Name: Darcy G. Richardson
Marital Status: Single
Current Residence: Jacksonville, FL
Position / Employer: Author/Historian and Entrepreneur
A former senior specialist in the insurance industry-turned-entrepreneur, Darcy G. Richardson was born one of ten children to William and Shirley Richardson in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. The son of a career U.S. Air Force officer and municipal manager, Darcy and his nine siblings grew up in various parts of the United States and West Germany before returning to western Pennsylvania — the birthplace of both of his parents — in the late 1960s.
Darcy, 56, has authored six books, including five volumes of a planned seven-volume history on independent and third-party politics in the United States, and is completing several other books. He is currently finishing a book about the country’s current economic crisis, tentatively titled, Collapse: How the Managerial Class Plunged the Nation into the Greatest Depression, which will be published next spring.
A freelance writer and former editor of Consumers Voice, the bi-monthly publication of the Philadelphia-based Consumers Education & Protective Association (CEPA), Darcy is also the author of A Nation Divided: The 1968 Presidential Campaign, published in 2002.
In addition to writing for numerous local and national publications, Darcy has been a guest on several nationally-syndicated radio talk shows spanning the political spectrum, including the progressive Thom Hartmann Show and Joseph Farah’s World Net Daily “Radioactive” program.
Richardson’s books on American history and politics — one of which earned an Outstanding Academic Title (OAT) from scholarly Choice magazine in 2005 — were cited in Newsweek’s “What You Need to Read” section in July 2010.
Long active in independent and third-party politics, Darcy Richardson has rubbed shoulders with some of the best-known political figures of the past three decades. In addition to managing one of the late Minnesota Senator Eugene J. McCarthy’s presidential campaigns, Darcy ran for Pennsylvania Auditor General in 1980 when he was 24 and for the U.S. Senate eight years later — both times on the Philadelphia-based Consumer Party ticket. He was also an alternate delegate to the founding national convention of the short-lived Citizens Party in Cleveland, Ohio, in April 1980.
Beginning with McCarthy’s independent bid for the White House in 1976, Richardson has volunteered in numerous independent and third-party campaigns, including several Reform Party efforts, over the past three and a half decades. In addition to supporting Ross Perot in 1992 and backing former Indiana Congressman Joel Deckard’s bid for the U.S. Senate on the Reform Party ticket in Florida a dozen years ago, Richardson also actively supported Ralph Nader’s Reform Party candidacy for President in 2004.
“I’ve long admired the determination and tenacity of the handful of individuals who have kept the Reform Party alive over the past twelve years,” says Richardson. “They refuse to die, and they never fade away — always fighting for America’s better self. Needless to say, I would be honored to carry the party’s proud but tattered banner this autumn. If nominated,” he chucked, “I’ll run as a poor Perot.”
Earlier this year, Richardson mounted a symbolic challenge to President Obama in Democratic primary contests in New Hampshire, Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas, garnering his strongest showing in Oklahoma, where he won 6.36 percent of the vote. He also carried 96 precincts in the Louisiana primary on March 24. Overall, Darcy polled a total of 41,386 votes in the five states, 25,296 of which came during the May 29 Texas primary — some six weeks after he had suspended his campaign for the Democratic nomination. He also received hundreds, possibly thousands, of write-in votes in the Pennsylvania and California Democratic primaries where President Obama was running unopposed.
Like Perot, Richardson’s little-noticed campaign during the Democratic primaries focused on the country’s fragile economy and the growing national debt, calling for the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, separating traditional commercial banking from speculative investment banking — the kind of reckless “casino capitalism” that led to the current global economic crisis — and a Hamilton national banking or credit system to replace the Federal Reserve, the bankers’ bank whose monetary policies have failed to provide the kind of public credit needed to effectively combat the recession.
Darcy, who majored in economics and business at Temple University and spent a dozen years in the financial services industry, also proposed a massive FDR-inspired TVA style program to put millions of unemployed Americans back to work repairing our nation’s decrepit infrastructure grid. Modeled after an expanded version of the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA), a continental water management system proposed by the late Sen. Frank Moss (D-Utah) in the 1960s, NAWAPA XXI would employ hundreds of thousands of Americans while providing immediate and long-term benefits for a nation struggling to cope with a collapsing global free trade economy.
With non-financial corporations hoarding more than $2.2 trillion in liquid assets — a 46 percent increase since the beginning to the “Great Recession” in 2007 — and banks and other financial institutions stockpiling another $1.5 trillion in excess reserves at the end of 2011, Richardson believes that the government has a major role to play in pulling the country out of the current economic quagmire.
“It’s obvious that the private sector isn’t going to come to the nation’s rescue,” asserted Richardson in declaring his candidacy for the Reform Party’s nomination on June 15. “Awash in cash, America’s business leaders are fiddling while Rome burns. The federal government must step in and become an employer of last resort, if necessary.”
The “giant sucking sound” that Ross Perot warned of nearly two decades ago, says Richardson, has been replaced by an equally horrifying sound, an amplified shriek of anguish as middle-income and working-class Americans have watched their net worth plummet while those on Wall Street — the pampered folks responsible for the financial meltdown in the autumn of 2008 — prosper like never before.
According to the Federal Reserve’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances, published on June 11, American households lost a median 39% of their total wealth between 2007 and 2010 — a period in which the assets and profits of the twenty largest U.S. banks returned to their pre-crash 2007 levels.
The current financial crisis has wiped out 18 years of gains for the median U.S. household, dropping total family assets from $126,400 in 2007 to barely $77,300 in 2010 — the same level as in 1992, when the pugnacious Perot, concerned about the loss of America’s manufacturing base while courageously leading the fight against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), presciently warned his fellow citizens about a forthcoming economic decline.
While the values of their homes, savings and retirement accounts plunged, debt as a share of middle-income assets rose from 14.8% to 16.4% during that same three-year period.
Richardson warns that slashing the federal budget in a precarious economic environment like the present could have further disastrous consequences for the typical American family.
“Taking an ax to federal programs and further reducing the tiny tax burden on the wealthy, or adopting a 1930s Hayekian solution of doing nothing in response to a depression — the GOP’s three-pronged solution, echoed by the Libertarian Party and other Austrian School adherents — will do nothing to put the United States on a path to a sustainable recovery,” says Richardson.
“Washington’s sudden fixation with debt and deficit reduction — a sea of red ink that both major parties are responsible for creating — won’t help put money into the pockets of ordinary Americans and will only serve to prolong and deepen this economic crisis,” he contends. “As Europe is quickly learning, austerity isn’t the answer.”
A longtime critic of the Bush tax cuts for the rich — a giveaway to the country’s most affluent citizens that costs the U.S. Treasury more than $11.6 million every hour while contributing enormously to the nation’s fiscal woes —Richardson has called for a capital levy on wealth, not unlike the proposals recently debated in Germany and other European countries, to ease Washington’s mounting debt crisis.
He also called for an immediate end to the war in Afghanistan.
The Reform Party candidate acknowledges that the odds are against him.
“Ross Perot once said that most people give up too soon,” said Richardson. “They often quit on the one yard line, sometimes only inches from scoring a winning last-minute touchdown. “In my case, I’m sort of starting inside my own one-yard line,” quipped Richardson, “but I suppose it’s worth a desperation ‘Hail Mary’ toss. The American people are hurting, and they’re hurting badly. Nobody else is offering the kind of bold and imagination economic solutions the country so desperately needs.”