A definition of Vulture Capitalism:
A thinly-regulated predominantly Western economic system that generates great amounts of revenue / wealth by preying on an ill-informed / under-educated proletariat via “aggressive” banking schemes and corporate raids that ultimately devours individual life-savings, while simultaneously enslaving a befuddled working-class to a lifetime of “banking servitude”.
Prelude to a grieving Lady Liberty
In the beginning of Frances Ford Coppolla’s classic movie, “The Godfather”, a successful Italian immigrant living in early 20th century America, is despondent. Clearly broken-hearted from a personal tragedy that involves his first-generation American daughter, he petitions Don Vito Corleone for mob-style revenge to be waged against a man that has physically and emotionally injured his daughter.
With a heavy heart, the Italian-born business man (whose own personal journey as an American citizen most likely began at New York’s Ellis Island in the late 19th century), tearfully begins his request for Sicilian retribution with this emphatic and impassioned statement:
“I believe in America, America has made my fortune”.
Absorb this statement and allow it to fully digest in your mind. The statement “I believe in America, America has made my fortune” is the “mojo” (magical spell) that motivated poor and not-so-poor people who lived thousands of miles away to completely abandon all hope of ever reconciling their differences / disappointments with their native country and without fear or hesitation, sell all that they owned and book steerage aboard a steamer heading west to a “magical land” where hard work and sacrifice could transform a peasant from Austria-Hungary into a millionaire.
Now, let’s fast forward to living in America in the year 2012…Sadly, it appears that unless you are the one in 50 million that will hit the mega-buck lotto or can be become a winning star contestant on “American Idol” or be born with some phenomenal athletic ability, most working Americans will live their life trying not to drown in debt that they’ve obtained from buying into an economic / banking system that glamorized using credit cards as a vehicle to fulfill American materialistic fantasies.
Today the descendants of 19th and 20th century immigrants from Europe are more at threat of being homeless than their great grandmother and great grandfather.
Once upon a time in America, there were an abundant amount of factories and textile plants that manufactured goods that were sold around the world. Steel was once made in America, while products that proudly bore the words “Made in the U.S.A.”, created millions of jobs for tens of millions of men and women that wanted to work.
Immigrants aspiring to be business owners brought entrepreneurial skills learned in their native land to cities like Boston, Milwaukee, Brooklyn, Chicago and Trenton, and amazingly they flourished.
Less than five generations ago there existed a common belief among poor European immigrants cramped inside the steerage and third class compartments of passenger steamships heading to New York’s Ellis Island, that the United States was a country full of endless opportunities.
They earnestly believed that hard work, sacrifice, loyalty to America through military service, including their total immersion / assimilation into America’s unique culture, would forever protect them from the poverty they once knew as peasants in their native land. In their mind hard work always equated to success and they were confident America was not a country ruled by barons and noblemen. Were they wrong?
No matter how you slice it, when it comes to income and wealth in America the rich has become richer and the poor and rapidly evaporating middle class has become poorer.
Income inequality is more severe in the U.S. than it is in nearly all of West Africa, North Africa, Europe, and Asia. The United States is on par (in terms of income disparity) with some of the world’s most troubled countries, and our income gap is getting worse.
Bank lobbyists via political campaign contributions are continuously fighting federal legislation that prohibits banks from embedding hidden debit card fees in hard to read contracts that “milk” unsuspecting U.S. consumers on a daily basis.
Corporate raiders are buying marginal profiting businesses, firing tens of thousands of workers and moving operations abroad each year.
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae knowingly sold millions of homes to unqualified buyers, instigating their lust to own a fantasy home by selling them on the false virtues of “variable interest rates”. All-the-while insidious Wall Street brokers were making side bets that the real estate packages being sold by the banks to outside mortgage companies would ultimately fail.
Americans who call U.S. corporate customer service representatives are now being connected to a customer service rep who lives in a foreign country, leaving the American who needs help with an account wondering what the heck are they doing talking to a banking rep in Manila about the Chevy truck they bought in Detroit.
Current economic studies indicate that America’s ultra rich 1% owns nearly 44 percent of the wealth in the United States.
The cost of gasoline at the pumps has gone up over 50 cents a gallon since Christmas. Does anyone really know why?
Every year universities are increasing college tuition in order to pay for an upgrade in football stadiums and for upgrades in the college president’s mansion.
In closing, while political movements like Occupy Wall Street are fighting “the good fight” to end the crony capitalism (disguised as the “Free Market”) that is sucking the life out of America’s remaining 99%, corporate vultures that resemble Edgar Allen Poe’s “Raven” are circling high in the sky over New York’s Ellis Island and it appears that “Lady Liberty” the ageless American iconic symbol of “hope and prosperity”, is weeping.
As always Louisianans, the New Orleans Examiner is interested in what you think. Is “Vulture Capitalism” real in the western world? And under the current economic system, are poor and not-so-poor immigrants capable of still honestly making a fortune? Inquiring minds want to know.
Until next time Louisianans, Good day, God bless and Good fishing.