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A fixed game of Monopoly


To the Editor: Suppose we are playing a game of Monopoly, and the game reflects our current economy. We start the game with Monopoly money being handed out to the players. The first problem is that a few people start with a much higher bank than others. The game starts and when one of the wealthy players lands on attractive properties they buy them. Those with lower amounts of money can afford only lower valued properties. Since 1980 those with most of the money began to tax themselves less, while those with little money saw little benefit from tax cuts. As the less fortunate land on “owned” valuable properties, paying the rent forces them further and further in debt. That means when one passes “Go” the wealthy take their $200 but also part of yours to settle your debt. One can look at the rules of the game for relief, but one quickly finds that those who own many properties, control writing the rules. In other words, the game is rigged by our most wealthy citizens.

The rules written by, the winning billionaires secure their wealth and position on the board.

They seek to rewrite the “Community Chest” and “Chance” cards to solely benefit them. They also add properties to the board which were formerly safe places for the common players to land. By privatizing education, health, postal, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and the environment they can now take glee in landing on those squares and purchasing them. All that exists is measured in terms of its value in money. Government services now become profit centers for private business concerns. The common players are taught that these are the natural rules of the game. The successful players are just better than those they dominate.

This is a law of nature, the survival of the fittest. If you are worried about throwing the dice, well, that is the object of the game of Monopoly. A bad roll, and one can find oneself deep in debt, that could ruin one’s credit, and take them out of the game. The wealthy class, with their high priced lawyers, have the equivalent of “Get out Jail Free” cards.

The game board is stacked, rigged against the common player. Once the super rich control the game board they move to control society as well. With Charles Koch leading the way, Freedom Works, Club for Growth, and Americans for Prosperity, among others, are super rich fronts to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into key political races. They play on a feeling of dissatisfaction by promoting a feeling of nostalgia for a bygone America, “Make America Great Again.”

America has changed. It is no longer a white monoculture. The coal, steel, and mechanical manufacturing economy are not returning either. But, we do have the opportunity to reset the game board to make the game fairer. We can pass laws to get the money out of politics, forbid lawmakers from becoming lobbyists, promote sensible Global Warming legislation and emphasize small business rather than large corporations.

An ultra individualistic frenzy has taken hold of our economic system. Starting in the early 1980s the wealthy class began to rewrite the rules of the game to favor themselves. The “greatest economy the world” was, in reality, a Wall Street economy rather than ignited by the wages paid to workers. If we reelect President Trump, and his disciple Tom Tiffany, for another four years, we can expect him to try to “make America great again.” That means keeping the CEOs of large corporations and the super rich in control. After all, look at his appointments to positions of authority within his administration. Financial movers and shakers make big money by “creative destruction”, that is, the systematic deconstruction of businesses they buy. We lose jobs to the corporate raiders who reward shareholders by driving the value of their shares and bankrupting or moving the business to foreign countries, We now have an opportunity to take hold of our society, and “Build Back Better.”Let’s take this opportunity to meet the challenges of today, with a more fair society.

Rick Lohr Marathon