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Inequality’s Getting Worse. How Do We End This?


#1

Inequality’s Getting Worse. How Do We End This?

Richard Eskow

On July 1, at the start of the Independence Day weekend, we learned that income inequality in this country became even worse last year.

Economic inequality produces scars that last a lifetime – and even longer. That’s one reason why President Obama said in 2013 that “increasing inequality … challenges the very essence of who we are as a people.”


#2

"Economic inequality produces scars that last a lifetime – and even longer. That’s one reason why President Obama said in 2013 that “increasing inequality … challenges the very essence of who we are as a people.”

The above reminds me of the comment (I don't have the QUOTE handy) where Obama waxes lyrical about some distant future without nuclear weapons while addressing the people of Japan.

What do both quotes have in common? An IMPOSSIBLE disconnect.

To those who still believe that The U.S. Presidency, rather than the Deep State, controls policy, how pathetic can it be for the President to speak in this passive voice as if he has no agency or influence over the trends that guarantee poverty and income inequality along with continued amassing of nuclear weapons?

One cannot help but feel absolutely disgusted with the masquerades that pass themselves off as leadership.

I am sick of it. And so are millions of others!

Obama pretends to be a mere spectator!

Imagine if JFK or RFK had lived... how do readers suppose THEY would deal with the police brutality epidemic that results in near 100% impunity for blatant crimes?

Or about the inequality... the natural outcome of deregulation and its reverberations across most employment spheres and sectors.

About the abject lack of leadership with respect to the increasing threats of climate chaos?

And the spreading wars...


#3

Two keys are missing from your analysis, Mr. Eskow.

First, the Conservative policies of people like Reagan and Thatcher didn't just emerge from a vacuum. They are the fruit of two things:

A. Funding from lobbyists who prop up those politicians who will do the bidding of the rich/corporations
B. Funding to think tanks that gave Conservative Ideology the imprimatur of being wise, sound, and good for the nation.

How then, can the monetary influence (much of it achieved through stealth) that's worked to put unfair policies into place be countered? It's not like "we" can just "do this."

WE can't get our preferred candidate elected.

We can't determine what's in our foods.

WE can't get assault weapons off the streets.

WE can't read the TPP and TIPP or vote--via referendum--on either.

So it's very romantic to talk about all the groovy things that "we" can do... however, the System has been Captured and until that capture is somehow reversed, none of this is going to be possible:

"What can we do to reduce inequality and heal some of its deep, long-lasting wounds? Here’s a partial list: We can increase funds for antipoverty programs that provide food, shelter, and other services directly to the poor. We can improve our educational system and provide tuition-free public college to all qualified students. We can address the systemic racial injustice that deprives communities of color of economic resources. We can raise the minimum wage, which has fallen far behind inflation (and even farther behind productivity) since 1968. ($15 an hour is a good number.)"

P.S.... There has been some progress made through organized efforts on the minimum wage item.


#4

Conceptually its all a very simple wealth transfer scheme that creates the illusion of two parties to distract the 98% of the voters vote for the two parties from paying attention to the actual work being done by the corporations and the politicians they own, namely wealth transfer that "ends" when the 1% own everything and the 99% own nothing.

Can you say neofeudalism ?

Historically symptoms of inequality like racism, sexism and other antisocial behavior rises with income and wealth inequality. The July 1 report assures that antisocial behavior will keep getting worse irrespective of any legislative or statutory band aid related to racism or other symptoms.

"How do we end this?"

As long as it is legal for any politician to get money from anybody (including themselves) to campaign it will never end.
100% public financing of campaigns and elections is the only solutions. "Campaign finance reform" has always been a shell game at best.


#5

How do we end this?

Solidarity, resistance, confrontation, uproar, consequences.

The parasites have got to have "their" looted wealth removed from their hands. It will not happen through some clean friendly process that does not disrupt our lives. It will be hugely disruptive.


#7

I like the "Mr. Robot" solution. Money is only an electronic abstraction (unless one has none). Hack the bastards and redistribute the trillions to everyone else on the planet (as far as is electronically possible). Turn the uber-wealthy into the poor, and the poor into the middle class, and let's see those newly poor try to beg indulgences as they, for the first time, have to scrape for enough food to survive. Once they are poor, they are, in their own parlance, no longer worthwhile human beings and deserve nothing from the rest of us. Let them starve.


#8

Yes, it's getting way worse and the newly crowned Prez will surely help it on it's way in spite of the common knowledge that the policies are failed and create instability in a country with such extremes.
" dooms millions to poverty or near-impoverished conditions, and offends that part of the human spirit that constantly searches for fairness and equality. An overly unequal society like ours is inherently unstable." It offends the human spirit in ways that kills hope and a vision of a future. The Millennials are suffering from this now, that's why Bernie's message resonated with them and many older people retiring without enough to live on.
Injustice and inequality offend my spirit and always has. The news of Clinton walking free offends me deeply, it's so wrong.
Bernie has been right on all these issues and I for one will never stop fighting to change them
Never Hillary


#9

I think $15 makes sense in cities where rent is expensive like San Francisco and New York. In areas that are more rural and lower income, then I think anything upwards of $10-11.00 is decent.


#10

A+ for creativity and ORIGINAL thinking... all too lacking in these comment threads. (And far more interesting and compelling that the favored Yang term and premise: FIGHTING back.)


#12

"Our 35-year experiment with conservative economics has failed."

Repeat, repeat repeat.


#13

We could end inequality and more by removing all barriers to voter initiatives and binding referendums.


#15

No, Ronny Reagan took office in 1981, not 1980.

Tiny mistake but annoying to see it, there weren't special rules for the Reagan inauguration date.


#16

That's close to a living wage, outside of say NY, LA, or SF.


#19

Socialism or barbarism. Still the only choices.


#20

Hahahahaha! $15 an hour in San Francisco!? I made more than 5 times that and had to take out payday loans to afford groceries before I finally managed to escape that ripoff town.


#25

The one and only thing that we can actually change is our vote.
Continuing to vote the lesser of two evils will only get more and more evil.
Stop voting Republican or Democrat . . . . vote any other choice but stop supporting delusions that are sold to you through Mass Media.


#26

Figure a budget that includes a sensible savings plan plus health insurance premiums for a family of four in a modestly safe neighborhood . Imagine a salary that would support this budget while leaving time for parents to properly raise and enjoy their children and their own time to recreate. Add it up for 12 month period. Divide by total hours from fifty 40 hour weeks. Maybe that's a fair minimum wage....for starters....


#27

I see the usual amount of liberal complaining in this article, some of which is irrelevant to the subject of the article, or mostly so.

Before the midpoint of the article author Richard Eskow wrote "Inequality interferes with economic growth, robs people of opportunity (and with it, hope), dooms millions to poverty or near-impoverished conditions,..."
-- This neglects that the normal condition of man for thousands of years has been poverty, and that in absolute terms the average poor person today enjoys a better life than Queen Victoria did. (Queen Victoria lost her cousin to childbirth mortality, and her husband to typhoid. Victoria never had air conditioning, a TV, or an Obamaphone, etc., Only one recording of her voice exists, and it is such poor quality that what was said can't be made out.)
-- And we must note that the Greens among us, with their talk of 'degrowth', want all of us to live in 'genteel' poverty, 'choosing' to live without conveniences, such as air-conditioning.

We need to understand that the problem is less that 99% of us live in hardship, it is that 1% live in such luxury and comfort that we 99% strongly begrudge it.


At the end of the article Richard Eskow wrote "before income inequality – and the loss of democracy that accompanies it – grows so great that it becomes irreversible."
-- Not to worry. At a sufficiently great inequality (and non-democratic policy blunder) one of Karl Marx's "inevitable laws of history" kicks in, and the 1% get violently overthrow by the masses, maybe a la French Revolution.


#30

You cast your real votes in the marketplace, not the ballot box.

Vote at the ballot box to feel good. Vote with your dollars and feet to create change.


#31

Back in l990 I wrote a futuristic novel where there was a wealth/ownership cap. I prefer THAT. This novel also had a Time Bank and I'd never heard of the concept... apparently it's a Hundredth Monkey item since another writer or two had almost synchronously come up with this same concept.

I don't think too many fast food restaurants or mom and pop retail stores can handle wages that high.

I also think the whole evaluating life through the prism of dollars or what money can buy is a passe concept that needs to be replaced with different standards of happiness and well-being. That we must all cut back in the ways that we tax the Great Mother/Nature.