Noam Chomsky: Is America Taking Its Final Breaths?

 Many philosophers, pundits and historians have ascribed the Fall of Rome to the (some believe) pending failure of America. Indeed, the fall of an empire so vast as ours seems inevitable when pitted against the facts of history. Noam Chomsky addresses this idea in a new op-ed, and shows how the country's decline seems ever more masochistic (see: the debt debate, which at times felt like cutting), while corporations see increasing power and tax breaks foisted upon their behemoth laps. A few important paragraphs:

Not even discussed is that the deficit would be eliminated if, as economist Dean Baker has shown, the dysfunctional privatized health care system in the U.S. were replaced by one similar to other industrial societies’, which have half the per capita costs and health outcomes that are comparable or better.

The financial institutions and Big Pharma are far too powerful for such options even to be considered, though the thought seems hardly Utopian. Off the agenda for similar reasons are other economically sensible options, such as a small financial transactions tax.

Meanwhile new gifts are regularly lavished on Wall Street. The House Appropriations Committee cut the budget request for the Securities and Exchange Commission, the prime barrier against financial fraud. The Consumer Protection Agency is unlikely to survive intact.

Chomsky then details the long road leading to this point, taking it back to (of course) the 1970s' capitalist "golden age" and the rise of the CEO:

Before the 2007 crash for which they were largely responsible, the new post-Golden Age financial institutions had gained startling economic power, more than tripling their share of corporate profits. After the crash, a number of economists began to inquire into their function in purely economic terms. Nobel laureate Robert Solow concludes that their general impact may be negative: “The successes probably add little or nothing to the efficiency of the real economy, while the disasters transfer wealth from taxpayers to financiers.” 

So... are we totally doomed? Read the full piece here. 

 

 

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at August 9, 2011, 4:48am

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