Tuesday, April 24 , 2018, 11:51 pm | Overcast 54º


Randy Alcorn: The Forces of Greed and the Grand Illusion

There are forces in this country that want us to believe that all politics and economics are about liberal or conservative abstractions — that all problems are caused by one or the other, and that all solutions can be provided by one or the other.

The more Americans who can be enlisted into one of these two mutually exclusive, absolutist camps, the more pervasive the incendiary ideological warfare between them.

The forces of greed thrive as each side is so busy being right and bashing the other for being wrong that neither notices that their nation, their wealth and their future are being stolen.

Like voracious parasites, the forces of greed have infested all of our institutions and are feeding off of them with ravenous abandon. Higher education, health care, charity, government and even some churches have largely become profit centers enriching the select few, e.g. administrators, politicians, pecuniary preachers and public employee unions.

Meanwhile, for-profit corporations strip-mine the economy to enrich management first, shareholders second, while reducing labor to serf status and treating customers like patsies.

American capitalism has degenerated into irresponsibly myopic avarice with narcissistic, conniving management focused on immediate personal enrichment, with little or no concern for the longer-term health of the companies they manage or for the welfare of employees, customers or even shareholders.

The forces of greed thrive within the grand illusion of representative democracy that pretends a vote for one of the duopoly will really make a difference.

Notice that the forces of greed contribute to the candidates of both political parties. They don’t care so much which candidate wins because they have purchased all of them.

Whichever camp controls government, the plundering continues. Purchased politicians create the illusion that government regulation protects the public from pernicious greed, but the reality is that regulation has been captured by those being regulated.

Notice that the Wall Street banks that shamelessly swindled clients and caused the Great Recession not only went largely unpunished, but also were allowed to participate in drafting the very regulations intended to prevent their further misconduct.

Notice that the appointed regulatory watchdogs are frequently former executives of the very industries they are supposed to be keeping an eye on.

A glaring example of regulatory capture by the forces of greed is illegal immigration. If we are indeed a nation of laws with regulation intended to protect the public and promote the general welfare, how has illegal immigration managed to go unaddressed for more than 30 years now?

During that time, both conservatives and liberals have held the reins of government, but neither has done much to stop illegal immigration. Practical solutions are known and available, yet they go unimplemented. Why?

In spite of the wishes of most Americans to stop illegal immigration, the forces of greed have effectively stymied efforts to do so. A number of American industries have become accustomed to low-cost foreign labor and won’t easily be weaned from it.

Additionally, the burgeoning population of illegal aliens, along with their children born here, has become a significant political lobby that career politicians do not want to offend.

Although the majority of Americans oppose giving taxpayer-funded benefits to illegal immigrants, state and local governments do so anyway. We the people don’t get to have it our way if certain special interests want something else.

The forces of greed with their purchased politicians, aided and abetted by various pro-immigration groups, encourage illegal immigration by providing illegal immigrants with a cornucopia of taxpayer-funded benefits, legal privileges and even protection from the law — sanctuary cities.

This corrosive coalition promotes the canard that the nation’s economy will suffer without a constant influx of millions of immigrants, and that it is somehow immoral and unjust to evict those already here or prevent more from coming in.

There is only one thing that can defeat the forces of greed, and that is a determined, unified public willing to see past the illusions, ignore the ideological distractions, and demand real solutions, regardless of whether the solutions are labeled as liberal or conservative, socialist or capitalist, dog or cat. What matters is what works.

What is plaguing this country is that consideration of nearly all important issues has been reduced to ideological simplicities sold as ultimate truths to an intellectually lazy citizenry.

If more Americans can sober up from their ideological stupors, clear their heads and begin thinking objectively, we might make some progress as a nation.

— Randy Alcorn is a Santa Barbara political observer. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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