Ralph Nader: Shame Of A Nation: The 1% Rules, The 99% Lets Them – OpEd
By Ralph Nader
There has never been more access to food – domestic and imported – yet hunger is an ongoing problem everywhere. In the U.S. alone, 16.5 million children go to bed hungry and 20% of community college students are experiencing “food insecurity.”
Never have there been more communications technologies, yet it is harder to get through to people personally than fifty years ago.
Never have people been able to use their right to free speech so unencumbered, yet a torrent of lies are now spread so freely and are often unchallenged.
Never have there been higher corporate profits, yet staggering amounts of poverty and near poverty remain along with stagnant wages.
Never have there been more medicines to alleviate pain, yet far too many of these pain killers have caused massive fatalities and addictions.
Never has there been more liquid corporate capital piled up, yet corporate investment is proportionately lower than before. Instead, CEO’s have burned over 7 trillion dollars in unproductive stock buybacks in the past decade.
Never have there been more exercise outlets, exercise machines and apps, yet obesity is still rampant.
Never have there been more tax breaks for big businesses, yet big businesses use so little of the windfalls for productive investments, good jobs and shoring up pensions.
Never has there been more free access to information, yet so little retained knowledge.
Never have there been more impressive muckraking film documentaries and books that expose corporate and government crimes, yet this media attention produces less impact and reform.
Never have there been more ongoing impeachable offenses and statutory violations by a president, yet the opposing Party in Congress have been reluctant to move on the many articles of impeachment. Remember how fast the unified House of Republicans moved to impeach Bill Clinton in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice?
Never have there been more trainers, sports physicians, protective equipment and guards for professional athletes, yet there are far more injuries and days lost by players than was the case sixty years ago. Now there are helmets, gloves, pads, cushioned walls, better shoes etc. Why?
Never has there been more to read, yet there are so few readers reading. Historically, we have gone from illiteracy to literacy to aliteracy!
Never before has technology made it so easy for heads of government to meet, yet fewer international treaties are made. (Eg. Cyber, water, environment, consumer, labor etc.)
Never has there been such an outrageous corporate crime wave, yet law enforcement budgets have decreased! The more big CEO’s are paid, the worse is their management. (Eg. The big banks twelve years ago, General Electric for years.)
Never before have there been so many wrongful injuries, yet the court budgets are becoming tighter and the law of torts is being restricted. Without the defense of and use of our civil justice system, wrongful injury cases cannot go to court with a trial by jury.
Never before has there been more corporate fraud, yet agencies tasked with bringing this fraud to justice have smaller budgets and more limitations. The budget of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a third of one day’s worth of health care billing fraud, which is estimated this year to be $350 billion, according to Harvard’s national expert on the subject, Professor Malcolm Sparrow. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been straitjacketed by the evil corporate crime abettor Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House Chief of Staff for corrupt Donald.
Never has the drug industry accumulated more profits and government subsidies, yet so many patients cannot begin to afford lifesaving medicines.
Never have the under-taxed super-rich been so rich, yet on average give a smaller proportion of their money to “good works.” Actually, middle and lower income people give more proportionally than do the ultra-wealthy.
I could go on and on. Pick up the pace, readers. Senator Elizabeth Warren has correctly called for “big structural changes.”