How Wall Street Turned America Into Incarceration Nation
Transforming poorer neighborhoods into desirable real estate for the new elites often requires getting rid of the poor: jail becomes the new home for many.
November 25, 2013 | The U.S. leads the world in prisoners with 2.27 million in jail and more than 4.8 million on parole. Minorities have been especially hard hit, forming 39.4% of the prison population, with one in three black men expected to serve time during their lifetimes. How is it that our land, supposedly the beacon of freedom and democracy for the rest of the world, puts so many of its own people into prison? . . .
'Unleashing' Wall Street destroys manufacturing, older urban areas and black America's upward mobility
By the end of the 1970s, our policy establishment embarked upon a new experiment to shock the nation out of stagflation (the crushing combination of high unemployment and high inflation). To do so, neo-liberal economists successfully argued that Wall Street should be deregulated and that taxes on the wealthy should be cut to spur new entrepreneurial activity that would enrich us all. Entrepreneurial activity certainly increased, and with a vengeance. Rather than create new jobs and industries that would promote shared prosperity, a new and invigorated Wall Street set about to devastate American manufacturing. Its goal was, and still is, to make money from money, not to make money by producing tangible goods and services. Wall Street's main product for America is debt. And its profits derive from loading up the country with it, and then collecting compound interest.
Wave after wave of financial corporate raiders (now politely called private equity firms) swooped in to suck the cash flow out of healthy manufacturing facilities. Wall Street, freed from its New Deal shackles, loaded companies up with debt, cut R&D, raided pension funds, slashed wages and benefits, and decimated well-paying jobs in the U.S. while shipping many abroad. The released cash flow was used to pay back the financiers, buy up stock to drive up its price, and pay out dividends. Nearly half the raided companies failed as America's heartland in a few short years turned into the Rust Belt.
Living on the south side of Chicago, and working near Gary, Indiana, I have become intimately familiar with the devastation of the Rust Belt's urban core, and it ain't pretty. Basically, the neo-liberal scumf**x who call the shots in Washington D.C., Springfield, IL, the Mayor's office here in Chicago, etc., have a created an interesting little third-world experiment, right here in the good ol' U.S. of Awesome.
I teach English, not science, but I believe the experimental hypothesis the banksters are operating under is this: "If we wipe out an entire sector of the U.S. economy, and replace it with predatory capitalism specifically designed to bloat our bank accounts to the exclusion of all else, everything will be just peachy, and those newly-jobless urban cores will become like elysian fields of happy, contented, unemployed."
We all know how well THAT'S worked out. You can just ask the good people of Gary, Indiana; Youngstown, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; or the southside of Chicago, etc. Of course, once they'd shuttered the main engines of the manufacturing sector through sheer, rapine greed, the question for our jaunty neo-liberal overlords became: "What do we do with all these
people disposables who have no jobs?"
After all, that real estate still had some residual value, and it's not like they were going to go back on the whole experiment and invest in something to replace the manufacturing sector. Investing costs money, and takes time. The return is so much slower than creating a mega-trillion dollar pseudo-economy based on gambling with derivatives, and other finance-capital parlor tricks. No, they'd already hacked away those jobs like so many overzealous tree-pruners, lopping off barrels-full of apples so they can burn the fragrant wood. No amount of glue can fix those trees, and replanting? I refer you to my earlier remarks regarding the time and money involved in investing. Those jobs were gone forever, so what to do? What to do?
I suppose it must have been a real conundrum for the neo-liberal ha ha "private equity" scumfucks who call the shots. What do you with a whole bunch of unnecessary
people disposables who are living eeking out an existence on the land that occupies your next condominium development? Luckily for the ha ha "private equity" vultures, at some point the heavens parted, the light dawned, and that last bump of cocaine brought clarity for a change. Some insightful bankster had a moment of brilliance: "I know what we can do with all those unemployed folks, whose lives, families, and neighborhoods we just served up and gorged upon like succulent marrow. Let's LOCK THEM THE FUCK UP!"
Y voila! Thus were born the mandatory minimum sentencing laws, the War on Drugs, the disparity between sentencing guidelines for crack versus "regular" cocaine, stop-and-frisk . . . . why a whole LITTER of incarceration innovations were veritably shat out the asshole of our asexual, protozoan overlords. Thus was born a New-merica; one in which we proudly boast not only the highest per capita rate of incarceration, (which is quite a feat for the "Land of the Free") but the highest raw NUMBER of
people disposables incarcerated; more than much-larger nations like India, and the wonder-tastically freeish nation of CHINA!
Congratulations to our Neoliberal Bankster Overlords. We truly are number one.