In this current political and economical whirlwind we are experiencing as Americans and citizens of the world, I believe it is pretty evident that it is time for some serious changes to take place in the way we govern and go about living in this world. There are many problems we have in this country that, when looked at seriously, warrant some relatively drastic changes in order to even begin to change them.
The current economic downturn, or as some economic pundits have recently said a depression, has forced us to look at the way we organize and run both the economy in this country as well as the government. The way in which we ended up in this whole economic mess is astounding when you look at the decrease in regulations that predicated the beginnings of what is now the worst economic collapse in recent history. The degrading of the regulations and laws that governed how assets and money were dealt with ultimately lead to the accumulation of so called “toxic assets” that forced the banks and firms that originally created them to, in turn, pull them out from under the people who bought into their schemes. The precisely worded contracts and verbal slight of hand that the banks and firms utilized convinced the layperson in this country that all was well and the deals they were receiving worked perfectly and carried with them no risk at all. This house of cards inevitably collapsed and, as we can see now, took down with it the world’s economy. Regulations that were previously in place, which had since been removed from the books, as well as a lapse on the part Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allowed for these deceitful acts to occur.
This economic collapse has also shone light on the problem America faces with the serious divide in wealth this nation is living with. As overused the phrase is, the top 1% has way too much wealth, I do not believe there is any doubt about that statement when one looks at how little the bottom tiers of society live with. The wage divide between workers and CEOs is at an all-time high and continually increasing while the wages for workers is flat-lining, if not decreasing. This divide can only spell problems for the upper levels of society because the lower tiers are now seeing that, with the regulations and laws clearly on their side, the richest members of American society are getting away with loopholes and tax breaks that should not exist in the first place, such as deferring an unlimited amount of money as CEO salary, which is in turn not taxable.
As we see now, there is some serious overhauling that needs to be done with the way the government and economy are run. While the “Occupy” movement is causing noise in the media and picking up support, it will not have the desired or needed effects. We, as Americans, need to realize that the way the country is run at this current time is seriously flawed. Changes in the tax code need to be implemented so the richest members of society do not get these exorbitant tax breaks, changes in the budget need to be made so excessive military spending is not the norm, and changes in economic regulations need to be enforced so companies do not get away with the kinds of trickery that go us to this point in the first place, yet these things are not occurring. While these kinds of changes are radical, which would enrage Edmund Burke, his plan would never work, as we see now. Keeping inane amounts of money in the hands of so few, as we have now, is not the right way to run a society; Perpetually handing down positions and capital from generation to generation creates a divide that is all but productive or beneficial for our country. While Burke would not support the uprising that is the Occupy movement nor would he support the kinds of changes they are in support of, they are a necessary step for this country moving forward.