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Inequality Will Get Worse Until There’s a Revolution


#1

Inequality Will Get Worse Until There’s a Revolution

Bob Lord

Imagine, after a deep sleep, you suffered the fate of Rip Van Winkle and woke in the spring of 2040. What might you find?

Among other things, maybe a presidential candidate railing against America’s concentration of wealth. Except this time, it’s not the 1 percent that owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent — it’s the top hundredth of a percent.

Could it get that bad? Yes, quite easily. In fact, that nightmare is already on the way.


#2

People in other nations take to the streets rather quickly in protest over matters of injustice, as witnessed recently in Costa Rica, Iceland, Great Britain, and some other nations. Since the Vietnam era Americans have not staged large demonstrations, and one wonders what conditions it will take for large numbers to become enraged to the degree that they will protest. Occupy, in which I participated, and Democracy Spring were not on a large scale compared to some of the protest movements in other nations. As long as the American people are docile and accept conditions as they are, not much will change.


#3

When the pension check doesn't show up. But, that would be for the wrong reason.


#4

Perhaps what is needed is that there should be a mass demonstration at the democratic convention in July ?

Occupy the convention to force the super delegates to represent the will of the people (including the independent voters) and to stop them from continued participation in this rigged game!

Occupy the convention - Save our democracy!


#5

"In 1992, when Bill Clinton first found America’s wealth concentration unacceptable, the average person in the top hundredth of a percent was about 1,100 times wealthier than the average person in the bottom 90 percent. By 2012, the most recent year for which statistics are available, that ratio had quadrupled, to approximately 4,500 times."

His remedy? To make sure that he and Hillary joined that 1%...


#7

Bill Clinton, the candidate, may have lamented inequality, but as president, he wasted no time in making it worse. Hillary will likely follow in his footsteps. Witness how she had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to even mention $15 an hour as a minimum wage. At $15 an hour, it would take well over 18,000 hours of work for someone to make as much as she made in ONE speech. Her preferred 12$ an hour minimum wage would make that almost 23,000 hours of work to acquire and, of course, that assumes no deductions for taxes or money spent for living expenses. The day of reckoning for the two party system and it's "let the peasants eat cake" attitude is long overdue.


#8

We shouldn't need a revolution to make those changes in tax policy. The top rate has increased since Obama took office and that needs to keep being raised. I guess the taxes on capital gains were reduced to spur investment according to trickle down but it has resulted in taxes that are extremely unfair and trickle down is a joke. The estate tax situation also results in unfairness. Despite all the talk on Capitol Hill about reforming the tax code it never seems to happen. But there are also many other reasons for inequality that need to be clearly identified. They range from poor k-12 education in many urban and rural schools to increase in education and skills in developing countries with low wages. Automation has also played a role as computers and robots replace people with good paying jobs. Union busting has also played a large role. The bottom line is that the US has millions of people who are pretty conservative which makes it hard to reduce inequality through the political process. These conservatives give politicians who are protecting the wealthy a large voter base making it hard for progressive politicians to get much done.


#9

Once Americans connect and understand that neoliberalism is the DNC and austerity is its product, change will not come.


#10

Probably the Atlantic ocean starting to lap around my feet.


#11

Some thoughts on the likely final delegate totals at that convention are here.


#12

...and they won't give any of it up either without a fight...in the streets.


#13

Good one!


#14

Bob Lord ends with:
"Possible? Yes, but it will take a revolution."

i appreciate Lord's assertion that only a revolution can address the gross "income inequality" and "wealth disparity" that epitomize the intentional structure of the present-day economy.

But any such revolution needs to go beyond the adjustments to tax policy that Lord proposes:

  • "abandon the policy of taxing investment income... far less heavily than income from labor"
  • "increase the top marginal income tax rate substantially for those with huge incomes"
  • "loopholes in the estate tax system... must be closed and the top estate tax rate increased"

We need to go deeper than restructuring tax policy. We need to restructure the "ownership" of land, "resources," and labor.

Who "owns" any piece of land? What is the history of "title" to that "property"? It all goes to seizure, theft, "enclosure," and colonization. Can we take an entire construct built on criminal looting, operated by and for the criminal looter class, and make it "just" for everyone, by ad-just-ing tax policy?

We need to go deeper, to the legacies of "discovery," colonialism, and "primitive accumulation" that form the foundations of "the economy."

The looting class now claims "ownership" of DNA and life forms. The looting class now claims "ownership" of minerals in the asteroid belt. The claims of the looting class will stop at nothing. The entire construct must be stopped. The foundation must be unbuilt, the roots uprooted, of this "looters claim" to "own" everything.


#15

Correct. As long as there a system in place where a resource can be deemed MINE to the exclusion of all others and that resource is what provides the necessities of life , than we will have inequality as there only one MINE and there 7 billion plus other people and the rest of the natural world . Every living thing on this planet has to be considered.

Of all the teachings we receive, this one is most important: Nothing belongs to you of what there is, of what you take, you must share.

Chief Dan George


#16

Of course Bill Clinton mentioned the inequality but did he do anything to stop it, has Hillary?
Read a new article on Salon.com by Paul Rosenburg called Clintonism Screwed the Democrats How Bill, Hillary and the Democratic Leadership Council Gutted Progressivism." It's an eye opener for Hillary voters too as it traces back to the march to the right of the Dems. Which is why they lost in 2010 (Obama is this kind of Dem) and why Hillary will lose against Trump.


#17

The pressure on society will only increase with the impact of climate change and something will have to give. Clearly, none of the world's present political and economic systems is capable of the kind of century- and millennia-long planning that is essential to the survival of mankind in anything like its present numbers. Obviously, the current massive inequality is completely counter-productive in terms of that goal since it places so much decision-making power in the hands of stupid rich people and their lackeys.

Mr. Lord's very reasonable proposals are all well and good, but will not appease millions facing the famines and disruption created by a drastically changed climate.


#18

Interesting speech given by one of the 1/10 of 1% members saying that it would benefit everyone if the minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour. Google "Nick Hanauer ---Plutocrat predicts the pitchforks are coming".


#19

You're actually right for once. We shouldn't need a revolution, but since people like you keep voting for neoliberals like Hillary we do.


#20

In 2002 and early 2003, there were huge demonstrations opposing the coming Iraq war. The Bush regime ignored them. Obama took office in 2009 and his followers mostly disbanded. Occupy, in 2011, was brutally crushed by Obama using the CIA, FBI, Fusion centers, and heavily-militarized police using infiltrators.

1960s-style demonstrations (I participated in many) no longer work to stop the killer corporate state.

Only a general strike has a chance to slow down the murderous Empire.


#21

Yes, if we're going to have a revolution, I think more than a change in tax policy is in order.