The Bigger Picture Part I
Recently I wrote some blog articles about the growing and
dangerous disparity of wealth and incomes in
I was called names like ‘socialist’ and ‘communist’ by many readers simply because I had pointed out that present-day measures of incomes and wealth were similar (and even worse than) those that preceded the trust-busting era near the turn of the last century, and that conservatives and liberals had to join forces to come up with ways to minimize these disparities before our society imploded.
In the aftermath of the Zimmerman trial, I view the unbelievable outcry from the ignorant crowds following the corrupt race baiters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to be a symptom of both the disintegration of our society caused by income and wealth disparity, and of our need to apply both liberal and conservative measures to improve the lives and the opportunities for young, black men. It is not white men that black men have to fear, but black men who were fatherless children and who have no good jobs or job opportunities; whites need to fear them too.
It was greatly disappointing that President Obama chose to speak so little of this side of things, but instead fed the nonsense that profiling and white vigilantes pose a major problem for African-Americans. What poses major problems for African-Americans is ordinary life and the poverty and the inequality that come with it.
The kind of inequality, which I mentioned above, was a fact of life at the turn of the last century. It led to the trust-busting that made Teddy Roosevelt a hero, and to the breakup of Standard Oil and of the US Steel Company. Inequality peaked in 1928 and then ameliorated greatly up until the late 1970’s, when it began to reverse and take on steam. The income inequality ratios that existed in the 1920’s have returned and exist today. One example of this is that average CEO pay was 40 X average factory pay in 1976. In 2008, average CEO pay was 400 X average factory pay. This is immoral and unsustainable, and is one of the reasons why real wages have declined steadily from 1976 through the present day.
In 2007 the richest 1% of the American population owned 34.6% of the country's total wealth, and the next 19% owned 50.5%. Thus, the top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country's wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 15%. Even more shocking is the fact that the bottom 40% of Americans (that’s 128 million Americans) own just 3/10’s of 1% of the nation’s wealth, and many of them have negative wealth.
What Are The Reasons For This?
I understand that there are other factors such as globalization and technological changes, but the above four factors are somewhat within the power of American voters to change, if liberals and conservatives can manage to make compromises and work together.
Labels: Wealth Inequality