Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thank you, Oprah

I was a devoted follower of Oprah's book club back when she picked a book nearly every month. Many of those authors have continued to publish books, and I am always happy to see this, since overall I enjoyed reading Oprah's selections. Today I finished up The Last Secret by Mary McGarry Morris, who rose to fame with Oprah's selection of her book, Songs in Ordinary Time. I haven't read all of Morris' books, but have enjoyed those I have read. The Last Secret was another enjoyable read that was hard to put down.

Nora is a married mother of two teenagers, the wife of Ken, one of two brothers in an established family in town. While she appears to others to have a picture perfect life, there are many small cracks that begin to form when she is confronted with a secret from her past. As a teenager, Nora had run off with a man, Eddie Hacket, for a few days. Their relationship ended abruptly when Eddie had tried to stage a scam with Nora's help and then tried to injure the man he was trying to scam. Nora fled the scene, never knowing what happened to Eddie or the man he attacked. She returned home and now twenty six years later, Eddie shows up after seeing her picture in a magazine and recognizing her. Nora is so ashamed of this part of her past that she will go to some extreme measures to make sure things remain a secret. Interestingly enough, her husband, Ken, has a secret of his own, that once revealed ends up changing their lives forever.

Morris continues to write the kind of women's fiction I am always eager to read. So thank you, Oprah, for introducing me to Morris and her books.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are not getting out of this depression anytime soon. Its going to get a lot worse for most of us. It didn't have to be this way. Greed ruins everything.

"As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption; mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth -- not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced -- to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation's economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-30 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence, as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped."

Marriner Eccles, FDR's Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank - 1959

In other words, the first Great Depression was caused by greed. The rich couldn't settle for reasonable pay. They had to have more and more and more. That caused a giant shift in buying power from the majority to the rich. When the majority lost their buying power, they lost their ability to support the economy. Einstein said basically the same thing in 1949.

Its even worse now. Ordinary people havn't only lost their relative buying power. They have also lost their savings, home values, pensions, and benefits. This didn't happen overnight. Its been happening gradually for the last 30 years. Meanwhile, the rich have become super incredibly rich. The richest 500 Americans are worth about two trillion dollars. More than the bottom 40% of American housholds combined. The richest 1 percent are worth about 15 trillion dollars. More than the bottom 98% of American households combined. Thats just insane. I don't care how much work for humanity the rich claim to do. Its nothing but a cover for their own greed. We don't need anymore rich people to entertain us or create jobs or make donations for charity. We need them to get reasonable about how much money and assets they keep for themselves.

Don't believe their excuse about paying more income taxes. They don't pay enough. For every tax they pay, they get an obscene profit, bailout, or kickback from our government to cover it. We had a progressive tax system that worked for over 40 years. It prevented too much wealth from accumulating at the top. In 1976, the middle 80% owned about 2/3 of America's total wealth. Reagan lowered taxes for the rich. Bush lowered them again. Now, the richest 5% own about 2/3 of America's total wealth. The lower 95% own about 1/3. America's wealth has been transfered from poor to rich again. Now, we have another depression.

Don't believe it when the rich claim to be getting poorer. Property values have gone down for everyone. Thats because of the concentration of wealth and income. When the economy slows down, property values tank. So when rich people complain about lower net worth, thats a trick. They still have the same buying power on average.

Everything that is happening with the economy is happening because too much wealth has been taken away from the majority and concentrated into the private vaults of rich people. The same ones on TV and radio telling us how much they want to help the world. Its a big lie. Just another way to promote their own business and get more of our money. Rich people don't want to help the world. They want to own it.

Now, the economy is ruined. Obama can't fix it because the rich won't let him. There will be no bailout for the people because the ones with all the money won't settle for less. They want more. Its going to get a lot worse. Say goodbye to the American dream and hello to the American nightmare.