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What Do Americans Think About Economic Inequality?


What Do Americans Think About Economic Inequality?

Lawrence Wittner

Are Americans disturbed about growing economic inequality in the United States?


Our language uses barbed words like “greed” and “envy” to great effect. By contrast, “fairness” is ridiculed. It might just be time to “kill the messenger.”


Even so, when the electioneering is over, will the U.S. government really take action to promote greater economic equality? That’s anyone’s guess. But it’s clearly what most Americans want.

sure that’s why we get TPPed and the extreme court will decide a case that could kill unions.


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You and Ando attempt to make the case for the problem of power into what working people think.

This view grants no witness to:

  1. The fact that courts rule in favor of business moguls and grant citizens no legal agency
  2. A phenomenal amount of macho muscle is taught to follow orders and some of it, of late, schooled in urban warfare… the Black community appears to be Ground Zero in this gradually unleashed protocol
  3. Big Money is pushing trade agreements that leave citizens’ wishes and requirements totally out of the calculus
  4. Today’s power bastions are corporations whose scope is global: that means the problems confronted by our citizens are similar to those underway in other lands

And when you both talk about the Class Struggle, and emphasize the need for solidarity between lower and middle class workers (a misdiagnose of what’s really happening), neither mentions that inside a make-war nation like the U.S. a high percentage of those jobs that still exist inside “The Homeland” (that are not at fast food worker salaries) happen to exist within the framework of the Military-Industrial Complex.

When millions of workers have no job choice apart from some MIC adjunct or McDonalds, many will choose the former in order to survive. Ditto applies to all the guys and now gals employed by any number of arms of “Law enforcement.”

So a significant portion of the labor pool is turned into Gestapos for the State. Tie your class struggle rhetoric to this very obvious logistical item!

You sound like people who study Marx to appear textbook Leftist so that you can use Marxist arguments to hide the truths of our times by turning everything into a class struggle when that is only part of what’s going on today.

From Ando:

“Until we in the working class come to see the capitalist class and its politician-lackeys as our mortal enemies, we will continue to lose ground – in a withering of democratic institutions, an increasingly exploitative economy, a more militarized domestic police force, a more ignorant corporatized mass media. Until we come to recognize the Empire as our enemy.”

This is a very strange and CONTORTED attempt to turn the we, working class citizens into those who have exploited the economy, militarized the police, and become–ourselves–that empire.

While Ando tries to demarcate the working class, by reverting to the WE-frame, he purposely glosses over the distinction between those who have the power to militarize the police, turn our nation into a military empire, and oppress the working classes (among others).

This kind of writing attempts to wed observations raised by persons like myself–about Power’s current trespasses–into a pre-existing narrative: that taken roughly from Karl Marx. However, since it’s likely that Ando is one of the forum posters committed to retaining that uniform WE frame that exists to cloud distinctions between those with power (the 1%) and those without, by suggesting that the same WE making policy is the WE on its receiving end, he makes a crude attempt at merging one with the other.

Broken down, the “solidarity” such writing (and the intent behind it) calls for is that of identifying with existing power structures.

This is like suggesting that it was the common people, not the church-state authority figures who made the Inquisition.

That which is IMPOSED (through cultural indoctrination, religious false witness, economic carrots, sticks and restraints, legal penalties, and full-scale propagandistic campaigns) can hardly be described as consent… on the part of the governed. Of course ALL of that is glossed over to push this idea that WE decide, and that within the existing system WE are part of this empire-building crap and WE are behind the agenda that elites put into place.

Until there is a true separation between what is being executed without the public’s consent, all of these wounded attempts at taking ownership of it is in my view, a way of maintaining it.

If human nature is violent, war becomes natural and “we” are all to blame.

If U.S. empire is the product of U.S. citizens’ actual wishes and consent, then we ALL are guilty. And guilt tends to grind all things to a halt. It’s not productive.

That widely-held stance (of indoctrination) plays on the whole Judeo-Christian passion play that holds that each person is a guilty sinner. THAT mindset helped to build and keep in place the armed and dangerous hierarchies (so many connected to aristocratic families and/or political dynasties) that LORD power over people as they always have with rare pulses of liberation bursting out now and again.

What value is a statement: “Empire is our enemy”? Who makes for this empire. What use is a frame like “enemy” other than coaxing people to FIGHT back.

This sounds like agent provocateur pabulum. How would the common person fight an enemy? And if the purpose of such an admonishment is to shift understanding, why the belabored attempts to use the WE frame which pushes the idea that the citizen AND the “empire” are one.



I would posit this question to those that would blame “we the people” for their docility and apathy as those in power destroy the commons , or communities, and our environment in that pursuit of ever more wealth and ever more power.

If the people were so apathetic and docile, why are BILLIONS being spent on Militaries and Police forces to keep them in place? Why is there something called “Homeland Security” and “The patriot act” ? Why is TPP negotiated on in secret? Why will the media fire reporters that do not champion the message of “Capitalism and the Free market” ? Why is there millions being spent to lobby Governments not to allow labeling of food stuffs or millions poured into the coffers of Politicians so as to have them overturn local bans against fracking.?

Why are Environmental groups spied on? Why are they passing laws so as to make Unions even harder to form with things called “right to work” ? Why did the CIA implement project mockingbird and the FBI run its Counter Intel pro program?

The list is endless but the reason WHY is the same to each and every question. Those in power fear the people and know that if the people knew the truth that power would be at risk. If it was truly an apathetic and uncaring population they would nto be spending these billions of dollars to keep those people in the dark and to ensure they can never learn the truth.

Yes there are some that get it and credit should go to them but the finger of condemnation should be pointed at the people in power rather then at those who do not yet get it and those that do get it should do all the can to open the eyes of a few more of their fellow citizens rather than make them out as the cause of the problem.

Those in power KNOW that an enlightened population is the solution to the world we devolve towards which is why they invest so heavily in countering any other narrative. These people in power LOVE their money. They would not spend on on things they did not feel they had to in order to preserve their wealth and power and the fact is they invest great sums of money at every level of Government to ensure the people are not privy to the truth because it works. It works because if the people do not know they can not act on what they do not know.

Added to that those in power know that the masses of people for the most part are decent people at heart. One common trait of many decent people is they believe others are decent as well. Those in power take advantage of that because they lack any decency.


Why is it that whenever anyone speaks up here and says “We must fight back!”, the are immediately denounced by a chorus accusing them of “Blaming the people!”?

OK, so how do we fight back?


Notice the awakening that goes on? it of people who are fianlly seeing through all the illusions that have been created over 40 plus years. It can not be turned around in a year.


If you mean “Notice the awakening that goes on [when every poster who asserts a need to fight back, or names ideas for fighting back, is swiftly and repeatedly accused of “blaming the people” and being an agent provocateur]?” then no, i certainly do not notice any awakening promoted by that incessant practice here.

But maybe that’s not what you meant.


Don’t know about ridiculed, since fairness has been experimentally demonstrated to be the principle interpersonal desideratum all around the world, regardless of class. The rich tend to define it differently, but even they value it.


You should, though, because “learned helplessness” has been demonstrated not merely in humans, but a number of other mammalian species as well. It’s a very powerful inhibitor.


Unlikely. FDR wouldn’t even do it with Huey Long frequently ripping a strip off of him for his unwillingness. Huey got 7% buy-in to his Share Our Wealth program. That’s an enormous response, given that 2% is considered big. Even that didn’t motivate FDR, who instead did some blue-smoke-and-mirrors.


One word explanation: trolls.


That was the quote from the article, Did you read my response?


How can wealth be distributed more equally when the wealthy do the distributing?


Yes, I did, though I thought the quote was part of your response. We seem to have a cynical outlook in common on the issue, though perhaps for different reasons.


I honestly don’t believe research would support your view.

There are so many malignant forces acting on us that our individual personalities–which are broadly the same personalities that Europeans, Africans, Asians, and everyone else have–get bent out of shape and submerged. Something like the way the Greenland ice sheet depresses the land mass. Take away those forces and our personalities will be more free to respond to reality, just as removing the ice (Goddess forfend!) would cause the land mass to decompress and rise.


Here’s something i posted in the Canadian Climate Justice thread, that gives some idea of what i think of when i think of steps toward fighting back:

“Mass movement, mass mobilization, broad and deep solidarity, risk and resistance, civil disobedience, civil resistance. Feed each other, take care of each other, face the extractivist monster and all its tentacles. Join the movement in your community, support the people on the front lines, support indigenous communities, support all the species of the Earth. Feed each other, take care of each other, broad and deep solidarity. Crazy times are not coming, crazy times are here. How will you respond? How will we respond?”

The practice in these threads, of accusing anyone who asks such a question: “How will we respond?” of “blaming the people,” is disempowering. It appears to be intentionally disempowering.

It is intended to train our minds to see any effort to organize popular power as “blaming the people.”

It is intended to stop us from considering what we might do, and instead wallow in our powerlessness.

i believe we might actually benefit from considering: What might we do?

i have much respect for the organizers of today’s Canadian day of action for Jobs, Justice, Climate. Bringing these movements together, and organizing for mass mobilization, is not “blaming the people” it is organizing to exercise popular power. We need much more of it, and we need much more discussion of it, without being immediately and disingenuously attacked.


i don’t think your statement in any way stands in contradiction to Endgame’s statement.


Symbiosis, possibly?