I watched the solemn funeral for President George Herbert Walker Bush on national television. It was on all the major networks. The National Cathedral was a beautiful location for the funeral and I heard the bell toll 45 times. I didn’t tune in for all of it but I heard Senator Alan Simpson’s eulogy which was marvelously delivered in a heartfelt way that both elevated and humanized the ceremonies. The eulogy was personal and offered insights into the President’s private circle of friends. I observed respectful attitudes among funeral attendees. Afterward, I listened to commentary that claimed that President G. H. W. Bush lived during a more gracious time in our history–a time that we may now long for.
I have to disagree with that assessment. I remember the struggles of that president and of all the presidents that have served our nation over my lifespan. Since I became a voter in 1982, our political decisions have never been a success. I remember conversations I heard about the Kennedy assassination. I remember the catastrophic Vietnam era. I remember the Nixon disappointments. American Presidents have never sailed by on the winds of change with grace and fortitude, secure in the belief that their efforts would win a better day for our America. In fact, although President George Herbert Walker Bush achieved personal victories, he failed to achieve progress for our nation. We now languish in doubt about what to do during the age of neoliberal bickering and strife. It is an age that has failed to deliver the prosperity it once hoped for.
As I looked in the faces of President Carter, President G.W. Bush, President Clinton, President Obama and President Trump, I felt them all under siege in a politically failing United States. Why failing? Because neoliberalism is collectivism and collectivism encourages corruption that undermines each person’s ability to achieve. However great each person’s effort, neoliberalism undermines long-term achievement and shrinks it down to almost nothing. Much struggle, little accomplishment. As America marches from Democrat to Republican to Democrat to Republican Administrations, each undermines the next but continues on in failing neoliberal programs. Neoliberalism comes with financialization and globalization and we find these systems are all three failing us. They fail to create a secure future. They waste the talents of individuals. Corruption undermines our success and capital eclipses wealth. Too bad. It’s time to change and turn towards what might work better for the nation. It’s time to turn away from corruption that elevates capital and undermines accomplishment.
As much reverence as we’ve heard about President George Herbert Walker Bush, I have to say that his worthy military service may have taught him to be a follower of systems instead of a leader that innovates a system. I’m glad that President Trump isn’t just a follower. If he were, I don’t think he would have been elected. But President Trump can’t change everything all at once. President Trump is trying to rebalance trade. If Americans knew more about economic history they would know to value this. President George Herbert Walker Bush studied economics, but he didn’t try to innovate the nation’s economy. Rebalancing trade may help us to recover some economic health. But even if President Trump succeeds at rebalancing trade, he would make better progress if neoliberalism ended. That is, if state sponsored corporatism ended.
Also, banks should be regulated and bank deregulation should end. That would end the financial harms of hot money and borderless banking. Banks should be smaller so that their failure doesn’t menace the nation. Glass Steagall could be restored to separate commercial and investment banking. Monetary and fiscal policy could acquire greater discipline. Clinton era strategies to stymie regulation and regulatory agencies could end. Corrupt Washington could reform. Anti-trust legislation could be enforced. We have seen alarm in Washington D.C. at President Trump’s election because it has endangered corrupt opportunities and might end non-prosecution for crimes committed against our nation. I hope that crony protections against political crimes ends soon.
The nuclear age scared us into a neoliberal system and it hasn’t worked out. We were trying to protect the world from a nuclear holocaust and even if we did that from 1945 until the present-day, it isn’t enough. Neoliberalism can’t work for America because it is un-American. It also can’t deliver the world into peace and prosperity even though that was the goal. If you want to learn more about the history of ideological change during our nation’s evolution, buy a copy of Political Catsup with Economy Fries on sale at Amazon.com.