The Dragons of America Some time ago, an executive came from London to take over area where I worked. As a kick off, Tony, related a little story at a team meeting. In the story was a town whose inhabitants were fearful of a distant dragon looming in the mist. One day, a young knight decided that he would travel the world but first he must confront the fearful dragon. As he traveled done the road he saw the dragon that seemed to get small as he came closer. When he was no further then a few yards away, he saw that the dragon was not as daunting or large as it had seemed in the distance. When he was close enough to speak to it he said, "Dragon, what is your name". And the Dragon responded, "Fear". Now that was meant to inspire us, however, later that week I had a few drinks with the chap who related this story. When he was head of the technology department in France, some of the things they were going to implement were reductions in benefits. At the Christmas party all the French employees came in red t-shirts. When Tony spoke, they all turned their backs on him, signifying that the entire company would not go along with their proposals. In short, they would strike. They didn't have to say a word. When Tony was done, the party resumed as if the speech never happened. The benefit reduction plan was dropped. This sort of brings me to the Dragons of America. One of the things Tony didn't like about Europe was they had their self imposed limits on executive compensation. In America there are no such limits. The sky is the limit. Tony liked that. Of course, as I write this, Tony, like me, is out of a job and back in Europe. So the Dragons here, are not small, not named "Fear" and have voracious appetites. They are the wealth extractors that feel that no compensation is too high nor no excess is too extravagant. Indeed they feel "entitled" to every thing they get. And it's a numbers game. They are competing with other Dragons to amass great piles of gold to lie on. And they aren't satisfied with that either, they want more from the government that made it possible for them to become so wealthy. And there are compliant government officials that are more then happy to help them do so. It was Alan Greenspan, a Milton Friedman acolyte that remarked he thought private industry would be more self policing and didn't realize people were so greedy after the derivatives meltdown. An epiphany he had after leaving office. The Dragons along with their "corporate quislings" have helped along some very awful judicial activism like the Citizen's United case, as well as identifying that their corporate entities are "people" too. And this has had some very terrible consequences, as the 2010 elections have shown. The House of Representatives is now populated with radicals that caused yet another financial meltdown during a very weak recovery. And in their greedy haze the Dragons don't realize that the very government they are slowly killing by denying it revenue is the same government that has given them the environment, products and funding to accrue their wealth. And they are in the process of implementing legislation, cynically called "Right to Work" laws, across 14 states that further strip labor of any power to negotiate on a semi-even footing. This has had dire consequences in this country. Indeed the economic meltdown was not due to war or environmental calamity, although those things did occur, it was due by in large to wealth extraction by the Dragons, which took the form of low taxation and complex financial instruments which inevitably needed to be saved by tax payer bailouts. And now we are sort of at a tipping point. Do we continue to cut essential services, keep the earning of wage earners flat, gut our infrastructure, while killing our research and development initiatives to keep our Dragons with huge beds of gold? Or do we recognize that in order to move forward the sacrifice must be shared. And fall more heavily on the people who prospered the most.