Fairness for the Have Nots

November 21st, 2011

Inspired by Three Ways to combat inequality (Larry Summers,Washington Post11/21/11 page A15).

 

Rich people, we don’t want to take all your money away,

We just don’t think it’s fair that you an ever-shrinking share pay.

 

We don’t think it’s fair you use money to stack the deck in your favor

By paying politicians to pass policies you favor.

 

The income gap will always be there,

But the least government can do is not make things even less fair.

***

From 1979 to 3007, the top 1% have seen their incomes rise 275%, while middle class incomes grew 40% and working class incomes hardly grew at all.

If income distribution had been held constant, the top 1% would be making 59% less, and the bottom 80% would be making 21% more.

Some in the top 1% (and their political and media servants) hear those figures and scream class warfare. “They want to redistribute our wealth,” they cry, even though no one has actually proposed raising their taxes to 59%.

What Occupy Wall Street and Dems have proposed (and which the overwhelming majority of Americans supports) is that government stop adding to that income/wealth imbalance by shifting tax burdens away from the wealthy to the poor and middle class, and even more importantly, stop policies (e.g. financial and consumer deregulation) that favor the super-rich at the expense of the nation as a whole.

As Dr. Summers points out, our national policies of late (i.e., Republican policies) have also contributed to the growing income gap by sawing off rungs from the ladder that Americans have traditionally used to better their financial condition, and removing the social safety net that cushions our fall when we fall off that ladder.

 

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