Now let me see if I get this right. One out of 100 Americans get 99% of the gains in income while 99 out of 100 Americans get 1% of the gains in income since 2010. And Republicans and Conservatives don’t see a problem with that?
Columnist Kathleen Parker wrote in a strange fit of illogic this week that “99.9% of Americans . . . like income inequality. This is because we value merit, talent, and hard work and all people aspire to be commensurately rewarded.” So, 99.9% of my readers and the illogical general public out there believe they are worth only 1% or less of income growth now and in the future? If so many of us are being “commensurately rewarded” in this situation; then we are literally not worth shit!”
And yes, cow and pig dung is very good to put on farm fields in late winter or spring to spur growth—it has real value above that of what Parker says we want, even if it is rather unpleasant to our olfactory nerves. So Kathleen that leaves 99.9% satisfied with this valuation of their own relative merit, talent, and hard work as she has defined it. Well honey that is more than counting Americans out. It is downright insulting.
Ms. Parker goes on to suggest, nay to declare openly, that redistribution of even a small portion of what the wealthiest Americans have must mean having some form of absolute income equality. That takes us in the opposite direction, and an equally off target illogical assessment of what is wanted and needed by most Americans.
The terms Income Inequality and Redistribution scare conservatives shitless. Perhaps they could have some those cows and pigs make so abundantly? If we pursue raising the minimum wage significantly, (10 to 15 dollars an hour), a much more limited solution than having every American worker have Union representation and collective bargaining rights in the workplace, people will live further above the poverty level and have more of what they desperately need and not too much of what people dream of having.
That would stimulate a great deal of demand from a slack, demand starved economy, and force employers to hire at all levels to meet that increased demand for their products and services. That is where the jobs are Mr. Boehner. They have been there all along yet you pretend not to know. Infrastructure improvements to our road, rail, and air travel networks, along with real cyber security and a safer and more modern and efficient power grid, repair of bridges that are about to fall down, all need a major facelift greater than Joan River’s!
Income inequality my conservative, misguided, and overly worried about the march of Socialism into your very beds tonight friends, is something felt and that has a real impact on children and their parents and what they can do to succeed. At present, far too many of our kids are going to bed hungry because mommy and daddy cannot earn enough even with Food Stamps and managing the situation brilliantly to produce any other outcome.
If we were to look at the wages of good, Union supported jobs in the moderate Eisenhower Republican 1950’s and put that in terms of today’s earning power, the new condition of things would be profound. Oddly, at that time both personal and corporate tax rates were much, much higher and yet a small number of Americans still were able then as now to get filthy rich and have most of the dough. Now, Ms. Parker, in THAT situation having enough to eat, to purchase clothing, decent housing, support by taxes better schools and infrastructure, and to send that first child to college and train the young for these good jobs that compete with our world would be a shining reality. We would not constantly be talking of the hundreds of billions of dollars that go to the least fortunate in our society; we would need far less for that!
And incredibly, the strong Unions of that era did not destroy middle class families, they made them.
This sleight of hand by conservatives does not want you to see that while Food Stamps and Medicare and Social Security face cuts, the hundreds of billions more that go to personal tax subsidies from the worthless 1% to pay taxes to our wealthiest people and companies that often do not need them to turn a more than acceptable profit. This magician’s trick is the heart of how our government does not work. It is as if there is nothing to question ethically about it when it is a deep moral question of the first order.
This income inequality problem has real consequences for millions of Americans and they are all bad. Our children, those precious ones, need enough food to eat to grow up healthy and productive workers with the education to have more relative merit than cow shit.
That communitarian statement by the Jimmy Stewart character in the 1939 Frank Capra classic film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, about America being a place where the kids could get a try to clean up the mess our politicians—the adults have made of things– and a nation where there is a good deal of “just plain looking out for the other guy too,” might return. That 1939 film was made in part to shake the fist at the world’s Fascist dictatorships and show what made the United States better and something that met the needs of all our people and not just some. In fact, it should be time to dust off that old flick and show it to a new generation—the Millennials. They will quickly see it is not a movie that is old fashioned beyond the obvious thing that it is from long ago and seemingly someone else’s galaxy far away that operates just like the mob inside the beltway and their K Street lobbyists and donors do now, so the 20 something’s will discover that world is just like their own.
Dr. Thomas Martin Sobottke
for Struggles for Justice
“Speaking for the Voiceless, Protecting the Vulnerable”