Capitalism Is Killing America

We have to ask ourselves, “who owns the country?” — and hold corporations and politicians accountable to our future.

By Patrick Washington

(Word In Black ) — Capitalism is killing America. The overreaching sentiment of “Wall Street” and Gordon Gekko is coming to a head. Greed is no longer good — if it ever was.

Almost every issue facing America today can be linked to corporate greed. Climate change, inflation, homelessness, and even the political division of the two-party system seem to be more about power and control than pubic service. The question is now “who owns the country?” — and the most interesting part of that is the answer is “the same people who always have”

Headlines begin to become redundant, too. Climate change, climate change denier; carbon emissions, oil and gas etc.

But here’s the rub: Corporations (and their political allies) are responsible for the heat wave, and their big plan to stop is to NOT stop. Also they plan to keep putting the onus on the public so that accountability can still be a mute point within their budget sheets.

If you’re as old — or older — than me you remember the big recycling push campaigns in the 1990s, and probably the commercial with the crying Italian man pretending to be Native American from the 1970s. Think about that campaign for a second. The people scream for recycling of plastics and other chemical-made products and scientists push for better made products, but the corporations who make billions and control the supply chains and distribution, production, and manufacturing of said products tell you it’s on you to fix the problem. Use the blue bin and your issues will be better… sure thing.

But think of this: Plastics — biodegradable plastics that won’t last forever poisoning any naturally occurring land mass or body of water — have been effectively made out of soybeans, cactus, and other natural products.

Does the country require companies that use packaging to use biodegradable or at least eco-friendly materials? Nope, because it’s on you to recycle the sometimes-recyclable products they sell you. Sometimes they even put it in a green container to make you feel better, but no actual solution is presented. Why? Because it would cost more to change from poisoning you to not poisoning you.

Speaking of climate, let’s get to the inflation issue. Gas prices, am I right?

But wait, billions are profited from oil and gas, and companies are oh-so-giddy to post their earnings each quarter. Yet people can’t afford to fill up their cars. How are oil companies so profitable? Simple supply and demand and they own both.

But we no longer need gas right? Electric cars, hell hydrogen cars, have been on the market and successful for a generation. SO why haven’t we just made it so we only drive eco-friendly cars. Because it would cost more to change from poisoning the planet to not poisoning it.

I’m sure you’ve seen the increase in homelessness in your city or community, especially if you are in one of the major cities on the coasts. Whatever could be the cause of so much distress?

Well, according to our local and national talking heads, everything from opioids, to mental health issues, to wokeness is responsible for the massive amounts of people now living as transient or unhoused. Yet in the same newscast you will hear those ever-present words “housing crisis” as if a random situation fell from the sky and now we all suffer.

Countless homes sit vacant on the California coast, empty towering luxury apartments litter the New York City sky line, and single family homes are priced like palaces in middle America.

See where I’m going here? There are enough houses in America to house everyone, yet people with full-time jobs live in their cars, if they can afford one.

Once again, the control of housing systems is killing the pursuit of happiness part of the promise of America, and for those who know a little bit of history, that line used to read “the pursuit of property.”

So why don’t we just take all that empty property and put people in so they’re housed, or transfer some of it to facilities that help people with mental health issues, or addiction, and provide wrap around services for those folks? Because it would cost more to save you than to let you die.

Quite possibly the best (being facetious here, folks) part of the corporate greed that makes it all make sense is how senseless it is. If you gauge the market, and play fast and loose with everyone’s future and safety, you get a bail out. Not to mention, the ability to do it again.

Burn the world with oil and you get a few more regulations, maybe so you can do it again. It’s truly a win-win situation for companies. Price the people out of living quarters and put legal and social stigma on being evicted and all you have is investors, not tenants or property owners. Makes sense right? Of course, because who would want mansions with no one to live in them, just buy low and sell high until the end of time.

It seems bleak, but I think there is a silver lining. A very thin, barely visible, might be a dream silver lining. I saw it in Kansas recently.

It can feel like the overbearing weight of the American government and systems of control are insurmountable — that decisions outside of your control can be made your yoke and burden. But here we saw a majority in Kansas, a very red state, make a decision to go against that force and win. Now this has less corporate ties than housing and banking and climate change, but the goal was achieved. To be quite honest, it was inspiring. It can be done.

Capitalism is killing America. The America most of us know has been ravaged by corporate greed and I believe that a lot more Americans understand this.

My solution is … purpose.

We as a Black community, and more so a nation, should be purposeful with what we do and vote for now more than ever. Democracy is under threat and there will be no aid from those with wealth and power.

Elections are coming and the only way to set right that which has been corrupted by greed, is to be greedy for meaningful change. We should be focusing on what these politicians and corporate spokespeople are doing, not on what they are saying. If the words and actions match then we can move forward. If not, throw them away. It will be a hard road, a very hard road, and it will probably get worse before it gets better, but with the small victories being seen — blueprints not coincidences — there is a goal line that can be crossed.

I think New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has the best outlook. She recent put out a tweet on June 25 about the legitimacy crisis of the Supreme Court, and although that is not the specific topic of corporate greed and capitalism killing America, her point is the same.

We’re in crisis. The same ol’ same ol’ is killing us. We need to make a change now. A part of her Twitter post I feel is most relevant is where I believe we should all be politically, economically, and socially. She wrote:

“The President & Dem leaders can no longer get away with familiar tactics of “committees” and “studies” to avoid tackling our crises head-on anymore:

– Restrain judicial review

– Open clinics on federal lands

– Court expansion

– Expand Fed access/awareness of pill abortions

– etc

For the moments when we DO insist on elections, we must be PRECISE with what we need and what we will do with that power:

How many seats does the party need to Codify Roe?

Democrats must SAY THAT. Not just “go vote” or “give us $6 to win.” That is demoralizing, losing, unfocused nonsense. What’s the actual need? Which specific seats are we focused on? WHAT votes do we need & WHERE (what states + races?) And, what’s the return? What is Biden/Congress ACTUALLY willing andable to do at 52/60 seats?

Be honest. Details motivate.

So let’s wake up, everybody! What’s good, Democrats? If you don’t like what I’ve laid out here, then please present YOUR plan instead of your little “why we can’t” lists! Let’s cut the handwringing and get moving! Chop chop! No more showtunes till November unless it’s for GOTV!!”

So I’ll piggy back: Let’s wake up everybody! It’s our money, our country, our homes, our climate, our future. Let’s make sure it goes where we want it to go.