The economy's a mess.
The world economy is in the same shape.
We're a mess--and in a mess.
So what to do?
What should be done so we clean up this mess, first, and make sure it doesn't happen again?
Here are but a few of the most important ones:
1) REGULATE BUSINESS. (notice all caps, boys and girls). We need to regulate business, period--especially Big Business.
Whether they're banks or oil companies or energy markets or stock markets, what have you. For the last 8 years, no one's been at the governmental, regulatory switch, so to speak, and we absolutely need them there.
We have to keep greedy people from acting on they're desires and greed. Regulating business is how you do that.
2) Make Hedge Funds illegal. They used to be. They should still be illegal. They are "bets on bets". They were unregulated, again, for the past 8 years on top of being just sheerly stupid. They shouldn't even be allowed. Do away with Hedge Funds.
3) Make "short selling" of stocks illegal. This, too, is a "bet on a bet." Short selling is betting, literally, on a stock's rise or fall. A stock, ladies and gentlemen, is, basically, a bet that a stock's value is going to rise. To allow this short selling is to allow a bet (that the stock will rise or fall) on a bet (the stock itself).
It's stupid. It's irresponsible. It shouldn't be allowed.
It makes for wide and wild swings in the market that are dangerous to our economy and country.
Right this moment, the SEC has made short selling on 19 specific stocks illegal so it's clear we can do this.
We can do this. We should do this.
4) Regulate the energy markets.
I've written about this before.
For 78 years, up until the year 2000, we regulated the energy markets.
Then we stopped.
Since that time, our energy markets and costs have gone crazy wild. That should be enough indication right there of what we should do.
The energy that runs a country is far too important to be exposed to the greed and selfishness of Big Business, speculators and deregulation.
Even if you could disregard that people's lives are at stake--irresponsible enough, I know--then we have to take into consideration business own existence. Business can't afford the wild swings up and up that we've experienced in the last 7 years.
No, regulate the energy markets. Regulate them completely and responsibly, for everyone's concern--the individual and business.
And do it as soon as possible.
(While we're at it, Congress, why don't you look into that GM "Impact" automobile that ran 120 miles on a charge of electricity? For readers, see "Who Killed the Electric Car"--the movie. Very informative, if disheartening).
5) Take profit out of health care in the United States.
Granted, this will not happen for a long, long time--if ever--but this is what we need to do.
It's antithetical to our society and culture and that's too bad but we need to do this just as we need to do no. 4, above (regulate the energy markets).
We want and need people to be healthy, of course, not the least of which to work in our society, right? But if someone should get sick (and we all do, at one time or another, right?), we throw them to financial dogs, by letting our worship of the rich and wealthy and profits and big business instead of making health care available for all, LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD DOES).
6) We need to, as a country, stop worshiping wealth, the wealthy, business, Big Business and profit.
We really do, you know, worship wealth and the wealthy, just as we worship "things".
Can we all just accept that this is not, any longer, a good idea?
We need to fuel our society on something beyond products and items.
How many Ipods are we going to buy, for God's sake? (How many versions of that little bastard are they going to keep remaking?)
Think about it, folks. It's blind consumerism that's gotten us into this mess, in a large part.
We HAVE to stop just buying and buying and buying.
The United States has SO MUCH more retail space than any other country on the planet.
All of us--the United States and all the countries in the world--need to get off this product-driven, production-crazed treadmill. China's environment, and so, their society, will benefit from it, too. (No more melamine- or lead-laced products, for starters).
So there you are. Six easy and, I think, obvious things we ought to do for ourselves, for the planet and mankind.
Some of them I do think we'll do and that gives me hope.
Some of them we won't and that's unfortunate.
Some of them we're not even capable of--and honestly, that makes me sad.
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