Raw tape for the award-winning series The 90's. M.M. Thomas describes his opinions on politics and America's future in the '90s. He describes his dissatisfaction with the policies of Reagan and Bush and what he thinks is wrong with the country. He gives his ultimate solution: "The only way to do all this is increase revenues, and you can read my lips, that means T-A-X-E-S."
00:00Copy video clip URL The tape opens with a shot of M.M. Thomas in front of his home. He first begins to talk about a speech he had given which was not well received and he was eventually booed off of the stage. The speech was about his thoughts on modern political philosophy in the ’90s. “The fact is I don’t think the ’90s are going to be blue skies and blue birds–that we’re only fooling ourselves and very dangerously so if we continue in that belief.”
01:00Copy video clip URL Thomas first addresses the problems of the ’80s, hoping to give the viewer a better understanding of why the ’90s and the longer term future of the country may be bleak. “The ’80s are painted by the propaganda spewed out by such places as the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, as an unmitigated triumph for free market capitalism, when in effect, the paradox is the ’80s were really a triumph for a kind of cancerous perversion of the New Deal.” Thomas goes on to say, “What happened in the ’80s was simply a massive commitment of the United States government to not merely preservation, but to the aggrandizement of capital.” Thomas then makes an analogy to getting involved in the crack business to prove his point.
03:41Copy video clip URL Thomas comments on the lack of imagination among American leaders, specifically George H.W. Bush: “Mr. Bush seems to confuse management with leadership. He’s running it in exactly the style of the Chief Executive Officers of big corporations did when he was, shall we say growing up, if in fact that has ever happened, and that is exactly a management style which rendered America uncompetitive. Our big challenge in the ’90s is to get this country competitive again… I don’t think we’re competitive ideologically. I don’t think we’re competitive intellectually.” Thomas then compares the U.S. style of government and leadership to that of Europe. He goes on to say, “We are marching into a very difficult period, a period which we can fairly say is one of crisis, and we are doing so with our heads filled with sawdust.”
05:26Copy video clip URL Thomas begins to talk about the need to solve the drug problem in the U.S. and offers his opinion on how the government could handle the matter. Thomas calls for a system of federal drug courts with a possible suspension of habeas corpus. “I’m talking about people who are poisoning the fabric of this society, poisoning the cities–these are the sorts of things that have to be done. This requires imagination, and it requires character, and it requires leadership.” Thomas emphasizes the need for vision before going on to talk about the attitudes that he believes plague the country. “I don’t think anybody in this country much believes much of anyone else. We don’t seem to expect anyone to keep his word. People are not held to do as they say. Every day we’re confronted with written positions, spoken positions taken by the great men of our time, who preach these wonderful, moral, high ground sentiments and then go off and engage in dirty and devious business. People who pound the pulpit with the same fist they use to endorse the check. I think a country that is in that kind of a moral shape, a psychological shape, whatever you want to call it, is in a mess.” Thomas then calls for the rebuilding of our education system.
09:00Copy video clip URL Thomas talks about the lost sense of outrage in the U.S. “I’m terribly worried that we’ve lost our sense of outrage. Outrage is one of the great attributes of a democracy. We’re going to need it to get us through the ’90s.” Thomas then begins to criticize the media for their avoidance of confronting the hard news stories. “That’s the kind of apathy that leads to atrophy, and when you start to atrophy, you’re finished… Someday we may find ourselves desperate… We might find ourselves at the heart of an economic apocalypse which will express itself politically in some kind of demagogy built on hate or resentment, or total confusion–and into that vacuum may ride a man on a white horse or a black horse and there will be hell to pay.”
11:20Copy video clip URL Thomas begins to talk about solutions to the many problems he has addressed. Thomas remains positive and believes that the country can solve these issues. He emphasizes the need to reinvigorate the education system and create “buy American” programs in Central and South America. Thomas also strongly advocates higher taxes. He criticizes Ronald Reagan’s notion of government being the enemy. “We have bought this ridiculous notion, which Ronald Reagan sold… and that is that government is your enemy. You go from too much government to government is your enemy, and I would submit that once you have got this notion of ‘government is your enemy’ fixed in the minds of the people… then it’s a very short jump to what we have seen in the last half of the roaring ’80s, and that is since government is your enemy and the government is the means through which the laws are administered therefore the laws need not be obeyed.” Thomas then closes his point by saying, “A president who will begin by suggesting that we ought to retake the high moral ground will open endless doors of infinite possibility.”
16:34Copy video clip URL Thomas details his thoughts on Reagan’s notion of government being the enemy. “What this means is that we get this free market, utter free market invisible hand ally… You get this free market economy which has flourished in the last ten years during which we have become totally uncompetitive against states like Japan, like Sweden, like Italy, like the Germanies, like France, and even briefly like England… Those are all countries in which the government takes a hand at the table.” Thomas then states, “The fact is the government has a role in our lives.” He also calls for the meeting of government and private institutions to sort out where we would like the country to be, but says that there is a strong force against any type of meeting.
19:55Copy video clip URL Thomas finally comments on the government being run on borrowed money rather than revenue. “We are going to have to deal with the crushing debts that Uncle Sam has taken on in the last ten years. We have not behaved like anybody else I’ve ever known, individuals or institutions–they simply believe that if someone will lend them some money they’re not broke.” Thomas points out the country’s debt as the biggest problem we have to face, then comments on the incorporation of Japan into our private economy due to our economic relationship with them. Thomas goes on to say, “I think we have a major money problem for the ’90s which is going to have to be addressed and the only way to really address it is to raise revenues and you can read my lips and it spells T-A-X-E-S […] It is always said that the reason we had the Depression of the ’30s was because after the ’29 crash and the worldwide monetary contraction, there were no lenders of last resort. Ronald Reagan invented and George Bush continues, both pretending to be otherwise–the two of them have developed the greatest lender of last resort ever developed and that is the middle class American tax payer.”
24:45Copy video clip URL Tape ends.