If Animal Farm were written today, Orwell would write it as a warning about unregulated capitalism, not Communism
When I was in high school, way back in the stone-age and before the internet; I was forced to read a book called “Animal Farm” by George Orwell. George Orwell wrote it as a warning to the world about Communism and how it corrupts. If George Orwell were to write the same book today, perhaps he would write it as a warning about unregulated capitalism and the free market.
In the book, the pigs on the farm rebelled and kicked the farmer out which paralleled events that were happening in the Soviet Union at the time. In the United States, the same sort of rebellion took place when Reagan was sworn into office. The regulations which had protected our economy since the great depression were slowly chipped away.
The farmer was slowly made powerless in the American Animal farm. As a result, wealth in America has made a massive and dramatic shift in the past thirty years. What’s worse is that the American people are generally unaware of the magnitude in the dramatic shift of America’s wealth.
This lack of awareness is confirmed in a March Pew Research Center Study. More than half (61%) of Americans said the U.S. economic system favors the wealthy, while just 35% said it’s fair to most people. A similar share (66%) of Americans said the gap between rich and poor had increased in the past five years; nearly three-quarters of respondents said the rich-poor gap was either a “very big” (47%) or “moderately big” (27%) problem.”
Emmanuel Saez, an economics professor at UC-Berkeley conducted a study regarding the wealth gap in America. According to Saez, the income disparity between the top 1% and the bottom 99% has been growing since the late 1970s. According to his data, the gap between the rich and poor in America is at levels unseen since 1928.
If we we’re to reflect on the news stories we’ve seen in recent years, the evidence of true class warfare is impossible to ignore. The recent travesties against the poor and the lack of accountability of any kind for the wealthy have been incomprehensible.
On Monday of this week, a former vice president of product development at Tiffany & Co. was sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to one year and one day in prison for stealing jewelry valued at more than $2 million from the luxury brand.
One year and one day for stealing $2.1 million in jewelry. That’s less time than you will spend deployed in Afghanistan in a four-year enlistment. Compare his sentence to Yvonne Williams who was sentenced to five years in prison a few weeks ago after she and two other women attempted to steal $800 in hair weaves from a beauty supply store in Montgomery County, Md. Maybe she should have stolen diamonds, but more than likely she should have been rich.
Last week we learned of a North Texas teen from an affluent family who was sentenced to probation after he killed four pedestrians when he lost control of his speeding pickup truck while driving drunk. Now consider where the average person would be if they had killed four people while driving drunk?
But the worse offenses are not rich individuals who can literally get away with murder. The worst offenders are both American and International corporations. Remember HSBC from March of this year? An international bank caught red handed money laundering billions for drug cartels, yet the US Justice Department refused to prosecute because “it would have a negative impact on the American economy”.
It’s been more than four years since the last American economic crash, we know there are literally thousands of documented cases where corporations and individuals acted both unethically and illegally; yet not one single person has been prosecuted. Hundreds of thousands of people lost everything, yet nobody is legally responsible.
This is only possible because of special interest lobbyist who have gotten the laws changed, regulations dropped and loopholes created so that corporations are never held legally responsible. In the real world there is no way to send a corporation to jail, and they have made sure that the fines for their illegal and unethical activities are barely a blip on their profit margins.
Yet, we have the largest prison population in the world by body count and per-capita for two reasons. Number one is the “war on drugs”. The second factor came into play in the 1980’s: For-Profit Prisons.
The Reagan Administration’s fiscal 1989 budget proposed two pilot projects. One would focus on federal prison industries, the other on private operation of federal minimum security prisons.
Here are the results of making putting Americans in prison for profit: 25% of current prisoners in the United States are non-violent drug offenders and state correctional spending now totals $52 billion a year, consuming one out of 14 general fund dollars; spending on corrections is the second fastest growth area of state budgets, following Medicaid.
I believe that George Orwell would say today that his book “Animal Farm” more accurately reflect the story of America. We began with the ideal that all men are created equal but today, some Americans are more “equal” than others. If I had Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan’s criminal record; I would be writing this from behind bars.
We live in a country where corporate accountability is, at best, an illusion. We are a nation where the rich are either not prosecuted or receive comically lenient punishment while our poor citizens are spending decades in for-profit prisons for first-time non-violent drug offenses.
Meanwhile, a man that defrauds people of $5 million gets four years in prison and has to pay $950,000 in restitution; a $4.1 million dollar profit. I wish I could make a million a year for four years while the tax payers give me a place to live, free medical care and food, don’t you? If only he had stolen a slice of pizza, he might have gotten 25 years.
These days, I wonder if George Orwell would say an unregulated free market is a greater threat to America and a truly democratic society than communism would ever be.
The only way to fix this is if “we the people” stand up and demand from our elected officials that they fulfill their promise to be OUR lobbyist. We need leaders that represent the “common man” instead of the wealthy elite. We need to elect people that will legislate our collective conscience and represent the 99%.
We collectively have the power to change America. We the people have the responsibility to take our country back from the wealthy, the corporations and the morally corrupt. Only by working together can we make this nation a better place. Frankly speaking, I’m sick and tired of being ruled by “Capitalist Pigs” who hold themselves above the laws that apply to the rest of us. It’s time to take back the farm and 2014 is the best time to start.