Robert Reich on AFTERSHOCK

 

Our politics follows from our economics, and vice versa.

 

If people are angry, and frustrated, and worried about their jobs.  If they feel they are not getting ahead.  And if they feel that the dice are loaded against them.

 

That somehow the economy is, is fixed.  Ah that government and business are in cahoots.

 

That’s when you ignite the kind of social change that could be very progressive, and very reform minded.  But could also very reactionary.

 

Ah look at the anger against immigrants.  Against undocumented workers in this country.

 

Ah we have fewer undocumented workers today than we have 5 years ago.  And yet we are seeing this upsurge of legislation.

 

Highly punitive legislation against people.  Simply because ah… they are immigrants.

 

What, what’s going on here?  Well a lot of this.  Not all of it.  But a lot of it has related to economic fear.

 

Economic anxiety.  Ah and the… cynical use of that.  By people who simply want to gain prominence with power.

 

The ideas in the book Aftershock.  They’re not out of the mainstream.  They’re not right wing or left wing.

 

They are doable.  They are practical ideas.  They are kind of ideas that we in the United States have the capacity to adopt.

 

If we just get out of our ideological fixations.  That somehow ah the market is… ah the only way to go.

 

The government is evil.  Or that there is not inevitably a complete mix between the private and public sector already.

 

Put the labels aside and just think practically.  How can we get more money into peoples pockets?

 

So the can turn around and be consumers in the short term.  And over the long term.  How can we make them more valuable?  So they can justifiably earn more money.

 

I’m very optimistic about the future.  I’m a student of American history.  And I know that every time we really come up against a crisis.  A rich challenge to our moral fiber.

 

We roll up our sleeves and get on what has to be done.  We put ideology aside.  We don’t call ourselves Liberals or Conservatives, or Fascist or Socialist, or Communist.

 

We don’t get into name calling.  We just get very pragmatic and we do what needs to be done.

 

We did that in the Great Depression.  We did that in the Second World War.  We did that in the struggles over Civil Rights and Voting Rights.  We did that in the Vietnam War.  We did that again and again.  And we are going to do it again.

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