To mark the 80th Anniversary of the Great Crash of ‘29, we asked 15 progressive thinkers to write about lessons learned and what lies ahead. Together, their reflections constitute a New Agenda for America — a message of how the ideals of a fair society should apply to the economic and social policies of our time.
Wall Street, the federal government and the mainstream media tell us that things are not as bad as they seem. We hear terms like "jobless recovery", but Americans across the country can tell you that if there are no jobs, there is no recovery. The very engine that drives the U.S. economy-the American workers-is fundamentally broken.
We got here through capitalism run amok, driven by anything-goes bankers and Wall Street charlatans. After a series of burst bubbles, Wall Street got a helium injection from the largest transfer of public wealth our nation has ever seen. Too-big-to-fail banks got over by capturing the institutions and levers of government, perverting the will of the people and nullifying our democracy in the process.
We have reached an inflection point as a society. We must stand up or risk being steamrolled into a corrupt oligarchy. We must rethink capitalism. This is not about a socialist, fascist, or communist agenda. It is about confronting free market fundamentalists. It is about regulation without apology. It is about protecting people from fraud. It is about building wealth and security for American people of all backgrounds. And it is about creating transparency in our financial institutions and our democracy.
We can achieve a fair, balanced and just economic system. But we must pound on the doors of our democratic institutions to make it happen.
Braintruster Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions.