My Voice

About the author

Norm Cimon has lived in La Grande for more than 30 years. He is a systems analyst who has worked for the EPA, the U.S. Forest Service and for private industry.

My Voice columns reflect the views of the author only. My Voice columns should be 500-700 words. Submissions should include a portrait-type photograph of the author. Authors also should include their full name, age, occupation and relevant organizational memberships. We edit submissions for brevity, grammar, taste and legal reasons. We reject those published elsewhere. Send columns to La Grande Observer, 1406 5th St., La Grande, Ore., 97850, fax them to 541-963-7804 or email them to news@lagrandeobserver.com .

This is something I’ve written about in this newspaper for the last few years, but it needs to be said again. After the collapse of the economy in 2007, thanks to an orgy of bank deregulation, the country lost eight million jobs.

The relief program put in place at the end of the Bush administration — signed off on by both parties and implemented by the Obama administration — started us on the road to recovery.

There was also $17 trillion in free money to re-float banks that had been foolish enough to bet on a pile of worthless housing loans, but that’s another story. That recovery picked up steam from 2011 to 2017 with two million jobs created every year according to Forbes, until we finally had all those lost jobs back. The one million added this year are just the end-game for that recovery, with wages finally rising as the job market tightens.

What has the response from Congress been to this near-death experience? House and Senate leadership just passed bank deregulation once again. That means your deposits and your retirement can end up on that same gambling table.

They also pushed through enormous tax breaks for large corporations and the wealthy, which none of them need. Those tax breaks are flooding the economy with what conservative commentator Kevin Phillips calls bad money. That money is getting channeled into an economy stuffed with cash and into corporate accounts that were already overflowing.

It burns holes in those pockets and it sends investors and companies searching for assets, someplace to sink all those dollars. That does nothing but stoke the bubble machine. As one important example, it makes housing and rentals in cities less affordable for young couples, wildly inflating that marketplace.

The Federal Reserve has put everyone on notice that it’s a recipe for disaster and they’re going to close the spigot and stop the free-for-all.

That much money leads to reckless bets at the Wall Street casino. The result is always the same: overvalued assets collapse and taxpayers have to pick up the pieces. It won’t be any different this time. Overheat the economy and all that loose cash gets tied up leveraging ever larger loans to buy more of those assets.

All the happy talk about growth thanks to the tax break ignores what comes next. When those investments don’t pan out, the loans still come due — and that’s when the downward spiral gathers steam.

There’s more to this con game. Contrary to everything we were told was bad for us by the very same people who passed that tax bill, the giveaway has sent the federal deficit into the stratosphere. It seems all that hot air was nothing more than a cynical excuse to point to those deficits and demand cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Paul Ryan even said it out loud. That’s been the plan all along.

Politicians know all this, but they cynically ignore it, expecting you to forget what they’ve done. They’d like you to help them celebrate their lavish gifts to those who need that money the least, even as they plan to cut essential programs to subsidize the wealthy. And those tax breaks? They’ll still be stuffing those wallets long after the middle class on down is paying more. That’s the way the bill was written.

Once again, it’s socialism for the rich. No one should be surprised that voices are rising up demanding socialism for everyone else. For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. We are there.

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