Wealth is more concentrated at the very top than it's been in 80 years, and large corporations and Wall Street are more powerful. The rich have reduced their tax rates lower than they've been since the 1920s. There's no money left for our public schools, public highways, public transit systems, public pipelines, public libraries, and public universities.
The regressive right is replacing the idea of the public good with a social Darwinism that gives the rich even more tax breaks, lets big corporations and Wall Street run rampant, cuts public services to the poor, and makes life as risky as possible for everyone else: survival of the fittest.
We're allowing this to happen because Americans are so angry and frustrated--so vulnerable to loss of job and healthcare and home--that we're easy prey for demagogues offering simple answers and ready scapegoats.
They blame our problems on undocumented immigrants, labor unions, public employees, the poor, or anyone who's different - gays, Hispanics, blacks.
They refuse to engage in real debate. Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, for example, accuses me of being a communist because I call for public investment in schools and infrastructure, but he doesn't have the guts to debate me.
They merely repeat their big lies that the rich need more tax breaks, that economic growth trickles down from the top, that regulation is bad, that government is our enemy.
And they want us to become cynical about the possibility of changing anything. That way, they win hands down.
Don't believe them.
Three times over the last century we've taken back our economy and reclaimed our democracy--during the progressive era at the start of the 20th century, in the Depression decade of the 1930s, and in the civil rights and women's rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s.
It is time to do so again.
American professor, economist, and commentator Robert B. Reich served in the administrations of presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. His exclusive Kindle Singles eBook, Beyond Outrage, was released on April 17, 2012.