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Why Is Capitalism So Rotten? I love the title of this series, but it can also be entitled “Why does Capitalism Suck So Bad?”

That answer is that it sucks the capital out of local communities and sucks purchasing power from the middle class. Rather than creating prosperity for all, the oligarch's capital is used to speculate or lie dormant in the bank accounts of the ultra-wealthy and the multinational corporations which they control. Donald Trump is the darling of the ultra-wealthy oligarchs and they are the unseen insidious force behind his rise and will look the other way while he promotes Fascism.

If Donald Trump and his Fascist party win the election, the unbridled sucking of capital will be so great that we will see the implosion of capitalism as an economic system in the United States for there will be no purchasing power left in the hands of the middle class. Without middle class consumers, the system fails, possibly even crashes and the ensuing suffering will be immense. Unfortunately, even if Joseph Biden ekes out a victory, the forces of the increasing power of capitalist oligarchs and the fascism it supports will still be a clear and present danger. Capitalism is a failed system because by its very nature, its goal is to concentrate wealth. Like the game of Monopoly, the oligarchs win not by excellence, but by bankrupting everyone else.

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Thank you for the historical journey. As a nurse I remember when they changed clinical directors to MBA’s, and HMO’s came into being thinking there was no conflict of interest in making the MD also be the gatekeeper of spending. They came in and treated healthcare like running a shoe factory. I remember being in meetings where the importance of how much money the clinic was making per square foot was important. No longer was the relationship between MD and pt considered an integral component of healing. To ensure a room was never empty, double booking became the norm. If everyone showed up, patient and doctor got less time spent. I remember one conscientious mD calling patients at home latter that day to ask questions that time constraints hadn’t allowed during the visit. We had always left time slots open in doctors for sick visits. That was no gone and if a pt was ill, the doctors took turns being the urgent care MD. This meant that when you were sick and vulnerable, you could not see someone who knew your history, your personality, learning style, previous experiences, but a stranger who had 15 min to diagnose and treat your illness. Doctors were now also interchangeable fungible articles, just like patients because the main goal was making money. Benefits were taken away, there was no longer a Christmas party, no longer was paper plates, utensils, or cups provided in the lunch rooms. As nurses we used to be invited to the residents welcoming breakfast and their graduation celebration. This was deemed an unnecessary expense. A big part of why healthcare is so broken in this country, is because we no longer acknowledge the importance of the Doctor patient relationship, insurance companies, people with no medical knowledge, now dictate more and more what doctors can do. Especially primary care doctors. I used to be able to have one appointment. The doctor would do my annual exam including every system. Now, I have to go to a gynecologist for routine pap smear and breast exam. Have to go to GI for a routine rectal exam. All these can take months to get appointments. If you have problems, it can still take months to see a specialist. It is not just processed foods and. sedentary lifestyles that are causing illness, it is also the lack of a healthcare system that is available and teaching lifestyle changes. Medicare only allows you to see a nutritionist if you have diabetes or kidney disease. There is no CPt code for a doctor to bill under for discussing diet and exercise. There are very few private practices left. Most doctors a employees and are treated as such. I wish doctors would realize the change in their status and unionize not just to protect their rights, but to fight for the rights and safety of their patients. Healthcare shareholders, there should not even be such a thing. Decreased wages, decreased quality of care, and decreased services are the only way to increase shareholder profits in any service industry such as healthcare, education, and prisons, This country has put profits over people now since the 1970’s and we need to recognize it and stop it. I plan to send this to my congresspersons and ask them to do all they can to once again put people over immoral profits.

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Did anyone catch the Hypocrisy on Faux News:

I saw hi lites and that was enough BS for me!

In the Iowa Town Hall Wednesday night, Trump said under his presidency there were no new wars, and that he is the candidate of "peace through strength."

Global conflicts while Trump was President, most notably were wars in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Monthly bombing in Syria quadrupled in the first months of Trump's Presidency, and continued throughout his term.

How about when he ordered the drone strike in Baghdad in January 2020 that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and very nearly led to war with nuclear Iran. 

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Seems right in line with Bush the second ( the lesser) attempt to get social security to be abolished and to invest the Social Security money directly into the stock market; this was a very popular idea until all of a sudden the Stock Market Crashed and Bush Dropped the Idea of going into the WALL STREET CASINO . No one went to Jail for that financial fraud and we the people bailed out the Wall Street Casino to the tune of 17 Trillion dollars...

What’s next crash coming from the Hyper Housing Valluations ???

Stay Tuned .., Same Bat Channel Same bat Time !!!

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Excellent writing Mr. Reich

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Thanks for this info which most of us don't have the detail.

Today we live in a time when the Amazon rainforest is burning away, and a man whose business named "Amazon" could pay out 99% of his $170 billion to stop the burning of that massive irreplaceable ecosystem library of life.

Instead that man runs around on super yachts etc. with his fiancee, conspicuously consuming once inconceivably epic material wealth and services.

There are a few others in similar position, eg Mr Musk with some $232 BILLION could save the rainforests as well.

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My kids work for a large grocery chain. They need 30 hrs/week average to qualify for health insurance. Very few people are offered full time work and recent hour cuts have dropped most below this number of hours. They have a union and there have been strikes, but this continues. Hourly pay is OK-$16/hr and we are, thankfully, in a position to help them, but I worry for their coworkers who need to fully support themselves. Thankfully, they qualify for subsidized O'Bama Care.

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This all boils down to the rich getting richer and the rest of us can go pound sand!! Back in the 50s and 60s, life was good. I thought we were a middle class family only to learn we were really quite poor! As kids, we lived on a chicken farm with my grandma and grandpa. The walls in the house were covered over with newspaper by my mom. The thing is, I never felt poor! We had food to eat and a roof over our heads and I was happy playing with my sisters. My Uncle was a union man and I knew how strong they were just by listening to him and my grandpa talk. Unions made middle class America. They were strong and productive for the workers. When it changed and the rich began the take-overs and stripping pay from workers, people weren't happy anymore. Capitalism, to me, is rotten because quite honestly the greed of the rich have turned it into a nasty word! I certainly don't know how to turn things around. I remember co-ops, mom and pop stores, pick your own vegetables and fruit and those have almost gone away. If we had those back, we could stop spending our money at corporate stores to line the richs' pockets!! Take it back to neighbor helping neighbor and maybe things might get better.

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Thanks for your well-informed analysis, Prof. Reich, but our family needs just one typical statement by Trumplestiltskin to know why we must all be opposed to his befouling the office of the US Presidency once again. He once said that the tips that helped our hard-working daughter put herself through college and university, to the point where she's now the Manager of a Napa Valley winery, belonged not to people like her who did the actual service work in restaurants but to the owners. Need I say more? Go Joe and Kamala!

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rather like playing a game of monopoly to its inevitable conclusion, eh?

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Yes Robert. America is an Oligarchy. And successive presidents of both Republican and Democrat have supported it. Time to stop simping for the Democrats and consider an alternative to these two oligarchical parties.

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The reason the Middle Classes became not only richer but also much more inclusive from the 1920's, and then became poorer from 1973, and are now shrinking in numbers, is very simple - fossil fuels. Almost free domestic fossil fuels "falling out of the ground" provided the means of very cheap production and large surplus profits that could be widely distributed, creating a new Middle Class of people who would never have considered themselves to be other than blue collar just one generation before.

That reversed in 1973 with the Arab hike in oil prices, and that transferred the profits from manufacturers to fossil fuel extractors, like Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Then the situation became worse and worse as fossil fuels became harder to find to meet increasing demand.

Each 100 units of energy extracted now take between 70 and 95 units of energy to extract, process and get to market. Think tar sands, Artic oil, very deep water oil and fracking. There is little profit to distribute, and many in the Middle Classes are getting poorer in real terms. Many are falling out of that classification altogether, even if they haven't adjusted their self-image yet.

This is both the attraction, and the underlying lie of "make America great again". That time of home-grown wealth and widespread prosperity has gone. The 1% own almost everything of real value, and another 10% are rich and content for their lifetime. If you are amongst the rest, then you already know that your real access to wealth, and the privilèges that gave you, are declining year on year.

America has been a short-lived empire, and inevitably there will be many, many angry people who feel they have been cheated, or misled, or disenfranchised of The American Dream. But there is no going back, economically speaking. It is what it is - get used to it.

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In the 70s, my husband and I were in school in Ann Arbor, Michigan...and we'd go north to visit family for summer weekends on the water. On I-75, we'd be dodging shiny new GM and Ford trucks hauling ski-boats, and inside the trucks were middle-class families living the dream. The virtuous cycle of production/consumption was on full display and the participants were hard-working Americans, with little or no college education. Our economic growth was real, the benefits reached far and wide, and the results were not engineered.

The (almost total) demise of unions, the linkage of CEO compensation to share prices, the quarterly reporting of earnings, and the rise of the M & A (merger and acquisition) industry have all played significant roles in the destruction of the American middle class, in addition to those listed by Robert today. I've been an active participant in the financial industry since 1981 and there's lots to be fixed, but we'll need some bright minds, and open hearts to do it.

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I'd be very interested in your view of the role business schools have played. My understanding is that before the 80s they had business ethics courses and taught students about business' role in serving the public interest. I believe that started to change under Ronald's presidency. I'd love to know more about that.

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The idea that the bosses earn hundreds of times more than the workers is vile and unjustified

by any argument. Both communism and capitalism, taken to extremes (as they are in Russia and the West) are evil.

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I really liked the information. I am 70, so yes, I lived through all of this but of course, no information about why. I have noticed for about 40 years that the big money people do more to make them richer and we just worked "afraid" of losing our job. I worked (I'm an RN) at the biggest hospital in Central Oregon and one year in 2006 that the CEO (which what did they do)? And the info got spread that he gave himself a "Bonus" of $200,000 well the "share" people had him fired but did they demand he give that money back (No)? And some Presidents encourage rich to get richer. The rich pay Congress to be on their side, and now it is clear that many Congress lovably take the money and do what the rich want, and many of those don't do any job but scream, get in your face. Right now it is worst in the Repub side, MAGA extreme cult group.

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