Sunday, November 29, 2015
The Rich Get Richer And Everyone Else Fights For Crumbs
The cartoon above (from capitalismisover.com) is humorous, and it has a good point -- the gap in wealth is much greater than many would have us believe. For instance, the Oxfam charities announced last January that in 2016 the richest 1% will have more wealth than everyone else in the world (the bottom 99%). That 1% will control more than half of all the wealth in the world.
I don't know about you, but I don't think that's a fair division of wealth. And sadly, it gets worse every year. How much of the world's wealth are we going to let the rich amass?
And don't make the mistake of thinking that's only a problem for poor countries. The United States, the richest country in the world, has the worst wealth inequality of any developed nation (and many third world nations).
Note the chart below, where it shows that the bottom 90% of Americans share only 25% of the nation's wealth, while the top 10% are hogging 75% of the wealth. In fact, that top 10% has more wealth (75%) than the bottom 99% of Americans (57%).
It wasn't always this way. But in the 1980's the Republicans were able to institute their "trickle-down" economic policy -- a policy that favored the rich and penalized everyone else. They told us that everyone would do better if we made the rich even richer. They lied. The rich have gotten much richer, while most Americans have not (and too many have dropped out of the middle class, and many have even sunk into poverty).
It's not that hard to understand why. As the share of the pie grows for the rich, there is less for everyone else to divide up. They told us the pie would grow larger, and it has. But their economic policy has allowed the rich to take an even greater portion of that larger pie.
Trickle-down economics has been an enormous success for the rich, but it has been an abysmal failure for the bottom 90%. And unless we change that policy, things will just continue to grow worse -- turning us into a nation of "haves" and "have-nots". Because it grows worse with each passing year.
This makes it essential to vote the Republicans out of power in 2016. They have blocked every attempt to return this nation to a fairer economic policy -- one that provides opportunity and a decent standard of living to all Americans. They have made it clear they have no intention of abandoning their favoritism for the rich. And they have made it clear they oppose any policy that would help the bottom 90% to do better.
How can this be changed (once we vote the GOP out of power)? We could make a good start by raising the minimum wage to a livable wage, strengthen unions to bargain for other workers, raise the income tax on the rich by a small margin, make corporations pay their fair share of taxes (by eliminating subsidies and loopholes), stop giving a tax break to corporations that send American jobs to low-wage countries, tax all income equally (without a lower Capital gains rate for the rich), and severely penalize the rich and corporations who hide money in other countries to avoid taxes.
We can fix the economy and promote a more equal distribution of wealth by instituting a fairer economic policy -- but it can't be done as long as the Republicans control either house of Congress.