By Barry Rubin
I had two interesting responses to my article on Baltimore and the decay of America and because my energy level is very low now as I begin treatment for cancer allow me to respond briefly.

friend asks why you believe that Romney and Ryan have answers for
fixing America. Because America must decide whether it is going to be a
society of productivity, making new things and wealth, or merely looting
and passing around the ruins of Rome. A city like Baltimore will not be
rebuilt by taking money to lower living standards in the suburbs but by
creating great new enterprises that produce goods and services people

polite reader put the following in the nicest possible way—I’m not
being sarcastic—don’t the Republicans and Romney just represent
nineteenth century plutocratic greedy capitalism dressed up as free
enterprise? Millions of Americans believe this and unless they change
their minds America will not change.

that evil Romney who wants to buy another 100 Rolls Royces not like
those modest-living Kennedys, Gores, and all the rest, including a
serious Democratic presidential candidate who betrayed his
cancer-stricken wife after making a fortune on rather questionable legal
actions. And I seem to recall a great lionized hero who–let’s face it
there’s no doubt, murdered a poor young working-class woman and left her
to drown without ever paying for his crime. Sure there are bad
conservatives and bad Republicans, corrupt and immoral people, but for
goodness sake you aren’t treating them as great tribunes of the masses,
as the friends of the exploiters, as they line their pockets from yours.
It’s time to rethink the reality we live in.

it ain’t 1895 any more. Does the American government tremble because of
Ford, General Motors, U.S. Steel, Standard Oil of New Jersey, the
Pennsylvania Railroad and other mighty enterprises many of which have
collapsed completely?

It is the opposite, the corporations tremble before the government
regulators who have the power to tie them into knots. And their main
response is not to fight but to flee abroad.

mighty General Motors saved by the great Obama (hooray! Hooray! For the
great messiah of business) with billions of your taxpaying dollars in
order to create employment…in China!

workers living in hovels fear the boss telling them they are now out of
work with no unemployment or pension; that their hours are increased,
that they are going to be thrown out of their company homes because they
were ten minutes late at work?

it is the unions—at least where such things survive in the heavy
industry—that have the whip hand. The government is 100 percent on their

the big-bellied capitalists blow cigar smoke into the faces of
newspaper editors and threaten to cut off advertising unless scandals
are covered up? No, it is the government’s scandals that are covered up.
And if anything the companies are made to face unfair charges.

corporate executives want to look good. They want people to say and
write nice things about them. They want to be regarded as good corporate
citizens. They spend money running image ads about how they feed
songbirds rather than on doing breakthrough research.

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can’t even get oil-drilling going off most of the coast at a time when
America has no energy independence, prices are sky high, and the economy
needs a boost.

is reality here? Yes, there were such times in America of bullying
plutocratic greedy polluting capitalist super-villains but that just
isn’t 2012.

yes, too, there was a time when some redistribution of wealth was
needed. That was decades ago, too. Know why? Because working stiffs had
to buy all those cars, toasters, refrigerators, and other consumer goods
rolling out of the factories. That’s why advertising was a good thing.
That’s why America flourished after World War Two.
me, is America’s problem today that there is a vast working class—even a
vast poor class—that cannot buy cheap computers and expensive sports’

finally don’t forget small business, all those millions of people who
aren’t big moguls trying to make a living for themselves and their
families and their employees.

What’s essential here is this:

  • It’s not that the conservatives were always right and the evil liberal statists were destroying America.
  • It’s not that the liberals were always right and the evil, greedy moguls wanted everyone but themselves to be poor.

that American values work—some are liberal; some are conservative but
they must work together to be productive, not based on looting, not
based on a more and more powerful state; not based in regulating
everyone to death, not based—although this sometimes happened
wrongfully—on setting groups to hate each other.

can put the emphasis on making the pie bigger while paying attention to
a reasonably fair distribution or you can gobble it down as fast as
possible and then complain there isn’t any more.

choice is yours, America. But for goodness sakes wake up and realize
you’re living in the twenty-first century, not the Victorian age of dark
satanic mills and brutal capitalists who laugh while watching children
starve. No, now we are in the age of power-hungry, ice-cold,
detached-from-reality bureaucrats and those with graduate degrees who
write reports and new rules while watching a civilization go down.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in
International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East
Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His book, Israel: An Introduction, has just been published by Yale University Press.
Other recent books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition),
The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle
East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center and of his blog, Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at PJMedia.