Social Protest and Amerikan Inequality
Don’t let them tell us that we are on the verge of a recovering economy without asking the question, “for whom is it recovering?” When ever in the course of historic events a culture has allowed so many of its people to suffer poverty while a brilliant upper class flourished, that period has been followed by mayhem and destruction.
“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — ”
Recently, I heard Ben Bernanke say that despite the rising unemployment rate we are seeing signs that the economy is recovering. I could not believe what I was hearing. Here is the Fed Chair saying we can recover but we will have to sacrifice another 10 to 15 percent of our population to poverty. He was saying “our” economy can recover without everyone equally recovering. In other words the rich will become richer and the poor not only become poorer, but there will be more of us in that “designation–poverty.”
Back in the deluxe era of the 1950’s after the last Great War it was determined that most workers made one dollar to every one-hundred and fifty-nine dollars made by the boss. The Brookings Institute has the following to say: ” The figure suggests that the trend in inequality has not been driven solely by worsening poverty among the poor or by spectacular income gains among the wealthy. It has been produced by growing disparities between Americans at every level of the income ladder.”
Or, today’s headlines if you like: SKY HIGH PROFITS, J.P.Morgan Posts $3.6 Billion In Earnings… Pay At Financial Companies On Pace To Be HIGHER Than Before Crisis… Ordinary Workers Seeing Hours Slashed, Pay Cut…
Are we burying our poor collective heads in the sand. Do we care that 1% of Amerika’s richest people control two-thirds of the Amerikan wealth. 1% share 2/3’s of the nation’s wealth. the other 99% share the remaining 1/3rd. Would you please re-read that line and asks yourself if this is the America that you grew up in, or is this a new Amerika supporting an oigarchy rather than a capitalist democracy. (Never having been much of a fan of capitalism, I have no stomach for an oligarchy.)
Here is the equation to consider: One person lives on 66 cents and 99 people live on the remaining 33 cents. This is a “Grapes of Wrath” mentality, where a pound of pork fat has to serve a family for a month using it to fry grits, while the bank waltzes away with the homestead to auction it off at cut rate prices to the wealthy few who continue to acquire at the expense of the poor.
Recently, I heard a report which stated that the only other time in our history when the economy became so one sided resulted in the Great Depression. Do we really think we have avoided this…We are only in the first round of playing “take-away”. One out of ever four american families is scheduled to lose their homes in the next several years…these homes go back on the market in bargain basement prices.
We are in an economic state of anger. When in the course of our human events have we heard the term, “tea-party.” Twice maybe. Once prior to the American revolution and once last summer, as our town meetings were hijacked by lynch-mob mentality.
Let’s face it most of us know that our country is no longer working. You need not be a democrat or a republican to know that. It is not working for anyone except the privileged few at the very top…I see a society headed toward the style of Latin American Republics. We will have more in common with Brazil than we will have with Britain of France if we do not wake up to the very loud call.
Who is not hearing this call? Don’t you worry that this time — just maybe in the far reaches of your mind–this time is not like
every other recession. This time we have lost civil rights, we have lost, labor rights, we have a diminished public education system, we have a very broken health care system, we have the poorest transportation system of any civilized country on earth. Are these not at least red flags if not a call to action.
Last year at this time we had institutions that were deemed too large to fail. Middle class americans bailed out these banks with the promised outcome that we would see the economic engine start up again. Bur instead of jump starting the economy, we now have many fewer institutions that are now larger than they were a year ago when they were deemed too large to fail then…they are behemoth now.
What we have is no longer a system of capitalism. Under capitalism the most serving of endeavors is the most highly rewarded. Perhaps we think of doctors who are smart and work very hard for the pay. Who makes the most money is no longer producing anything. They simply move money around and skim the cream off the top of everything that goes by them. The money makers are not providing a service or even a function, they are money movers making money..BIG money..
An economy that is working is a system of faith. It is a belief that work will provide sustenance. As a people we have begun to lose faith in our politics as no longer able to keep an eye on the economy, education, public health and basic utilities.. so that it will continue to reward production and be able to provide some kind of a social net so that we are not aiming to look like Cuba in 1959.
My friends, we have lost our way and following the trail of crumbs will not bring us back home.