Sunday, June 29, 2008

Unequal America

Unequal America
By Jerome Grossman

We pride ourselves as the prime purveyors of equality, the distinguishing characteristic of Democracy. More than a century ago, in 1879, Matthew Arnold reminded us that “Inequality has the natural and necessary effect, under the present circumstances, of materializing our upper class, vulgarizing our middle class, and brutalizing our lower class.”

The Wall Street Journal tells us that “The gap between the winners and losers in the US is growing…… that even excluding capital gains, 75% of the pretax income growth (in years 2002 – 2006) went to the best-off 1% of American families.”

Harvard Magazine features a study entitled “Unequal America, the growing gap”, relating inequality of income to the US decrease in life expectancy in absolute terms and in comparison to other nations. Harvard University, with its endowment of some $35 billion, is surely expert in inequality

Warren Buffett, patron saint of American capitalism, repeatedly expresses his personal guilt at the injustice of his secretary paying her income tax at a rate much higher than he pays on his billion-dollar income. Does this astute collector of insurance companies’ sense a potential revolt of the 99% against the one percent, remembering 1789, 1917, and 1948?

We are currently engaged in a great political battle to determine the direction of our great nation. But the basic question about fair distribution of the economic benefits of our enormously wealthy society is not being seriously addressed. How does inequality affect our national health, our rate of crime, our pursuit of happiness, our level of education, our economic productivity? And above all, what does it portend for the future of our prized Democracy.

When some Americans earn billions, their taxes, their fair share of the cost of maintaining our society-must rise dramatically. When some Americans earn less than a poverty wage, their benefits must rise dramatically. In a stable society in which the rich can enjoy their wealth, in which all will have sufficient benefits to motivate support for that society, some form of redistribution of income will be necessary. But we may not have to put a camel through the eye of a needle to accomplish this.

The candidates for the presidency must address these basic questions. Their supporters must demand answers. Inequality is a crisis for Democracy and the political process is the way to a solution.

1 comment:

an average patriot said...

Jerome
This is not a Democracy. it is a lie. We are living a lie. Lying is the new truth. This is a facade! Democracy and Religion is merely perverted by this mis-Administration to follow what they think is a hidden agenda!
I have been trying to tell people for many years now that absolutely 100% everything that is being allowed in America has been done with the goal of widening the gap between the haves and the have nots.
The economy that needs to totally fail and will so we will be acceptable to total control remember was under Greenspan's control. This is a humungous convoluted subject and I have discuss3d it numerous times as well as trying to alert MSM and all Senators to no avail.
Anyway this is all about to come to a head! As you know, we are in Iran trying to unseat the Government with $400 million okayed by the complicit Congress. At the same time the economy and the environment are tanking as much as we try to intervene WW3 is unfolding before us all out of the control of whoever is elected.
I listened to Barrack's speech on Patriotism today and the man if things were not controlled and underhanded will be our next President. However they are like never in our history and you better be very concerned about this fall. I will shut up! First remember this is not a Democracy or a Political process it is a facade for personal gain and the complicit media and Congress are letting them do it! Keep up the good work guys!

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