When I was visiting schools in India, rich and powerful people were afraid of an educated populace who would demand a say in how the country was run, and want a piece of the economic pie. They worried that educated people would take their power.
In the USA, there were similar concerns directed at the rising middle class. In the years of Ronald Reagan, the “morbidly rich,” (thank you Thom Hartman) feared that those rising to the middle in the economic system would take wealth and power from those who believed they should be running things and amassing all of the Nation’s wealth.
As in India, and many other countries, this same “privileged” class feared the power of education to activate the masses. Facing a potential loss of control and being forced to share profits with the people, the oligarchs began to weaken and destroy America’s public schools. (A Nation At Risk). (Charles and David Koch).
Looking at the US culture and economy in 2023, it is obvious that they have succeeded. Since Ronnie’s time as the president for oligarchs, the middle class has declined in wealth, size, and strength. America’s public education system has suffered myriads of attacks designed to weaken it and people in power continue to personally profit from citizen’s tax dollars. For example, in the mid-1990s, a vital and necessary charter school program for improving public education was hijacked by greed-driven opportunists who saw it as a way to damage public education and scrape tax dollars into their pockets. (voucher scams) It was also highjacked by leaders of religious organizations who did not believe in the separation of church and state. They wanted public tax dollars to support their religious views, but they did not want the government to interfere in the inculcation of their religious dogmas.
Abused citizens who fight for a foothold in the American dream are denied access to America’s prosperity. There is no room for them in the shrinking middle class. The idea that education would help them gain access to some form of prosperity was dashed by the intentional crippling of our public schools. Ensuring the failure of middle and lower class individuals and families to achieve even a modicum of success guaranteed that there would always be humans who could be enslaved by authoritarianism. Some in power blame that on race or skin color. At the present time, many who feel disenfranchised are looking for a leader who will restore their access to the American dream.
There is hope that the Biden administration will overcome the evil of the present and allow a bright future for every American. Build Back Better was blocked by two rogue politicians, only pretending to support the democratic party and those who elected them. When two politicians can block the needs of the majority of Americans and who support the filibuster rather than good government, citizens know that flaws in our governmental system keep necessary change from happening.
The facts are, the system we now have has increased childhood poverty, widespread hunger, homelessness, ignorance, and a sense of futility greater than any other advanced nation. The oligarchs and those they buy who blindly support them, have hijacked the American economic system to serve themselves. The trillions of dollars they amass must be returned to the American people. The proper way to do this, short of actual confiscation, is with a tax system that fairly redistributes wealth.