THE BLOG

The American Economy Is a Buffalo Jump

05/19/2015 03:12 pm ET | Updated May 16, 2016

A "Buffalo Jump" is a cliff where Native Americans killed bison in mass quantities. They stampeded the bison over the cliff while others waited below to kill the disabled animals with spears and bows.

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In economic terms, the same thing is happening to millions of Americans each year. I can't understand why so many Americans support policies that put more buffalo jumps on the economic landscape.

I am astonished by the lack of understanding so many people have of the simple math of daily life.

Logically, poverty can't be eliminated by paying millions of people less than a living wage (which is a disincentive to work) yet millions of poor and working class conservatives and libertarians with little or no net worth continue to vote for politicians who refuse to raise the minimum wage.

Logically, prosperity can't be achieved by concentrating so much wealth at the top of the economy that one family has more wealth than tens of millions of Americans, yet cities all over America give tax multi year breaks to every new Walmart Store that opens and then charges higher taxes to their citizens to compensate for the loss, under the illusion that a greater tax base will follow. Too many times, what follows is the dissolution of local businesses as Walmart takes the independent business profits and better wages out of the local community.

Logically, communities can't be improved by building more new prisons that bid for inmates while thinking it's a shorter route to job creation than establishing new technical and higher education schools. Regardless, California, with a population approaching 40 million people, (a so-called liberal state) and always the canary in the coal mine, has built only one new university campus since 1980 but somehow found the money to build 23 new prisons. If that's a liberal approach to progress, I want no part of it.

That awful statistic is a classic example of the schizophrenia that has overtaken our government's priorities and our American body politic. It is a result of a country getting pulled in the wrong direction.

The American economic system appears to be driving full speed ahead on a collision course with its own politically imposed self-destruction, fueled by so-called conservatives (an oxymoron of the highest order), and libertarians who are quick to violate the liberty of others.

They are cheer leading the inertia of the same insane policies that are promoted by the greediest of the billionaire class, not realizing they are helping to concentrate more and more wealth into the hands of the top 1% while insuring financial hardship for future generations of their own families.

These low information voters are creating their own buffalo jump with their politics. For reasons I will never understand, they attempt to emulate the viewpoint of the great hunters of society, under the illusion of gaining their favor, somehow believing their affinity with great wealth will insulate them from the fate of the hunted masses; but when their personal finances go into free fall, it becomes clear that they are forgotten members of the great stampeded herd, hunted, just like the rest of us.

The old saying goes, 'There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know'.

In political terms, those words speak to the delusional and self destructive thinking of today's working class conservatives and libertarians who are inexplicably determined to help the hunter-puppeteers create an economic buffalo jump for all of us with their closed minds, plugged ears and hardened hearts.