I'm writing this mostly because I'm bored, but I really want to know what you all think. The Nation's issue this week is focusing on America's astounding income inequality, and reading a couple of the articles got me thinking. Now as most of you know, I come from a very humble, low-income background, and some of you do too. And many of you are very active in that fount of good works that is PBHA. So I'm sure it pisses you off too that today, the top 0.01% "earn" 976 times more income than the bottom 90%.
In reality, as the Nation points out, we've merely recreated the same financial scenario that preceded the Great Depression. Hopefully we won't get to the depression phase because we still have some of the safeguards the New Deal put in place, but the fact is it could happen. Now, I'm no economist, but imagine what we could do to better the world if we increased taxes on the super-rich. In 2005, people making more than $1 million paid 23% of that in tax; in 1944, they paid 65% in taxes. Income for the bottom 90% has fallen since 1980, while the income of the top 1/100th of 1 percent ballooned from $5.4 million to more than $29 million. Is this fair? I don't think so.
It is painfully obvious we need real tax reform, and not John McCain and the Republican's usual nonsense about "lower taxes for the rich actually help poor." Because something is wrong when $4-a-gallon gas and rising food prices means my family and other poorer families spend more of the shrinking incomes just to survive, let alone have the occasional luxury. Something is wrong when hedge-fund managers or CEOs totally screw up, lose millions, if not billions of dollars, and get paid millions more to leave. How seriously f***ed up is this country when ordinary people have to slave away competently and professionally, yet still don't have enough time with their kids, don't have enough money to save, and are only one unexpected diagnosis or car crash or minor natural disaster away from complete ruin, yet some yuppie scum can be the most incompetent ass and make millions.
I, of course, place most of the blame on the Republicans. But they were and still are very complicit Democrats, who all work to gouge regulations, leading to things like sub-prime mortgage crises where people are losing their homes.
But we should also blame ourselves. After all, the farmer in Kansas, or the coal miner in Pennsylvania will not vote for Obama, even though his tax plans are so much more progressive than McCain's. But they'll fall for the Republican's shading of truths and outright lies that assuage their own biases and prejudices, and most of all, fears. They may not cling to God and guns because they're bitter, but there must be some reason they're willing to vote against their own economic interests and reward the greed of Cheney et. al.
Anyway, that's my rant for the day. I hoped you enjoyed. And more importantly, if you want to make a difference, make this nation a more fair and just society, I sincerely hope you'll look at both Obama and McCain and make the judgment for yourself as to who is more on your side, economically.