Have you ever questioned who or what is behind what is driving this country in the direction that it is moving? I have. Since the early 1980s. After the election of Ronald Reagan, I began paying attention to national politics.
In the city where I lived at the time and where O’Hare Airport’s Traffic Control Center was located, I witnessed the chaotic aftermath of the breakup of the Air Traffic Controllers union. Rather than negotiate, President Reagan fired the striking union members and replaced them with non-union workers. The fired members not only lost their livelihood, many lost their homes. The assault on unions had begun.
Reagan initiated deregulation of the trucking industry, the airline industry, and promulgated policies that led to the dismantling of AT&T, and other government regulated monopolies. Americans were led to believe that more choice through privatization leads to cheaper prices. Did that happen? Think Enron. Deregulation continued into the late 1980s leading to the credit union scandal that cost taxpayers an estimated $55 billion to mop up.
In the 1990s benefits of globalization were touted as industries moved en masse to other countries hollowing out whole communities across the United States as jobs disappeared, wages stagnated, and unions were discredited. The tech and financial industries benefited. Power and wealth was concentrated in the top management of large corporations. Remember the late 1990s stock market and “irrational exuberance?” The wealthy gained more influence over politicians by funding their campaigns.
Many of us are distraught by the direction the country is moving. We need to question and learn why this is happening. To provide the answer, I have placed in the Bemidji Library two copies of the book, “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Rights Stealth Plan for America” written by Nancy MacLean, history professor at Duke University. She researched the many years of accumulated papers of the deceased economist, James McGill Buchanan. She gleaned from those papers the answer to the country’s trajectory from democracy to oligarchy. The stark reality lies in the philosophy that he espoused. It’s called libertarianism. Libertarianism is about protecting the wealth and property of the “makers” from the “takers.” This book reveals the sinister plan that is today being implemented, by stealth, to deliver total control of this country to the oligarchs. If you want the truth, read this book.
Carole Kelly (Haas)