(noun, etymology Dutch from ‘boedel’: estate, possession, inheritance, stock.). 1. Crowd, pack, lot, as in ‘the whole boodle.’ 2. a. Counterfeit money b. Money acquired or spent illegally or improperly, particularly when used in bribery for political purposes. 3. Slang for money in general.

Autopsy: The Death of You (Along With the Death of Meliorism*)

Posted on: Jul. 22, 2014  |  By: Ronnie Kahn  |  Category: Advice, General

The Individual is dead. Top money was paid to put out the mother of all hits.  I kinda liked you too. Why did it happen? Should we hire a detective to find out why you are dead? It might make as much sense as you performing an autopsy on yourself. Time of death: thirty years ago. That is the last time when someone had a fair chance. In an age of constant connection, we are all left in isolation. We used to be motivated to get good jobs, think the world could progress by an individual making a difference. *Meliorism is one of those S.A.T. type words that mean that things can keep getting better as we go. That is what made capitalism click. Yet, now we all know the fix is in and the game is rigged in a great thirty year swindle. Sometimes it is a sly hoodwink and then it’s a great bamboozle. You coulda been somebody, back when ya had a chance, you coulda been a contender.

If you think that markets are free to do what they want if government just stays out of the way, then you are living a lie-bertarian dream reality. That is a convenient narrative but flies in the face of how things work. Rules create the winners and losers of our economy and those rules, since about 1980, are stacked by political means to favor the few and not the many.   The individual used to have a say, have a vote, and make a difference.   Now, the individual’s only choice is what they spend the few dollars they earn on, assuming that this individual has a job and if that person even has enough to buy or save. It wasn’t always like this and it doesn’t have to be like this. In a democracy, one person, one vote, in most of today country’s oligarchies, one person, one fool. In an oligarchy, rules rule and everyone else drools.

Rules used to be made to watch over financial institutions, rules or lack of rules oversee executive compensation, labor unions, capital accumulation, payroll taxes, income taxes, and political rules around campaign contributions and maintaining gridlock. Those rules contribute more to income inequality than such things as globalization, technological advances, and worker skills. We can call our system welfare for the rich. One man may have one vote but one dollar does not translate to one dollar of power concentration. Rules will steer things one way or another and we can steer toward the greater number and the greater good or toward the few and those already at the top. There will be redistribution of wealth in any way a system is structured and everyone has been put at a disadvantage, including the upper classes, in favor of a scant few. This is all common knowledge but no one can seem to do anything about it.

How do you create winners and losers by the rules and laws that are made? If you gear the rules to lower the capital gains tax, you create winners from those at the top who accumulate capital and investments. If you increase payroll taxes, the sting comes out of those at the bottom and not the top. In addition, through lobbying, you can insert one line here and one line there in a law that creates specific rules that benefit a specific company or industry. You create subsidies and loopholes that are well-hidden. If anything potentially does go against your interests, you can block change by a senate filibuster system that highjacks change by a small minority. The irony is that those who are in the majority get blamed for being hapless and not doing anything.

So who killed off the individual? Organized groups with money, that is who. Unless you are willing to personally hire a lobbyist, you will easily lose out to business groups and lobbying organizations. What do these well-healed groups do? They influence the rules while Main Street has to sit back and just complain that no one gives a crap about them anymore. Those complaints are not just about griping, they are about a democracy in name only which is now ruled by the oligarchic prosperous and thriving few. Those organizations with money that used to worry about what opinion everyone holds and try to influence public support for their issues have come to realize that it is just a lot easier to find and back politicians who will hold those positions they favor and be indebted to them for their campaign contributions. Not only did they kill off the individual, they also killed off other organizations by changing the rules and limiting the effectiveness of federations that work for change and progress and labor unions that are now impotent.

While these groups have always had some advantage, they now hold way more power and sway than ever. Checks and balances on concentrated economic power have been removed by decimated unions, disenfranchised voters, boards of directors without independence, and politicians caring more about campaign contributions than issues.   Future prosperity from the individual being killed off means social investments are off the table. The average person must pay protection while the elite power mafia grabs what it can meaning things like education, health care costs and quality, energy independence, infrastructure are thrown in the values pit.

Voters are no match for organizations with lobbyists, subsidies, and loopholes behind them. Everyone is playing a game of Chutes and Ladders where the superrich have access to the ladders and everyone else’s chances are exposed only to the chutes.  Add to that lopsidedness, corporate money from the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United is speech on steroids.

Can you unkill the individual? It would be like an alcoholic that needs to hit rock bottom and fix themselves in the sense that politicians are the ones that need to be responsible to fix the politics by coming to the understanding that this can only go on for a limited time before it all implodes. Can we wake the dead? Somehow organizations and voters must stand up to those representing the upper echelon that blocks any chance for reform. That means a much wider participation from those that are anesthetized from gridlock and know they have no voice. It would take each of us to encourage others to stop what they are doing and organize. It would then take those organized groups whose purpose is to counterbalance the few for the voice of the many and watch over the government who is not watching over anything but its own survival. This is not just a David versus Goliath story but is a Goliath that is not only strong but cheats too.  Perhaps this is why vampires and the walking dead are so popular since everyone can relate to living a life well-dead.

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