Wealth is essentially finite. It may expand or contract, but at any given time there’s only so much wealth to go around.
When a nation’s wealth and political power are concentrated in the hands of a few, the rest of its citizens are left with little more than long days of struggle, painfully-gained progress and fewer attainable dreams. We see it in the Middle East, in Africa and Asia, and in Third World countries where rulers and their cliques soak up all the wealth like so much gravy.
And we are seeing it today in America.
It won’t be long before we reach the tipping point, when students and their parents won’t have money for college, cities won’t have money for schools or libraries, governments won’t have money for basic services, and the poor won’t have money for anything, much less anywhere to turn.
It seems as if we’re living in a Charles Dickens novel where the same Dickensian actors—greed, hard-heartedness, self-righteousness and moral vacuity—have once again stepped center stage to suggest, by their actions if not their words, that it might be better for the poor to die and decrease the surplus population.
No matter that those feelings are thinly disguised behind Big Lies repeated over and over by agents and tools of the wealthy—by newspapers and TV stations owned by the rich, by a political process and Supreme Court controlled by the rich, by sound bites and legislation advanced by rich politicians—that taxes are unfair, that corporations are people, that the wealthiest among us have no obligation to assist the poorest, that God helps those who help themselves, that government exists to protect wealth rather than the welfare of its citizens, and that the surest way to help the poor is to advance the purpose and cause of the wealthy.
All these years later and still Trickle-Down Economics lives!
And those Big Lies, once the exclusive province of the Republican Party are now being echoed by those on the other side of the aisle; as the once-progressive Democratic Party, under the Clintons’ self-serving leadership, evolves to become more Republican in spirit than Democrat—sometimes called ‘Republican Light.’
And now comes word that agencies of the fabulously wealthy Koch brothers—the Heritage Foundation and others—are funding advertising campaigns to buttress the resolve of their congressional lackeys to repeal or gut Obamacare. As though the only hope for a healthier American population is a wealthier oligarchy.
If you accept the premise that, for all practical purposes, wealth is finite, that a government cannot spend more than it takes in or borrows against the future—then all the financial, economic and social upheaval in our country starts to make sense. There isn’t enough to go around when one sector gets a lock-tight grip on the purse and the purse strings. Once that happens, with so little left on the table after you pay for non-discretionary programs, those of us who aren’t wealthy or financially secure, find ourselves battling each other for an ever-dwindling slice of the GBP (Government Budget Pie). Humane and necessary programs compete one against the other. Infants battle the elderly and poor for nutrition allocations. Recovering alcoholics have to fight the homeless, as well as disabled veterans, for shelter dollars. Sesame Street fights for the very same funds sorely needed to regulate Wall Street. All the while, the public sector continues to implode and gentrification elbows families and poor people out of their homes.
We’ve moved from an era where taxes were seen as burdensome to where today the absence of sufficient tax dollars is killing the poor, eviscerating the Midle Class, and apportioning a majority of new income—58%—directly into the pockets of the richest of the rich—the 1%.
The Republican attack on public sector unions in Wisconsin is merely the edge of the scythe as it begins to mow down the social contract my generation grew up with and came to expect from a civilized society.
Collective moral bankruptcy is the problem today, not collective bargaining!
Tax breaks for the wealthy that began with Ronald Reagan and continued under George W. Bush were beyond obscene, as are the bone-deep cuts to government programs now regularly enacted by a government bled dry of its assets by the Republican Party under the guise of fiscal responsibility. Reducing government spending reduces the need to tax those who have aggregated most of America’s assets. By protecting their excessive fortunes by shutting off the government spigot, the wealthy among us are endangering the lives and livelihoods of so many others. Children will go hungry; students will either forgo college or take on lifetime debt; retirees will see their pensions cut; people will lose their jobs and homes; many will go without winter heating fuel; cities will lay off police, teachers and firemen; while the health of our poorest citizens will dramatically decline—all done so a small group of wealthy individuals can build and accumulate ever more and more money.
We saw it in 2008. We are seeing it today. In spades!. Especially since both major parties are tightly held within the grip of the money-saturated oligarchy.
Tax the rich or kill the poor? What would Charles Dickens have done?
How about Jesus?
Revised March 6, 2017
This is an updated version of an essay I wrote a few years ago. It’s quite shocking to me how far things have gone downhill since then. With the Republicans, as good servants of their wealthy masters, continuing their assault against social security and medicare, and virtually stymieing any attempts to combat Global Warming, this world is becoming a harsh and unfriendly place in which to live…survive…?
Read my “HILLARY CHRONICLES,” ten essays about David (Bernie) getting shafted by Goliath (Hillary) and her merry band of Philistines. The ten essays (in order of appearance): “BRAND SUICIDE, the Destruction of the Democratic Brand in 2016,” “The CDC Issues “CLINTON TOXICITY ALERT!” Warns Contact Could Prove Fatal To One’s Reputation,” “DEMOCRATS USE RUSSIANS AS SHIELD TO RE-FOCUS EMAIL STORY—PR PLOY OF THE CENTURY,” “IS THAT YOUR IDEA OF AN APOLOGY?” AND “DON’T BLAME ME IF I CRITICIZE HILLARY.” “Battle For The Presidency: The Gonzo Versus The Gonif,“ “Sorry Bernie, We Still Can’t Trust Hillary,” “Sorry Hillary, We Can Never Forget—or Forgive—Your Stealing The Nomination,” “CONNECTING THE DOTS”, The Frightening Underbelly of the 2016 Presidential Election, “THE AUDACITY OF AUDACITY, the stealing of the American presidency 2016”
To relive those glorious days of the Bernie campaign, check out mine and Bill Dahlgren’s “CHANNELING BERNIE,” ad campaign. 50 glorious ads in pursuit of the real American Dream.