We may be standing on a precipice here.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 504 points Monday, and no less an authority than Alan Greenspan now says we might be at a once-a-century point in the forces weighing on our economy.

When I was growing up in the ’50s and ’60s, folks used to say there could never be another Great Depression because of the regulatory safeguards that had been put into place.

That may have been true then, but if you look at everything conservatives have been doing for the last 30 years to eliminate and hollow out those safeguards, we may be back in 1929 looking ahead at an uncertain future.

And this time, there’s no Franklin D. Roosevelt to save us.

Instead, we’ve got an oligarchy that learned from all its mistakes back then, and now controls much of the media and the educational system. That gives it a huge advantage in shaping public opinion.

Consider this: The free marketeers have been fairly successful in convincing people that regulations designed to protect them are actually the work of elitists who want to keep them in their place.

I don’t know if Barack Obama is the answer, but electing Republicans definitely isn’t. We’ve got to put people in office who really are working for the middle class and against entrenched wealth.

The rich got almost everything they wanted out of George W. Bush’s eight years. All we managed to protect was the doomsday device — the estate tax.

Get rid of that one and we might as well be feudal. We’ll be working for our masters on their estates for the rest of our lives.

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