Sunday, December 28, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Just Us in Davis: The 99% is too big to fail

Untitled-1

By
From page A11 | September 23, 2012 |

By Jonathan London

The well-worn description of the publicly traded mega-banks as “too big to fail” has taken on a new dimension in this election season. As was eloquently articulated by first lady Michelle Obama, Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and others at the Democratic National Convention earlier this month, it is the embattled working class of this country — the 99 percent — that is too big to fail.

Those who make up the 99 percent extend their hands every day to power our factories; tend our fields and forests; drive our buses, trucks and trains; protect our homes, streets and shores; heal our wounds; open the minds of our children.

The question of this election is: Will America join hands to ensure that everyone has the opportunities needed to build a decent life for themselves, their families and their communities? Or, will America give the back of its hand to the residents of Main Street and shower its rewards on Wall Street?

As revealed in the documentary “Inside Job” (http://goo.gl/fF6Cx), what made banks fail was not simply size, but the stripping away of generations of common-sense regulation of the financial sector. (Spoiler alert: Much of this deregulation occurred under Democrat Bill Clinton and his team of free-market advisers.) This allowed for a kind of casino capitalism, where the bank executives, boards and politicians cashed out and, in turn, produced the largest economic crash since the great Depression.

While Wall Street was largely bailed out — with Barack Obama doubling down on George W. Bush’s policies — this crash hit Main Street hard, with millions of people losing their jobs, homes and hope.

Standing up to the might of United States and the global financial system is undeniably daunting, but it is not impossible. As I mentioned in last month’s column, there is an exciting grassroots movement building to shift individual and small business accounts to credit unions, cooperatives and banks whose business model turns on investing in their local communities, not spinning the high-stakes wheel of fortune. The Sacramento region has many of these Main Street-focused credit unions (http://goo.gl/TpVEe) and community banks (http://goo.gl/YcnoZ).

The question of whose hands and wallets steer the country runs through the presidential race with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan representing a country where corporations are people while real people are denied our basic human rights based on gender, race, sexuality or income. While Obama has too often shied away from leading bold changes to our inequitable economy, his vision of an America where everyone pays their fair share and gets a fair deal does offer some hope.

Here in California, this same question is at the heart of the battle over Proposition 32, the so-called “Paycheck Protection Initiative” that would severely limit the ability of labor unions to represent the interests of working people in electoral politics while leaving corporate donations largely unregulated. This is because, unlike unions who apply member dues drawn from paychecks toward political action, corporations draw on their own business profits and donations from executives to amplify their political speech.

If Proposition 32 passes, it will further tilt a playing field that already was upended by the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that corporations were “people” with free speech rights to nearly unlimited and undisclosed political spending.

While each has their flaws, the two California ballot measures to raise taxes, Proposition 30 and Proposition 38, both seek to bolster state funding for education and other vital functions by asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share. If neither of these measures passes, the state will be forced into the cruelest cuts — sacrificing the welfare of our future generations. This will hit all of us: those with children in public schools and higher education, those who will depend on the next generation to become the workers, taxpayers, parents, voters of tomorrow.

Yes, Davis can pass local tax measures to keep our island of prosperity above the rising tides of misery, but how long before the levies of Measure A, B, C … Z begin to fail? We need collective action to support sustainable state revenues and programs that will lift up all communities.

The political right in California and nationally claims the problems we face can be solved by further reducing taxes and freeing corporations from government regulation. We have reaped the whirlwind of this model and it has brought nothing but pain for the majority of Americans while driving a deeper and more destructive wedge of inequality through the heart of the country.

An economy that hollows out its middle class by rewarding off-shoring American jobs, promoting a wild west of unregulated industries, restricting the power of unions to represent workers’ rights, and slicing through the social safety net is a recipe for a more perfect union. It is a recipe for disaster for the country, for California, for Davis.

It may not represent a heroic change from this downward slide, but the vision described by Michelle Obama (and her husband) of an America where everyday people have the opportunities to build a decent life is one worth fighting for.

— Jonathan London, Ph.D., is a Davis resident and parent. He shares this monthly column with Jann Murray-García. Reach him at jklondon40@gmail.com

Comments

comments

Jonathan London

.

News

 
 
Yolo makes hydrogen connection

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

NYC officer mourned at funeral as tensions linger

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
N. Korea uses racial slur against Obama over hack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

AirAsia plane with 162 aboard missing in Indonesia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Sacramento man convicted for 2011 bar shooting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Drugs, stolen car lead to women’s arrests

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Nominate teens for Golden Heart awards

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

USA Weekend calls it quits

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Supplies collected for victims of abuse

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sweet success: Cancer Center helps young patient celebrate end of treatment

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Reserve tickets soon for Chamber’s Installation Gala

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Holiday hours continue at The Enterprise

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Covell Gardens hosts New Year’s Eve dance

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

UC Davis debate team wins national championship

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Portuguese breakfast set for Jan. 25

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

At the Pond: It all started with kayaking on Putah Creek

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Find the first cabbage white butterfly, and win a pitcher

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Does pre-eclampsia raise autism risk?

By Phyllis Brown | From Page: A6

 
Long will talk about value of hedgerows for adjacent farms

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
It’s a wonderful life — and a wonderful state

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

College sees benefits in loan guarantees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Tickets for New Year’s Eve party going fast

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

.

Forum

This cat is on life No. 7

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B4

 
 
It was a busy, black-eye year for disease control

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Say thanks to the caregivers

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Rifkin’s statement is offensive

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Bombing is not the answer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
Just Us in Davis: Despair and hope for the new year

By Jonathan London | From Page: A10

Commission’s list needs vetting

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Writer’s arguments fall flat

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A11

Cuba policy changes highlight a momentous opportunity

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Sports

DHS boys get good film in tournament loss

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Sacramento survives Knicks in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Kings cruise past Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Lady Blue Devils top Tigers to reach Ram Jam title game

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Sports briefs: Republic FC to host camp series

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
College bowl roundup: Sun Bowl goes to the Sun Devils

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Kaiser’s trauma center in Vacaville earns verification

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Rob White: Davis tech community is growing

By Rob White | From Page: A9

Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

 
First Northern adds Peyret to agribusiness loan team

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Obituaries

Ruth Allen Barr

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Charles ‘Bud’ Meyer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, December 28, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8