Yep. This is the year that opponents of socialism get put to the test. Let's face it, there is no reason that our modern market needs to have gone the way it did. We all know that post-WWII gave America a cutting edge economically. We know that eventually things would change. But as international fortunes shifted, the result didn't need to be what it has become.
And what is that? An era where my kids understand the phrase 'good old American craftsmanship' as sarcasm, rather than fact. A time in which salaries have sat stagnant while upper management, CEOs and stockholders have bathed in exponential growth. An age in which I spend $4.00 for a bag of air and the company kindly throws in a handful of potato chips for free. A time in which entire industries exist in order to fix the products that are released almost guaranteed to fail and fall apart. A generation that has come to be content with hearing corporate leaders explain why a global economy is inevitable, there are consumers in other parts of the world, and if Americans don't keep up, well, "eh."
When these problems are brought up - and I've brought them up in many forums and comments sections over the years - I'm reminded that the reason for the drop in quality, quantity and general care for the average American worker is the direct result of government regulations and back breaking taxation.
OK. Fair enough. We'll just leave it at that and say there simply was no other route to take than the one taken, and that the cause for the growing number of Americans who can't even afford a new car, much less basic healthcare or a standard of living anywhere close to half a century ago, was the result of those two factors.
Now those factors have been removed. Among the chorus singing President Trump's praises are those pointing to how many entangled, burdensome government regulations he has ended. And we all know of the tax bill he successfully pushed at the end of the year. One. Two. The Scylla and Charybdis threatening our corporate beneficence have been addressed, and we'll see a market where corporations will once again push for higher quality, higher quantities at reasonable prices, all while increasing the wages and benefits of their labor force (and not just one time symbolic bonuses).
We'll see. If it happens, then great. If it happens, and we don't start a nuclear war, expect whoever is president now to be president in 2021, no matter what the press does to change that verdict (barring proof of Russian collusion of course). I don't know if the changes will happen fast enough for 2018. I'm a fair man, and understand there is a certain amount of time for things to come together.
But if, in another two years or so, I see companies continue to raise their prices while gutting quantity or quality, I notice wages continue to stagnate, and I see a new generation coming up that snickers when they hear about 'American craftsmanship', then I expect in another few decades that some form of socialism will be the law of the land, and those politicians standing in its way will be looking for jobs after each election cycle.
We've had about three generations of children raised to hear of the abuses of Capitalism and the exploitation of the free market by corporate interests that increasingly don't give a damn about America, Americans, or, for that matter, the free market. This will be the big test. If they respond correctly and justly, the market might live to fight another century. If not, however, then it's likely that many of those corporate CEOs who seem to prefer a post-Capitalist economy will likely get what they want.