America Has a Looting Problem

Looting has reached crisis levels. Everyone’s been talking about it. All the better, because it’s about time we start raising concerns about this national crisis of character which harms honest, hardworking people and benefits scoundrels. Let’s call them what they are- looters are immoral thieves, leeching off the backs of the honest, destroying livelihoods, wrecking economies, and degenerating national character.

Looters, unleashed by Reaganomics, pillaged their way through the prosperity of the middle classes following the election of 1980. Reagan’s gutting the New Deal, slashing tax rates on the wealthiest and strangling labor unions smashed the proverbial windows of the middle class’s defenses and gave full reign for plutocrats to storm away with the loot.

In just the last 20 years, these looters have reduced the middle class’s share of wealth by over $7 trillion. A few have made out with fortunes, while countless others have been demoted to the working poor.

Looters like Mitt Romney, a type exemplified culturally by fictional looter hero Gordon Gekko raided honest businesses of all stripes. These predators came to the scene, saw real businesses providing goods and services that contributed to the economy, and conquered them, leaving honest workers unemployed, and honest small business owners swallowed by the ever-merging corporate behemoths that were unleashed by Reagan’s undermining of the Sherman Anti-Trut Act.

These dangerous looters don’t only raid our business, they raid our homes. Millions of people lost their homes to bank foreclosures following Wall St.’s predatory banking practices that created the 2008 financial crisis. The banksters were not only let off for destroying the country, but in essence put a gun to the head of the country demanding public bailouts on the threat of bringing the nation to its knees. They made bets they knew were bad, knowing they’d get the public loot when the moment of reckoning came.

Then, to add insult to injury, they paid themselves millions in bonuses after getting the public money. These looters are so good at looting, they are in charge of the very economy they loot- talk about an inside job! Who is the Treasury Secretary under the Trump administration? Steve Mnuchin- also known as the “Foreclosure King.

Then, there are the defense contractors, who make up the military-industrial-complex that President Eisenhower warned us about in his farewell address. Private arms companies seeking commercial gain maximize profits by securing arms contracts with the federal government. Bloated defense contracts and perpetual war bring billions to the arms industry, sucking that allocation of funds away from investments in health, education and infrastructure.

The United States treasury was victim to a massive looting job in 2017, when the $1.5 trillion tax cut transferred that wealth from public coffers directly into the coffers of the pLOOTocrats. Recently, the $2 trillion bailout meant to stabilize the economy following the COVID19 crisis has amounted to a $500 billion corporate slush fund to prop up our nations biggest corporations- many of which, by the way, used that massive tax cut from 2017 to simply buy their own stocks to artificially inflate their value and score a short-term windfall profit for shareholders.

Let’s recap: Trump hands over public money to the richest corporations, who then artificially inflate themselves to take home a huge bonus, and then the bubble pops, when they get bailed out with public money again. It’s a mix of evil genius and brash insult- looting at the most professional level.

Giant media corporations have looted our information highway. What was once a landscape of many local media stations, cable networks, and small internet providers have been engulfed into the sphere of an outright media oligarchy. Americans not only pay significantly more for internet and TV than their counterparts in other developed countries, our internet is significantly slower as well. All the while, mainstream “news” has degenerated into mindless, manipulative, biased infotainment that has had the effect of distracting us, sedating us, and stripping us of the critical thinking necessary to critique the premises of the oligarchy they represent.

In 2005, President Bush signed a bankruptcy bill that stripped people of student loan bankruptcy protections, another step in suppressing socioeconomic mobility, ensuring they would be trapped by their creditors leaving the poorest with the biggest bills.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos looted billions from public schools, cutting an already struggling public education sector in order to allocate funding into private and religious schools. They went for small business owners, they went for employees, and they went for homeowners. Now they’re going for our children.

They’ve looted the sick. The private insurance behemoths rake in enormous profits, their CEO’s rake in preposterous payouts while a significant portion of the population is under-insured or uninsured altogether and pay some of the highest healthcare costs in the developed world. Millions struggle, many go bankrupt over medical bills, and a handful of pLOOTocrats make out with the loot.

Now, even medicare and social security are under threat. As George Carlin once warned- “They’re coming for you’re Social Security, too.”

The biggest polluters are looting our planet. Our air and our water is being ravaged by the marauding hordes of profiteers, leaving pollution and toxicity in their wake and destabilizing the climate. Untold millions may end up dying as a result.

America has been subjected to looters of the highest caliber, and millions have suffered systemically because of it. The “reverse Robinhood” effect stains our society- the professional looting class, in its infiltration of top posts of power have robbed from the poor and given to the rich.

So, to all those who have said that looters are thugs, that they must be stopped and that they must be punished, they’re right. Let’s do it.

Idealist. Optimist. For a new renaissance. Rethink everything. www.phoenixgoodman.com

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