From Mother Jones: It’s the Inequality, Stupid. These graphs and charts are certainly illuminating. I don’t agree with the assertion that they reveal everything that’s wrong with the US, but they certain show a whole lot. Land of equality? Only in the American Mythology that’s taught as “social studies” in our schools.
This next one is based on 2007 data, so
it doesn’t reflect the full impact of the housing bust.
In 2007, the bottom 60% of Americans had 65% of their net worth tied up in their homes. The top 1%, in contrast, had just 10%. The housing crisis has no doubt further swelled the share of total net worth held by the superrich.
Where have recent economic gains gone? Who has benefitted from them?
Once again, it’s the rich… and not just the rich, but the super-duper rich. It certainly isn’t me, and I’m a whole lot better off than many.
How much money are you worth? Not much. If you add up the net worth of the 10 richest members of Congress (all of whom voted to extend the Bush tax cuts, btw), you get $2.8 billion. That’s billion with a B. Can’t imagine how much that is? Triple this, for an idea.
Okay, so we have vast inequalities in income, net worth, and salaries. Surely our taxes are more equitable, right? Nope.
Our loss. Their gain.
Was your income handed over to the top 1%? Probably.
These people to whom the wealth of The Other 80% (you know, regular ordinary Americans, like you) has been distributed are the very ones you hear arguing so vociferously against Obama’s plans.
- "That’s socialism!" they shout.
- Distribution of wealth is wrong!
- Why should I give up my hard-earned money to help some loser who can’t find a job?
- No entitlement programs!
Undercover Nun is torn between wanting to weep and wanting to vomit. Distribution of wealth only seems to be wrong when it’s taken from the rich, not when it flows to them. And the word entitlement, when applied to disability income, retirement income, unemployment income, health care assistance, food stamps, and so many other programs, is deceitful.
I am a disabled person, and I struggle to make ends meet. I’m fortunate enough to be able to continue to work part-time, for an employer who gives me flexibility and excellent pay. But I don’t choose to be disabled, and I certainly don’t believe that being disabled entitles me to anything any more than I believe that being fully-abled entitles you to anything! But we allow the rich to label these as entitlements, when they are using the language to diminish those among us who are most vulnerable, to avoid having to give up some of the money to which they believe themselves entitled.
Truly, Americans are a stiff-necked people, and the prophets(*) among us go mostly unheard. It’s not so much about the debt ceiling. It’s not even so much about the military or the natural parks or the interstate system or any one program. It’s about justice.
Justice is love in community. Justice means ensuring that all persons have equal access to the good things in life. The good things in life start with those things necessary to sustain life (e.g., clean water, clean air, sufficient nutrition, adequate health care) and include more intangible things, like education, faith (or no faith), and meaningful employment.
The US is not a nation of justice.
May God have mercy on our souls.
(*) That’s prophets in a Judeo-Christian sense, meaning those who speak with God’s voice. This is not to be confused with oracle, which is someone who predicts the future. Prophets often speak in an if-then construct, which can cause this confusion, but they are not predictors of the future.