Watch It Again. And Again. And Again.

I know we have talked about income and wealth inequality a lot on this blog. And I know that many of you, like me, have already seen the video posted below. But every time I watch it I am amazed. And every time I watch it I am encouraged that if enough of us pay attention, close attention, to the message presented, and if enough of us make ourselves and others aware of what is happening to the country in terms of the lopsided (and dangerous) distribution of income and wealth, then maybe we can (eventually, alas) change our political system enough to make real reform possible.

Last week, mocking those who dare to champion the cause of people who don’t earn but a tiny share of the nation’s income and who don’t have but an atom-thick slice of our national wealth, Chris Christie, whose demagoguery has not been slowed down by all the scandals whirling around him, claimed that Americans don’t want “income equality” and that Democrats and liberals do. Lying through his scandal-plagued teeth, he said people on the left want everyone to “have an equal, mediocre salary.”

Well, of course no one wants that, and no one wants the government to enforce some kind of standard of income equality. What we want, besides the obvious equality of opportunity for those willing to seize it—and besides a strong safety net for those who can’t work or who have fallen or will fall through the cultural cracks—is an economic system that rewards hard work with at least enough money to pursue some Founders-ordained happiness, including a decent place to live, healthful food, and access to affordable health care.

And we want a tax system that attempts to mitigate the damage being done to the country by an over-concentration of wealth in the hands of a small minority of Americans, as demonstrated so well by this video (h/t to : Jo Ann Brown):

4 Comments

  1. Based on the one part of the clip that showed dates, I think it was constructed two years ago. If that’s true, then the wealth inequality is even worse than the chart shows. The S&P500 index is up 35% in that two years! 35%!

    Frankly, I don’t see the problem as people starving in the streets Not yet, anyway. Just leaving aside the issue of unfairness, which is what really comes through in the clip, and justifiably so, the real problem is the diminishing ability of the middle class to save for the future, and that most prominently means retirement and healthcare, including of course continuing care in old age. It is nothing less than shocking how the GOP is ignoring that reality, not to mention that so many of the public are accepting their demagoguery. It’s a train wreck in slow motion.

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  2. Jim,Ii’m not sure it’s a train wreck – it could be the disintegration of the world economy! the last time such an uneven distribution of wealth existed, if I remember my history correctly, was in the late middle ages until about the 16th century…..we all know what happened to “equalize” that inequity.

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    • For uneven distribution of wealth, I can think of a time much later than the middle ages, Nagarjuna. Check out the Gilded Age That was a mere century ago and one of the foremost reformers of the time was Teddy Roosevelt.

      The major difference between then and now, however, is the role of the working class. Then, industry depended on lots of American labor, and thus the union movement was empowered. Now, the labor is largely off shore and even that is rapidly being replaced by machines and computers.

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  3. Duane,

    Came across this today and thought it pertinent to your point here. It’s an interesting perspective coming as it does from the ordinarily right-leaning Forbes magazine:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2014/02/16/the-u-s-middle-class-is-turning-proletarian/

    Enjoy,

    Herb

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