A short video by Robert Reich lasting just 2 minutes 35 seconds landed in my news feed on Facebook a few days ago. For all I know it may have been around for months, but that’s irrelevant. The message is what is important.
Reich was US Secretary for Labor, from 1993-1997 under the presidency of Bill Clinton and besides now being Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at Goldman School of Public Policy at University of California, Berkley, he is also an outspoken political commentator.
The short video he has posted on Facebook debunks 3 myths about economics:
Myth No.1. Job Creators are the Corporations and the Rich.
Myth No.2. Free Market and Government are Separate.
Myth no. 3. We should worry about the size of Government.
Myth no. 1. Job creators are the CEOs, Corporations and the Rich. Reich’s response to this: Rubbish! The real job creators are the middle class and the poor who actually spend their money buying the essential goods produced by manufacturers and importers.
Therefore, raising wages and reducing middle class taxes will generate demand and create more jobs. Contrast this with the Turnbull government who would have it the other way; keeping wages low, raising more taxes and limiting the amount of money people have to spend.
Myth No. 2. The critical choice is between the Free Market and Government. Reich’s response: Baloney! In Reich’s own words, “The government creates the free market.” It passes the laws, frames the regulations and oversees the market through its agencies and courts. Who decides the manner of contracts? Who protects the value of the currency?
All the decisions about how the free market operates are controlled by government; the laws governing manufacture, distribution, transport, patents, quality control, work practices, advertising, everything associated with free market operations starts with government.
The next time you hear someone say, “the government should get out of the market and let the laws of supply and demand rule,” you will know it is a ridiculous statement. Without government regulations, workers would be at the mercy of unscrupulous corporations and so would consumers.
Myth No. 3. We should worry about the size of government. Reich’s response,
“Wrong! We should worry about who government is for.”
So often, when the media presents what sounds like a valid assertion about the importance of corporate influence in our lives, we accept their view and take it as fact without a discussion about how, and by whom, that assertion was determined. That is, we don’t know who decides what we hear and the circumstances that govern what we hear.
Reich says, “Right now the game is rigged and it can only become unrigged if we know the truth and join with others and demand that the government works for the many, not for the few.”
2016 is an election year. When we vote we exercise our power. When the election is over we have surrendered our power for another 3 years. When corporate money flows into the coffers of political parties, it is impossible for government not to be biased toward those at the top.
Corporate money does not have a three year cycle. It is constant and is delivered when they want something. The recent campaign for a review of Sunday penalty rates began mid-term and you can be sure that was not a coincidence.
It’s our country, it’s our government. It’s high time we started acting like we understood what that meant.