I am re-reading the first few chapters of Robert Reich’s new book “Saving Capitalism For the Many, Not the Few” (2015) and feel for the first time that I am coming to understand exactly what the myth of the free market is all about. I know that free market capitalism or how it plays out in the 21st century is not working for us. I also know that money in politics has been the source of a lot of our problems, exacerbated by the Supreme Court decision of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. I’m not going to go into an explanation about government and the free market as Robert Reich does it much better, except to repeat this simple yet misunderstand concept: the government decides on the rules that create the market. It seems obvious then if those with the power and money are influencing the government, then the rules are going to be defined by what those with the power and the money want. They are going to be the sort of rules that favor their interests at the expense of everybody else.
I’ve also been reading some of Joseph Stiglitz’s explanations about economic inequality and how the system we have today is perpetuating this. We have also had eight years of a largely centrist Democrat government that has done a lot of good, but has also not been able to get to the essence of what is wrong. It is also a government that has sadly pitched its exit on yet another free trade agreement which really is just another part of this awful problem that we can’t seem to get ourselves out of.
So here we are again at another election. Bernie Sanders stands for a Democrat Socialist system of government and when we look at what that means we should wonder indeed why he is not already on his way to the Democratic Convention with all the delegates and superdelegates too. This is the political revolution of which Bernie Sanders speaks – not a revolution of blood but one that stands for the following: tackling income inequality, campaign finance reform, breaking up the big banks, raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share, taxing financial speculation, expanding social security, universal healthcare, a $15 minimum wage, free tuition at public universities, a tax on carbon. Necessary policies to transform America, to reclaim our economy and democracy from the moneyed interests, the ones that insist on some mythological free market that is running the show.
But old ways and old thinking have pushed and shoved their way regardless. So here we stand wondering if the right way to govern this country and if all the right things that we should stand for will be lost if Bernie Sanders does not become the Democratic nominee. We don’t really know the answer yet and so much is at stake. But thankfully he has vowed to continue on with his campaign. I am glad that Bernie Sanders will continue “fighting for the soul of the Democratic Party”.