Does capitalism work?

In the United States, one of the world’s wealthiest nations, 41 million people are living in poverty.

Of the 41 million people living in poverty in the U.S., “nine million have zero cash income—they do not receive a cent in sustenance.”

While 41 million people, US citizens, are poverty stricken, what does this president and Congress do? . . . pass a new tax bill that will transfer billions of dollars from the poor and working class to the richest Americans.

So, when we ask, “Does capitalism work?” the answer is it definitely does. But, not for you and me or the 90% who must work to earn a living. It is the perfect system for those few who run this country . . . the elite, the ruling class, the corporate CEOs . . . those who control the country’s economic and political policies, control those who make the laws, control those who are the implementers of the law (the police, the lawyers, the judges, etc., and, of course, control those who make military policies and decisions.

Under a system of capitalism, where do we the people fit in? We are the pawns to be exploited and used and then discarded when we are no longer of use to the ruling class. It is we who are used to implement the agenda of the rulers; it is we and/or our children who are sent to fight, kill or die in their imperialistic wars, not to protect us from any threat but to ensure that the elite continue to have access to the valuable resources that are located in other countries; it is we who must sacrifice our social programs, our safety net, so that the rich can get richer.

And still, millions of us equate capitalism with freedom and socialism, a system that empowers the people, as oppressive.

Exactly what freedoms are we allowed under capitalism? The freedom to poison our waters and pollute the air we breathe; the freedom to go hungry; the freedom to be homeless; the freedom to go without medical care or prescription drugs; the freedom to send our children to underfunded, poorly equipped schools. There are other freedoms that we have been granted by the capitalist system but I think I’ve made my point.

In the 1940s, Woodie Guthrie wrote the following:

This land is your land, this land is my land
From the California to the New York island
From the Redwood Forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me
As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
And saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me

This is the first stanza of his famous and popular song, “This Land is Your Land.”

However, the harsh reality is that this land does not belong to you and me. We have been rendered impotent. I think it’s time to take back this land from Wall Street, the CEOs and landlords and make it ours.

That would make America great again.

Dave Alpert has masters degrees in social work, educational administration, and psychology. He spent his career working with troubled inner city adolescents.

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