It has been said that he who ignores history is doomed to repeat it. This is the most important lesson we can learn in the context of our current presidential election. A review of America in the early 20th century is very instructive.
We need to remember the glorious days of the robber barrens and the banking tycoons. A time when there was no regulation to get in the way of profits and no unions to slow the captains of industry from their divine destiny. It was a time when politicians served business and Washington was not allowed to become an impediment to progress. These were dizzying times of wealth for the lucky few. We were primarily still an agrarian society when one bad harvest could cause a family to go into abject poverty, with no government safeguards or safety net to turn to. Then came the Great Depression. It was a total financial collapse. Unemployment and poverty became the norm. Most relevant, it is important to remember that to those in power preceding this collapse, government involvement in business, healthcare, education or regulation was unacceptable. Low taxes for the wealthy and corporations, small government and no regulation was the vision of the powerful. Sound familiar.
The Romney campaign and the Tea Party have made it clear that they believe that government needs to get out of the way and reduce taxes to the wealthiest for this country to get back on its feet. Of course in this vision the middle class becomes the feet on which the wealthy ride into increased success. The history of the early part of the last century and even more recently the eight years of the Bush Presidency should provide enough information for us to be concerned about the Romney prescription for our future.
There is no doubt that a Republican victory in the fall will lead to a wonderful future for the wealthy while leaving the middle class behind. The banking system will create instruments again through which the rich will win regardless of what happens to the housing market. Our air, water, roads and healthcare will suffer. Education will continue to lag behind other countries and we will again find ourselves fighting wars that are unnecessary, But after all they are good for industry and will give reason to grow the Pentagon budget. If you liked the Bush years, you will love the Romney years. The Romney campaign is calling for change, but change is not always good.
The recent choice of Ryan as his running mate should be a big warning light for all of us. Ryan, a life long devotee of the Ayn Rand vision of society, was chosen to keep conservatives connected and will in turn keep Romney’s feet to the conservative fire. If your vision for America differs from the Romney/Ryan vision, it is time to open your eyes and remember what history has taught us.