Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Bigger Picture Part I

Recently I wrote some blog articles about the growing and dangerous disparity of wealth and incomes in America.  My site has always taken a conservative view of issues, and my readers have considered mine to be a conservative voice.  I learned from some of the responses to these articles, however, that conservative America also has many ideologues who ignore facts and data that do not comport with their world view – as do liberals whose foolishness is destroying our culture and our cities like Detroit.

 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.

I have also noticed, over the last few years, how conservatives are much more likely to turn on Republicans they formerly supported, simply because of a single issue of disagreement.  Many former supporters of Senator Rubio, for example, have deserted him because of his stand on immigration; I disagree with him, but he is still a great senator whom I will support against any liberal Democrat.  Democrats always seem to be able to unite behind a position once their leadership has settled on it.

 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?

1.   the welfare state led to the disintegration of the African-American family.

2.   low and unskilled factory jobs have disappeared in inner cities.

3.   the wholesale decline of private sector unions.

4.   income tax rates have been cut drastically since 1981 when the highest rate was 70%.

 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.

In my next post I will explore some of those changes.



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At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

Bill O'Reilly pointed out the problems of black society and how to improve things the other night on the Factor and I have to agree with him.
People like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackass are doing nothing for the blacks. They are just using these people. These people are in it for the money. Talking about the problems is not enough.
These so called black leaders need to encourage young black women to start living a cleaner life style by abstaining from sex until they get married. Sure, the black guys are a problem, but you need to start somewhere.
Hollywood idiots and Rappers need to put out a better message for young blacks. Obama needs to stop painting blacks as victims. Instead, he should be doing something to end the drugs, gangs, and murdering that is going on in these big cities like Chicago in his own home state. He can improve the schooling for these kids by reinstating "No Child Left Behind."
So far, Bill O'Reilly has come up with a solution. It's up to the leaders in this country to make it happen.

At 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not often that I so thoroughly agree with your point of view. Your analysis of the income disparity situation in this country is spot on.

I do, however, question your view of what the president had to say in his remarks at the White House press conference. He wasn't addressing the problems of black poverty and its attendant violence. He was talking from the point of view of a middle to upper class black man who has done everything right in terms of education, industriousness, and family obligations, yet is still targeted as a potential thief in a department store because of his skin color. This happens because the black man is easily identified as such, and it is racism. We don't pick out Italian Americans as potential mafiosi, probably because we can't so easily identify Italians on sight.

As a nation we need to address both the problem of inner city black violence, and continued white racism.


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