Rationales for the way our economy operates are in constant conflict. Lower taxes are a conservative rallying cry, but tax cuts tended to put money in the pockets of the rich without benefiting most Americans. The transfer of wealth to the affluent did not create jobs but, resulted, rather, in massive layoffs, pay cuts and benefit reductions or “increased productivity” for those seeking euphemisms to describe the process.

Some analysts agree that our tax system needs re-working in order to create a revenue stream for needed social programs, close loopholes and produce something resembling a level playing field. Of course free-marketeers decry any effort to redistribute wealth as tantamount to creating a socialist form of government. But when executives can walk off with multi-million-dollar golden parachutes and retirement packages while union workers are called avaricious consumers of health care and wages, a moment’s reflection proves that our present system has deteriorated into a twisted version of free enterprise in which money managers are free to manipulate markets and people at will.