BookLife Talks with Earl Rynerson
A sponsored Q&A with the author of 'Unchecked Capitalism Is Killing Us'
Why did you decide to write this book?
For years, I, like most Americans, have been frustrated with our government. It doesn’t work for us anymore. I started writing this book when I learned about Wells Fargo opening up new accounts for thousands of their customers without permission, just so they could charge extra fees and make higher profits. I couldn’t believe a bank could get away with this, but after more than a year of research, I found that that type of behavior, plus other activities, like money laundering, have become “business as usual” for big banks. I learned that it’s not just banks that are corrupt; every large corporate institution in our country engages in questionable activity for the sole purpose of increasing profits. Our healthcare, the pharmaceutical industry, processed foods, the auto industry, the defense industry, oil and gas, even the media! Their sole focus is on making profits. The quality of our lives is worse as a result.
Do you think there was a single point where it all went “wrong”?
It all started back during the Ronald Reagan years, when his administration began inviting corporations to come into the White House to “advise” on government policies. Government and business had largely stayed away from each other up to that point. Corporations quickly learned that the best way to get what they wanted was to get into politics and “donate” to elected officials’ political campaigns. The wealthy and large corporations began hiring lobbyists, who would spend their time convincing politicians to do what corporations and the wealthy wanted. It was always: you need to lower corporate taxes and reduce corporate regulations! Today, billions of dollars flow through Washington from the tens of thousands of corporate and special interest lobbyists. The result? Tax rates for most corporations and the wealthy are lower now than what most working people have to pay. Our nation has become financially crippled, thanks to this lack of income. Our infrastructure, our schools, our social programs, our space program, and the affordability of colleges and universities have all suffered over the years, due to the reduced taxes collected from corporations and the wealthy. Both political parties are to blame.
What kind of research did you do while writing Unchecked Capitalism Is Killing Us?I spent a year and a half collecting hundreds of articles from a variety of well-respected news sources, including CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, dozens of regional newspapers, and even FOX news. I organized the articles into one of nine industries, each of which corresponds to a different chapter.
Why or how do you think this book is particularly relevant now?
It is especially relevant now because Americans are becoming aware of several significant national problems. One, the amount of corruption and lying that occurs within our government is getting worse. Two, the anger that exists in many of our population segments is growing. Three, people are realizing that the reduction of taxes on corporations and the wealthy has gone too far. It has only made the wealthy even wealthier. This book exposes what large corporations don’t want you to know and describes how the average citizen can make personal choices that will tremendously improve our quality of life.
What’s next for you?
I am in the process of completing a second edition of the book. Once I revise it, I plan on writing a new book titled The Great American Renaissance, which is a hopeful book about what we can achieve if we take back control of our government from the wealthy corporate interests and lobbyists.