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The Oakmont Progressives Club

What Makes a Democrat Progressive

In the 1987 movie Wall Street, the character Gordon Gecko lays out the logic of capitalist organizations in a famous speech. "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." He went on to make the point that greed is a clean drive that “captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, for knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind." Progressives offer a serious corrective to that vision of people and society. Progressives recognize that all capitalist economies for the past 300 years have encountered serious problems: • They create cycles of “boom and bust” that leave a large percentage of populations without the means to feed or house themselves (the Great Depression of 1929, the Great Recession of 2008) • They create vast disparities of wealth with more and more of the capital in society concentrated in fewer and fewer families (currently in the US, the top 1% of the population holds 30.4% of the wealth, while the bottom 50% of Americans holds 1.9% of the wealth) • They inevitably corrupt governments by using their wealth to ensure that only candidates acceptable to them have any chance of election (the 2022 mid-term election cost over $16 billion dollars) and by capturing the agencies set up to regulate them. • They allow capitalist corporations to “externalize” the costs of their businesses, particularly the environmental and social costs (Walmart trained their new employees in the procedures to apply for Food Stamps, thus asking the public to subsidize the wages of the employees of one of the country’s wealthiest corporations. The country is littered with “Superfund Sites” where tax dollars are used to clean up the pollution caused by bygone corporations). • Their demand for ever expanding markets and cheaper labor leads to the use of the military abroad to safeguard their exploitation of foreign markets and to the expansion of the military/ industrial complex domestically. Capitalist corporations tend to co-opt the power of the government to protect their interests and channel wealth to those already wealthy. The bank bailouts of 2008 and 2009, for example, enhanced the wealth of investment bankers while allowing millions of lower income people to lose their homes because of fraudulent mortgages. Progressives see the role of Government as protecting working and middle-class people against the power of large corporations and the wealthy, rather than protecting the interests of the wealthy and enhancing their wealth. Progressives support public financing of elections and will not support candidates who do not receive a majority of their campaign funds from small donors. Progressives support an economy that creates wealth for the working and middle classes, rather han the 1% and multinational corporations. Progressives see adequate health care, education and housing as human rights which must be protected against exploitation for private gain. Progressives support diplomacy as the primary response to international crises rather than military action. Progressives support a massive international effort to address climate change.

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