Response to Seth Stern’s “Learn from history before this looming crisis hits”

James Mark Hojnowski

In response to Seth Stern’s guest column that appeared in the paper yesterday, my demeanor as I forced myself to read through it only ever sank. Stern attempts to use “history” to showcase all the mistakes we are making now, even though all his examples are flat out wrong. Let’s begin:

His first argument details the need to raise the retirement age in this country to 69. Stern believes that this will save us from the deficit by having less people cash in. Stern forgets to mention, however, that the majority of people who cash in on retirement and Social Security in this country are the lowest of the social order. The people who are living longer in this country are not the janitors, auto mechanics and other laborers, but lawyers, politicians and CEOs. For Americans who commit to backbreaking labor all their life, the government is now turning to and saying they must work even longer before they can rest, rather than ask the softly positioned upper class to help out their fellow citizen.

His second argument I find disagreeable is that he proposes that the anger against the wealthy is misplaced, that the wealthy “deserve” their wealth, all because they had the great skill… of being born into a wealthy family. That’s how the vast majority of the wealthy in this country come into their money: blood, nepotism and corruption. But the wealthy don’t stop there. Then THEY have the gall to lobby the government to protect their wealth, in the form of ill-needed tax cuts, while shifting the tax burden onto the lower classes, or else the country into debt. The wealthy do not deserve your adoration Stern or your protection from the majority of the citizenry.

Stern’s third argument is the most baffling. For his entire history theme, Stern seems to have forgotten that a money supply naturally increases over time as a population increases. Yes, in 1913 one of our dollars would only net four cents. But our population today is 310 million strong, and in 1913, it was 91 million. If we had kept money supplies at the same level as they were in 1913, can you imagine how many fewer people would have money today? And how much more powerful those who had the most concentrated stores of wealth would be? And just think of all the possible business deals that would be impossible without an increasing money supply to prop up growing transactions? To try to stop the growth of money supply is like trying to stop the growth of an important organ in the body. It is a healthy and necessary process for a healthy body. Oh yeah, and gold fluctuates even more than the dollar itself in price on the markets, a gold standard would only make our currency more unstable.

It’s not time to get selfish, America, it’s time to educate yourself. Look where your economic and social vindication lies. It’s not with allegiance to the rich, or to petty selfish goals that will only bring everyone down with you eventually. It’s to each other. Only together with compassion for the lowliest from the highest will we get out of this coming Second Great Depression. Do prepare yourself, but righteously.

James Mark Hojnowski is a junior integrated social studies major and guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].