would they say now? We've elected a president who promises to give tax cuts to the wealthy, and to cut regulations on clean air.

Since Mr Trump is uniquely unqualified to run a country and has never even been elected to the PTA, I'm going to look to the man who will really be running the show, possibly for the next 16 years. According to Brietbart, Mike Pence " opposed federal bailouts and economic interventions, called for returning control over education to states and local communities, and opposed numerous power grabs from the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Federal Communications Commission. He was also one of the foremost lawmakers opposing Obamacare, both before and after its passage."

It looks to me like by the end of the next four years, we won't recognize this country. Listening to MSNBC and CNN over the weekend, it's clear that the freedom of the press is being threatened. Unlike other countries, no one can sue inside the US for libel the same way you can in other countries which is why President Obama couldn't go after the birthers despite the clear lie. Yeah, it's all going to change and some within 100 days. FDR brought about radical change in 100 days which is where that measuring stick came from. Holy cats, what will Mr Trump do?

This is getting too long and I've not even gotten to the book I am reading. Let's end here. I needed to do a little research and organize my thoughts. We'll talk about What's the Matter with Kansas? How the Conservatives Won the Heartland next.

1 comment:

  1. I aren't a homo, or a N*****, or don't matter none to me...