Friday, August 22, 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

No easy task: History buffs still trying to save building

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
DHS musicians back from summer in Italy

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
City to overhaul its sprinkler heads, other water-wasters

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Russian aid convoy reaches war-torn Luhansk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Davis indecent-exposure suspect pleads no contest

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Not-guilty plea entered in Woodland homicide case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
 
Parents’ Night Out features Vacation Bible School

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Afternoon tours of city wetlands resume Sept. 6

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

 
Yolo County golf tournament enters fourth year

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Putah Creek Council appoints new executive director

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A3

Communitywide ice bucket challenge on Sunday

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Prunes take center stage at last agri-tour of the summer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
In need of food? Apply for CalFresh

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Can you give them a home?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Saylor will meet constituents at Peet’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Event will unveil mural celebrating food justice

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Writing couple stops at Davis bookstore

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Explorit: Final Blast show returns for second year

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A5

 
Wolk bill would require reporting of water system leaks

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Record drought saps California honey production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
World travelers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Seniors set to stroll through Arboretum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

Weightlifters causing a racket

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

No support for militarization

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
A better use for this vehicle

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Police are our friends, right?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Wage plan has a big flaw

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Bridging the digital divide with computational thinking

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
.

Sports

 
Watney and McIlroy struggle at start of The Barclays

By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B1

Light-hitting Cats fall

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Giants win nightcap in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Watts likes what he’s seen in keen Aggie DB competition

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Big West soccer coaches have high hopes for UCD men

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

 
Davis Chinese Film Festival to kick off with 1994 favorite

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Rock Band campers perform at E Street Plaza

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Natsoulas to host mural conference

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

Yolo Mambo to play free show

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
‘If I Stay’: Existential angst

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

.

Business

Car Care: Teenagers not driving safe cars, study shows

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Car Care: Feeling the summer heat? Your car battery is too

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Three-wheeled Elio gets closer to going on sale

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, August 22, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6