How did we got on the wrong road, how do we get on the right one?
I BELIEVE WE COULD RAISE QUITE A BUNDLE IF YOU WOULD MAKE THE FULL SIZE WALL DRAWING AVAILABLE AND/OR MAKE IT INTO A WELL SIZED POSTER (THAT CAN BE READ WITHOUT A MAGNIFYING LENS). IT IS BRILLIANT, CAPTIVATING.....I WANT IT ON ANY WALL (MAYBE ALL WALLS) IN MY HOUSE THAT ARE LARGE ENOUGH. I COULD GO ON AND ON.
I think you should post a picture of your completed wall so we can look a it more slowly.
Dear Mr. Reich,
I am in total agreement with your analysis. I would like to add specifically that Regan's cancellation of most of the regulations on banking, limits on donations to elections, and other legal tools to control the wrong doers, opened up the Pandora's box for the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Opportunists like Trump jumped in as the saviors of the poor and made it actually worse! As you pointed out not a single banker or Wall Street executive has ever gone to jail for the havoc they raised with the economy in the 2008 and 2009 fiascos, among may others.
The standard of education in primary and high schools have gradually been reduced in the last fifty years to the point that almost half of the nation is now fighting against the vaccine that could save their own lives.
It will be a tough and long battle to get America back on the right road. But, we must try when we realize that we are going in the wrong direction. Good luck!
Your final drawing in the video, "It's our choice but we have to work hard for it" is important. Too many Americans don't want to hear that message. They disparage those who have put in the work to earn graduate and professional degrees, who have become experts in their fields through years of study as "elitists." Trump's "I alone can fix it" is very appealing to many because it implies that they can just sit back and do nothing, while he will take care of them. I find it significant that, when he instructed his followers to to get vaccinated against Covid-19 (i.e. take some personal responsibility), they booed him. Reagan, the actor, was able to do so much damage, because he very effectively played the role of everyone's favorite lovable grandfather, while his administration instituted mean-spirited, pro-corporate policies. Both of them, along with Nixon and Republican officeholders around the country, exploited the racism and xenophobia that continually flow just below the surface in this country.
As a result, it seems that "bad is good enough" is now baked into our culture. Being not "socialist" Europe is more important than making ordinary people's lives easier. American exceptionalism!
I support progressive policies, but I think progressives need to improve their messaging. Take paid family leave, for example. Progressives say vaguely they want that policy because it will benefit working families. That sounds a bit patronizing and invites a Republican rejoinder that Democrats' Big Government is trying to dictate to people how to live their lives. What would be better, IMO, would be to focus first on the problem people experience: that after the arrival of a new baby, they must rush back to work, with no time to bond with the baby, and then explain how the policy would solve that problem. PBS Newshour did a report with video clips from ordinary people: Parents whose employers provided paid family leave explaining how the policy really helped them, and a small business owner saying she couldn't afford to pay employees to stay home for several weeks. Then an expert explained that the government would pay them. It's great that PBS did that report, but we need our elected officials to improve their marketing.
I think the “ big picture” needs to be made “small’ for the average person in order for it to motivate each of them (us) towards positive action. I think Bernie Sanders did that as well as anybody and, consequently, got a whole lot of Americans to support him and almost made him the one candidate who may have been able to defeat Donald Trump (and let’s not forget how close Hillary came!). So, we got Trump and he’s gone and now we need to figure out how to get the right people in the White House and Congress to make this democracy work. Here’s my list of things that need to be done, in no particular order and, to me, all equally as important:
1. Pass voting rights legislation that enables ALL Americans relatively easy access to the ballot box.
2. Reduce significantly the maximum amount of money that can be donated to a political candidate’s election campaign.
3. Create multiple pieces of legislation for the most important parts of BBB in order to enact these measures into law and mobilize the funding as soon as possible.
4. Use this same methodology in #3 for all important pieces of legislation. In other words keep it simple.
5. Democrats nominate either a more progressive candidate in 2024, such as Elizabeth Warren, or a younger, more dynamic, candidate, such as Pete Buttigieg, to lead the country through its most challenging era since the FDR years.
Overall, keep the list of priorities (compared to “today’s” list) relatively short or run the risk of losing the average citizen in the minutiae of multiple facts and details. This last point, to me, is why more and more people are turning off CNN and the rest of mainstream media and becoming more and more susceptible to gossip, innuendo, and conspiracy theories. We need to keep it simple and, not because people are stupid. Not at all! It’s because we are tired, worn out by a lengthening pandemic, constant bickering (particularly in the media), and everyday struggles to cope. And now I’m getting long-winded…so time to stop and ponder all of this.
Interested in any feedback!
That accompanying video is a wonderful (and entertaining) summary of what we allowed to happen to our society, in tiny incremental changes, just like a frog in a pot of water on the stove - not noticing the ramifications of the sum of changes until it was too late to stop them. Now, the work will be harder, but it can be done. I look forward to reading your blog. Thanks for sharing.
Robert, I am going to say the obvious just so you know I am paying attention. You are brilliant AND entertaining. WW2 united our country because we had a common enemy. It was truly the great generation. The key to letting Capitalism flourish and having a sharing economy is good tax policy not for example “stacking” and “packing” used by venture capitalist and venture capitalism. I look forward to the New Year because of your clarity and that of Heather Cox Richardson. Thank you!
Thanks for that excellent and enjoyable cartoon video. The USA has gone a long way down from the well regulated “stakeholder capitalism” of the 1940s through the 1970s, to the unregulated “shareholder capitalism “ of today. The journey back will be a long hard one. That journey will be almost impossible if we don’t turn the anger of the Trump supporters towards their real enemy, predatory capitalism. Add to that the tsunami of runaway climate change made so much worse by that predatory capitalism, and the suffering caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, also made so much worse because the drug companies don’t share the vaccine formula freely that could save millions of lives, and the journey back becomes a Herculean one.
We have two choices, give up or fight for the progressive future we want for our grandchildren (I have six). My New Year Resolution is to continue that fight!
When you start bending the rules, they eventually break. And, when you don't punish the wealthy of the rule breakers, why wouldn't they break the rules? And, then, there's the underlying evil of those that enjoy seeing people grovel before them. They enjoy seeing people suffer as long as it isn't them. The lack of consequences for businesses big and small fuels the greed of those who do rotten deeds. More to come. Great video!
The whole Western world got on the wrong road when we weakened our democracies with lax new tax laws favoring the very powerful, relaxing our fight against monopolies, and in the end letting these interests dominate the elected representatives of the citizens. We ended up looking like democracies, but not functioning like democracies. And social and economic differences multiplied.
Incredibly helpful and clarifying. As a physician it helps me see how we should frame health care for all—not as an isolated issue but part of this big picture.
Terrific video Robert! A lot of ideas and insights presented visually and succinctly. Great conversation starter and guide. Thanks!
Excellent diagram, as always, Prof. Reich! Thank you. Agree with the comments below. It would be great to distribute the diagram. I would even buy a poster format; it’s brilliant!!
As you say, we must look back at history to learn about the present time and how we got to this point. I'm embarrassed to say I never saw "It's a Wonderful Life." I know that the protagonist did what he could to help by sacrificing his livelihood for that of the common good, and then contemplated suicide before realizing what a valuable asset he was to people in his life. We could learn a lot from this film that is on my "to see" list now. I'm a Gen-X-er and so I came after the baby boomers who are the main folks on this site, I think. I had the minimum of adult supervision and am very independent. I am somewhat tech savvy and highly educated. I consider myself a great problem-solver. I grew up in the 80's and this was a super-big time full of fun and without racial difficulties as far as I remember. We continued to be a bit "separate but equal" but we were closing the gap. From your amazing drawing, or graph, we see that the structure of the economy changed from 1980-2008. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer because of lower taxes on the rich. I remember the War on Drugs, which I was led to believe at the time, was a good way to solve our drug problem in America. Throw people in prison who are addicted to crack. Cocaine was a white-collar crime. Then in 2008-2010 fraud in banks and housing was prevalent, according to your drawings. People lost homes and jobs and there was no accountability for Wall Street. Fair housing was not enforced, or there were ways around it. The game was definitely rigged for the poor and minorities. This brings us to 2016 and the horror that ensued. I was a hard-core Bernie fan. Trump somehow won with his stance against the establishment, which was exactly what Sanders was running on as well. And Hillary was right about everything. On to your last drawings: Now it is up to us to save our nation from Trumpism and the threat of losing our democracy by investing in the people again. We only have a short time to organize, mobilize, and get the word out to people to vote for Democracy. We can do this together and we must. We have one chance. There is no alternative.
I've watched this before and feel it's one of the best overviews on where we are and how we got here. Every American should watch this a few times. Kudos to Mr. Reich.
This United States is famous the world over for it's historical violence that can be measured and compared in many dimensions. We readily see it in our applied foreign policy, our high incarceration rates, our racism, our exorbitant military spending, our historical suppression of women's rights, immigration policy. The list is grows almost endless as we drill down to how we express things in our media, violent fiction, movie and tv programming, even our every day colloquial language we use ourselves.
We start reform at the molecular level, as we talk to one another in local community. We practice monitoring ourselves for how we have learned to say things to one another and how often we use shame and guilt to manipulate other's behavior.
We must start small when we think big and globally. After all, we can't change ourselves and lead buy example when we are hardly aware of how we behave in a systemically violent culture. So let's start watching our vocabulary for basic words, one at a time that paint violent cultural reality, like "fight" for instance.
Let's wish that we learn to use the word "struggle" rather than "fight" when we want to change something. We can struggle for something rather than fight for it.
Let's just pay attention to how many times we say, hear or see "fight" in our lives for January.
Let's avoid guilting ourselves when we catch ourselves saying that horrible word. To make change, we need to grow aware before we can later grow into a change we want to make in ourselves. That's where change begins; empowering ourselves to begin leading by example.
That's it that's all. First things first.