The Super Rich vs The Super Poor in the US

Normally I prefer to NOT talk about the US elections. I’m not very impressed or excited by the actions and promises of either candidate of the 2 parties that share control of the country.  Sure Obama says things I like better than the things that McCain says. But that doesn’t automatically mean I’m satisfied or impressed.

One of the big issues for me is poverty.  Gone is the one candidate who at least spoke the words “the poor” in his speeches and proposed policies (John Edwards), the remaining 2 candidates call everyone working families or hard working Americans, little buzz phrases that are just vague enough to make everyone think this candidate is speaking for them.   Meanwhile poverty in the US is on the increase, and also alarming, the wealthy class is more wealthy than ever in history and that gap between the two is wider then ever.  A fact that opens the door to many social, financial, and political problems.. yet there is little action or demand to put a stop to it.  (yes yes, both candidates mention their concern for CEO’s making so much money, I’m aware of that)

All this to bring me to my big recommendation of the day; the latest edition of Radio Open Source, where Chris interviews Chuck Collins.  While I’ve never heard of Chuck Collins, who is a specialist in the areas of US incomes, property, and economics, I found myself rewinding various segments to listen again.

You’ve heard it said before, though rarely do leaders or corporate media investigate it, the inequality boom in the United States is dangerous.  I highly recommend listening to this interview and soaking it in, it is the kind of critical thinking that we should be pummeling these candidates with.. obligating them to not just make the occasional lament, but to lay out a serious point by point plan for turning the tide and making it politically and hopefully cuturally a priority to preserve opportunity and keep the playing field of life and work from becoming an out of control thunderdome.

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8 thoughts on “The Super Rich vs The Super Poor in the US

  • September 16, 2008 at 3:25 am
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    Yeah. I’ve been following this trend for about ten years now. It isn’t good. I occasionally hear mention of the increasing gap in mainstream media, but always as a “by the way,” or a 45 second news story bookmarked between an alarming crime statistic and a “for your health” segment.

    Being French, I have a slightly clearer historical point of reference when I look at this: Namely, when the inequity reaches a certain point, societies start to turn to vioelnce. Not so much to the extent of a complete societal breakdown a la “Thunderdome” (assless chaps and face paint aren’t in this decade), but definitely towards cathartic street violence en masse. France is small enough that this sort of snowball effect could turn into a revolution. In a country as large as the US, I doubt it would come to that, but riots are definitely a possibility. Not good if you’re a middle-aged white guy with a $75K European car in the driveway.

    I was watching some old footage of Bobby Kennedy visiting a coal mine during his presidential campaign, and the things he said about inequity within our own borders were chilling. How can the wealthiest nation in the world allow entire communities in the US – not just individuals, but whole ZIP codes – to starve? I am not big on socialist governments – I also saw how rampant socialism can suck the life out of a country – but we can’t just blow off the poor. There’s a balance to be struck between endless government handouts which promote unemployment and doing nothing at all. Surely, we can find that balance.

    We should at least try.

    Human suffering vs. cynicism and selfishness aside, we’re sitting on a powder keg with this thing. The longer we wait, the greater the risk that it will go off. It worries me. A lot.

    • September 18, 2008 at 12:55 am
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      Credit to you for being perhaps the first to use the term assless chaps on my site. HA. Yes indeed it may be time for riots again… i wonder what that will be like in this era. Ive also got my eyes on crime stats, which should be on the rise cept for that (as the WIRE reminds us) crime stats are now, by default, cooked and doctored to look good.

      I share your worry.

  • September 16, 2008 at 5:08 pm
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    I have a sinking feeling that the US is entering another era of disaster… I’m not American so maybe I just “don’t get it” when it comes to Bush getting re-elected. US citizens complain and complain, but guess what? They voted for him as a majority! Something is just not adding up nowadays… this makes me very fearful for them and their presidential choices going into the next 4 – 8 years.

    • September 18, 2008 at 12:55 am
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      And of course.. a US crisis is going to drag everyone down.. neighbors to the north.. neighbors in Europa… booo.

  • September 16, 2008 at 7:25 pm
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    That photo looks familiar.

    There is a definite balance to be struck between Free-Market Totalitarianism and Outright Socialism. The problem is, with a few exceptions, the US is so far to the right on that spectrum as to be incomprehensible to most outside observers.

    To understand why forces like Bush and corporatist democrats get elected in the US, I suggest reading some Joe Bageant. Particularly his recent book, Deer Hunting with Jesus. I can tell you from firsthand experience that the problems of the US go far, far deeper than anything an Obama win may mean.

    http://www.joebageant.com

  • September 16, 2008 at 9:04 pm
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    Hey Mark,

    We just had a small start here in DC about 200 people shutdown city hall to demand that our politicians stop giving away public property to real estate developers. Marchers also demanded that city council stop closure of a shelter.

    To answer NunoXEI, americans love waving the flag and being number one even if means that granma cannot afford her medicine or their kids schools are being shutdown.

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