MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics

Has The United States Become a Banana Republic?

Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, Jul 26, 2011 @ 11:27 AM

debt ceiling stalemate

I don’t know about you, but I’m disgusted with the politics surrounding the increase of the debt limit. This is routine housekeeping work that has turned into hostage taking. Republicans seem to have lost any interest in the belief that we’re all in this together and that we should be looking out for the common good of all and not just the few at the top.

Burn the village to save the village. Let the country default on its debt. The rhetoric being touted by Republicans is dangerous and corrosive to our society as a whole. Those of us in the silent majority that are fed up with this lack of compromise and putting our country first need to let our voices be heard.

While Rome Burns

Two data points that drive me crazy and go to the heart of what’s ailing our country is our staggering inequality. This has to change.

Data Point One:  The 400 wealthiest American’s own more in terms of assets than the bottom 60% of Americans.

Data Point Two: The top 1% of American’s own more than the bottom 90%.

We’re living in a time of historic inequality not seen since the 1920’s. If you look at the measures of inequality, the U.S. is now more unequal than a lot of the traditional banana republics’ in Latin America.

So at a time like this, it seems particularly incumbent upon us to be worried a little bit more about how to extend unemployment benefits and a little less concerned about write offs for private jets.

Former President Ronald Reagan said it well:

“Congress consistently brings the government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets and the federal deficit would soar. The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations.”

As Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman and now host of Morning Joe on MSNBC said today: “Ronald Reagan said this 24 years ago. It is time that Republicans running the House today follow the 40th president’s wise advice and do the right thing.”

I couldn’t agree more with Joe.


photo by malczyk