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News Link • Economy - Economics USA

Jim Quinn: Grapes Of Wrath - 2011

Sixty million households make less today than they made 10 years ago. The policies of the Federal Reserve over the last ten years have benefitted speculators and punished seniors, savers and the working middle class. Every policy, program and regulation rolled out by the Federal Reserve in the last three years has been to prop up, enrich, and support their Too Big To Fail Wall Street owners. The middle class American working family is Too Small To Matter. Steinbeck presciently realized that the suffering of the working class was not due to bad weather, bad luck, or the actions of the working class. It was caused by the rich ruling elite wielding their power and influence across the land in their effort to enrich themselves by any means necessary. Historical, social, and economic circumstances separate people into rich and poor, landowner and tenant, and the people in the dominant roles struggle viciously to preserve their positions. During the Great Depression it was the brokers, bankers and businessmen who maintained a dominant role, while farmers, workers, and the common man were treated like dogs. Steinbeck used this symbolism by having the Joad’s family dog be run over by a rich person driving a fancy roadster early in the novel. Steinbeck saw the large California landowners as the epitome of the evil Haves. The landowners created a system in which the migrants were treated like animals, shuffled from one filthy roadside camp to the next, denied livable wages, and forced to turn against their brethren simply to survive.

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Comment by David McElroy
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God Bless John Steinbeck!  The early part of my life was much like the story of the Joad family. I was the oldest of twelve kids, and at the height of America's prosperity, my folks were forced out of the only home they ever owned by rich banker neighbors who found our little corner house unfashionable and hurtful to their property values. They told us to our faces, even put bullets through our walls and poisoned our animals. We stood our ground. Our house was burned. It was LBJ's war in my hometown, and city leaders attempted to rebuff the feds by claiming no poor existed there even as they purged the impoverished from the city. As a teenager, I stood much like Henry Fonda's character in "The Grapes of Wrath". His great soliloquy at the movie's end I adopted as my social mission statement. It was why I became a crusading reporter, then a chaplain to nursing homes and hospitals.  Some family members cannot see this movie without crying. Some of us were permanantly damaged by this ugly "War on Poverty". That painful story is reiterated in many families over and over again through the centuries. When people are not permitted any means to survive within the law, they will be forced to survive outside the law, even with God's blessing, as the Bible tells, as fleeing young David ate the Temple shewbread unlawfully. When sustenance is outlawed, only outlaws will have sustanance. Nations are born outside the law, resisting oppression! It was not wealth or law, but God, Guns, and Guts that made America great. Where are yours?  No king but Jesus! Live free or die trying! 

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